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Old 12-03-2011, 10:31 AM   #1
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Dusty House. Please help!


We are in a constant battle with dust in our house. Even after having a duct cleaning company do its thing a few times over the last couple of years, the dust is relentless.

I have also bought these "super awesome" furnace filters. The type you can just clean and reuse. They were high dollar ones that are supposed to electro-statically trap everything that tries to go through them. But i am not impressed by them at all. Its no different than when i was running the traditional paper filters.

I am at a loss here. Recently my wife was diagnosed with asthma. She is 36 and has no past of it. Im wondering if its from living in this dusty house for 5 years now?? Im worried about my 4 year old son growing up in this place....

The dust just comes back strong as ever after only a few days of deep cleaning. Has anyone ever heard of this? We live in Washington state and it rains most of the year here. Its one of the wettest places in the country. So why so much damn dust?!?!??

What can i do about it? Please help!!

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Old 12-03-2011, 12:00 PM   #2
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Dusty House. Please help!


Get a humity gauge and see if it's about 45%. To dry and dust can stay in the air.
If you live in a house with forced air heat there's going to be dust.
Carpets instead of soild material and there's going to be lots of dust.
You do not just catch asthuma from dust.
They also sell filters that go right over or under the heating ducts.
Keep the windows closed, if not the return air vent sucks in dust any spores from outside.

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Old 12-03-2011, 01:47 PM   #3
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Dusty House. Please help!


My ex had asthma to the point it was scary at times. I was once diagnosed with "environmental pneumonia" and advised to quit climbing around and restoring antique homes and offices. Tough as it was the way I made a living.

I would definitely take a look at where your cold air returns are located. You may have to move them if they are sucking in dust and stuff when your front door or back patio door is open?

I installed a filter system in my California home that was expensive but well worth it. The filters could be run through the dishwasher to clean them. Of course the system had the high performance paper type you mention in front of all and I just bought the bullet and replaced them on a more regular basis than most I guess. I too found not much difference between the fancy, glitzy looking high end 3M things and a case of the fiberglass ones.

Definitely check the humidity as suggested. Again speaking of the California house, I was able to bring it up to a nice level by adding a cold air return from the exterior, not the interior, to the system. That cost next to nothing and surprisingly, even though heating outside air, did not make much of a difference in the utility bill.

The jury is still out on the validity of duct cleaning and sadly many in the business have taken scam art to new heights. I usually bring a reputable company in after a major renovation because even my best subs hire people that sweep scraps down into floor vents rather than into dust pans and trash bins. Drives me crazy.

It sounds like you have been down the path with such folks and I suspect have hired good ones that also swept your basic system.

I think you just need to be diligent. As hinted, you can buy a case of old fashioned filters for what those 3M things cost and just replace them every month if that is what it takes.

I guess I would encourage you to consult a good HVAC person too to see if moving cold air returns around might help. You will have to move thermostats too but that is not a big deal.

And finally, you would not be the first person who thought it a good idea to put a filter at the source. Why not get the material you can cut to shape and see what you catch at the cold air return grates and input to the system?
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:52 PM   #4
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Dusty House. Please help!


How air tight is the house, are there any pets, are you willing to put into place a air cleaner system, that would help "purify" the air, vs using those reusable filter media. Also, what type of vacuum are you using. Does it use a Hepa filter, are you cleaning that out after every use? Also, do you dust every other day. What kind of flooring do you have in the house?

There are a lot of unanswered questions here.
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Old 12-03-2011, 03:54 PM   #5
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Dusty House. Please help!


Thanks for the replies everyone.

Well, to answer the "un-answered questions":

Yes the house is very tight. I have invested in very nice(and expensive) windows. Made a big difference in the heating and cooling bill.

We do have a dog, but she is mostly outside. I know that will add a little bit to the dust, but not that much?

We use a new Dyson vacuum and it does have a HEPA filter on it that i keep clean on a regular basis. We dont dust every other day, but prolly twice a week. Sometimes only once a week.

We have carpet throughout the house except the bathrooms and kitchen. Its older carpet and in semi-bad shape. Meaning, is just looks kinda bad with stains that wont come out... I know it is prolly the biggest culprit, but other sources have told me that the newer the carpet, the worse it is. In some peoples houses that have all carpet they dont have this kind of dust problem...

Re-routing the return duct sounds interesting, and a good idea. I will look into this. I will also look into getting some kind of filter set up in the return line as well.

