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calvins 03-19-2007 12:23 PM

New HVAC Issue
 
Hi all,

I moved into a new condo last year with central heat and air conditioning. I'm having a problem with dust-like material covering the floors and furniture whenever the HVAC system is in operation. The builder installed a filter which is between the opening in the ceiling and the HVAC unit.

I don't really know much about how HVAC's work, but I'm concerned about safety and health issues. Elderly and young children live with me and I'm worried if the condo environment is safe. Can anyone suggest how I can determine if the condo's HVAC is safe? Will it cost much money to find out? Can anyone refer me to companies or professionals in the New York City area who can help me?

Thanks in advance!

hennyh 03-19-2007 12:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by calvins (Post 37558)
Hi all,

I moved into a new condo last year with central heat and air conditioning. I'm having a problem with dust-like material covering the floors and furniture whenever the HVAC system is in operation. The builder installed a filter which is between the opening in the ceiling and the HVAC unit.

I don't really know much about how HVAC's work, but I'm concerned about safety and health issues. Elderly and young children live with me and I'm worried if the condo environment is safe. Can anyone suggest how I can determine if the condo's HVAC is safe? Will it cost much money to find out? Can anyone refer me to companies or professionals in the New York City area who can help me?

Thanks in advance!

I'm only guessing but I bet the drywall contractor used the system while doing the drywall work. Probably to speed up the drying of the mud.

Drywall dust get's everywhere when it's sanded. Keep changing filters frequently and it should dissipate. You might also want to get the contractor out there to clean the AH and ducts.

Drywall dust doesn't contain asbestos anymore so I wouldn't worry if it's a short term nuisance. You could probably get a MSDS at USG.com.

Is the dust a white color? That would likely be drywall dust.

calvins 03-19-2007 01:03 PM

Yes, he did use it to speed up drying. What is the mud you are referring to? What is the AH you are talking about cleaning? What's a MSDS and what is USG.com? Yes, the dust is white and you are probably right.

hennyh 03-19-2007 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by calvins (Post 37564)
Yes, he did use it to speed up drying. What is the mud you are referring to? What is the AH you are talking about cleaning? What's a MSDS and what is USG.com? Yes, the dust is white and you are probably right.

Sorry,
Mud = Joint Compound. It covers the drywall seams and once it's dry it get's sanded off to make the walls smooth and free of imperfections. A thinned down version of joint compound also gets sprayed on the drywall to give it a textured surface. When sanded it produces an extremely fine grade of white dust.

AH = Air Handler. That's the unit that moves and heats the homes air. (usually in a closet, attic or garage)

MSDS = Material Safety Data Sheet. This is a data sheet describing health affects of most chemicals and compiounds in use.

USG = U.S Gypsum. One of the major manufacturers of joint compound and drywall materials. I bet their website would have a MSDS for joint compound.

If you home's AH has an evaporator coil for a heat pump I'd also be concerned about the coils efficiency if it's clogged up with drywall dust. I think the best solution is to get the HVAC contractor to do a thorough cleaning of the AH and ducts. Maybe you can have your local building inspector come to the site for his analysis and help resolving any issue with the contractor.

HVAC systems should never be put in service until the house is done. If the contractor needs heat they should bring in their own portable heating units.

Good luck

P.S. Here's a sample MSDS from one of the common joint compounds:

http://www.usg.com/USG_Marketing_Con...61-100-214.pdf


It sounds like it's health hazard is "slight" and the main issue is irritation.

pjpjpjpj 03-21-2007 07:34 PM

calvins,

hennyh is right on. Drywall dust gets everywhere, coats everything, and would definitely coat your air conditioning ducts and the inside of the unit. Keep changing the filter and get someone to clean your system (if the AC guy won't come out because he claims it is not his responsibility, get the drywall guy to pay for someone to do it since he should not have run the AC while doing drywall). And as hennyh said, definitely make sure to clean the coil(s) and, if it is a furnace, the heat exchanger too. A coating of drywall dust would not only reduce efficiency of the heating and cooling but it will also impede air flow (if the coil fins are clogged with dust) causing the fan to work harder, which will use more energy and also could lead to fan overheating or premature failure.

salonica 11-14-2011 08:29 PM

Will drywall dust have ruined (or continue ruining or corroding) your evaporator coil if you can clean it off the coil within several weeks? Any suggestions for the best way to clean it off, for a homeowner? Does a packaged heat pump have other parts which would need cleaning if the drywall dust was on the evaporator coil? The other compartments look clean, but not sure about any other "coils". I'm not sure it is drywall dust, but it could be, and this white powder is also coming out the heat ducts since the heat has come on.

Doc Holliday 11-14-2011 09:37 PM

Any dust that passes into the coil will more than likely build up on the coil itself, eventually blocking air flow. There and in both the supply and return plenums and ducts.

I'd inspect all duct and plenum connections throughout the system. If there is an air leak on the return side somewhere than you'll continually suck in and dispense dust and again, eventually block up the evaporator coil.

Air leaks on the supply side will simply cost you more to run your system as you're losing air. Less supply air equals more run time and a higher electricity bill.


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