Last edited by X-Runner; 12-03-2011 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 12-03-2011, 04:01 PM   #6
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Dusty House. Please help!


First thing that I would do, is get the carpet pulled. The first thing we did, was pull up all of the carpet in our place, due to my wife has bad allergies and asthma also. Under was perfectly good wood floors. Helps to keep clean, than how it was with carpet down. We also used to have a area rug in front of our couch, and ended up getting rid of that, due to it would grab dirt, and no matter what we did we could not get it vacuumed out.

Also keep in mind, the tighter the home, the less air exchange, which also means that you could end up causing the reverse effect, that you are trying to have. I would also suggest looking at something like the Aprilaire solutions for better air quality. http://aprilaire.com/
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Old 12-03-2011, 04:15 PM   #7
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Dusty House. Please help!


Right on Greg, i will look into that Aprilair thingy. Looks expensive but its worth it to keep my son from having problems in the future. How much is that thing i wonder?

And to the guy that said "you dont just get asthma from dust" You have no clue.

Greg make a lot of sense about the house being "tight". The old windows were so bad they just had to be done.

This spring we are going to be looking into getting all hardwood floors done. Im sure that will help big time.
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Old 12-03-2011, 04:29 PM   #8
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Dusty House. Please help!


Do you have drywall or plaster walls? Plaster constantly sifts dust all over. And there are different opinions among allergy experts as to what floors give you more airborne allergens, Some tests show that carpet traps allergens until vacuumed and that they float freely when you have hard surfaces.
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Old 12-03-2011, 04:49 PM   #9
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My wife has COPD and I had to install a heat recovery ventilator with a HEPA filter.
Ripped out all the carpet also and installed hard surface flooring!
Carpet is a killer!
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:00 PM   #10
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Dusty House. Please help!


I agree with the suggestions to remove the carpet if possible and get an air filtration system to use in addition to your HPVC system. Portable filters are quite affordable, as well - and can be situation to encourage better air flow.

If you can't deal with carpet removal now at least clean it - either yourself (renting the equipment if you don't own a shampooer) or hire a company to clean it well.

Also: keeping drapes, curtains and furniture vacuumed and cleaned regularly helps, too.
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:10 PM   #11
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Dusty House. Please help!


"One major study of inner city children with asthma found that when allergen sources are removed from their homes, through improved cleaning practices and elimination of tobacco smoke, asthmatic children will do better, no matter what kind of product is on the floor. A large-scale medical research project called “The Inner City Asthma Study” showed that, when allergen sources such as mold, rodent, and cockroaches are removed, as well as a child’s exposure to tobacco smoke, children’s asthma greatly improves. Further, the Inner-City Asthma Study found no difference in the improvement experienced by children who lived in homes with carpet versus children from homes with other types of flooring. In addition, no difference was found in the levels of allergens measured in carpeted homes compared to homes with hard surface floors."
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Old 12-03-2011, 05:49 PM   #12
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Dusty House. Please help!


Loose cellulose insulation seems to be a big contributor of dust in our home.
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:58 AM   #13
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Dusty House. Please help!


Thanks for so many more replies!

Yea, i really am not convinced its the carpet alone. The house was built in 1991 and i am pretty sure that this is the original stuff. Looks horrible, yuk! We keep it pretty clean. Vacuuming and regular shampooing. I bought a really nice shapooer and its actually kinda fun to do it.

Anyways, i noticed that the dust is more concentrated in our master bedroom. It is adjacent to the furnace closet. And the furnace closet is adjacent to the washer/dryer closet. It just now dawned on me that perhaps its the dryer that is the culprit. Hmmmm?

There is a little "fart fan" in the ceiling of the washer/dryer closet that my wife uses everytime she operates it. It is rather weak though. I wonder if a more powerful one would help eliminate some of the dust?

The idea of porable filters is interesting. We had some a long time ago in our last place. They didnt work at all, but that was almost 10 years ago. Maybe the technology is better now?
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Old 12-04-2011, 12:29 PM   #14
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Dusty House. Please help!


Bet if you pulled the dryer, then removed the back of it, and cleaned the duct, you would find all kinds of lint build up. Our dryer leaks at the top where the "lint trap" is, and lint still seeps by it. So really that is one. The other is, that the carpet "cleaning" machine is not going to really get the carpet clean. All they really do is push the dirt deeper into the fibers.

You really need to get a professional carpet cleaning done by Chem-dry or the such.

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