Friday, October 7, 2011

Excessive Dust in the Home

We are often asked what can be done about excessive dust in the home. To answer this question, we have to ask several questions.

1. How often do you have to clean to keep up with the dust or is this an impossible feat? (Everyday might be considered excessive.)
2. Where is the dust accumulating? Is it all over or just in specific rooms?
3. What is the house’s social life like? Are there children and pets coming and going in and outside constantly? Is the outside yard dusty or near a dusty source?
4. Is your house built on a crawl space and does it have an attic?
5. What year was your house built and have you had any improvements or changes made to the house?

With the above questions answered; we can narrow down the source and then suggest solutions to end your excessive dust issue permanently. Sounds good, right?

If you feel as though you must dust several times a day during the heating and cooling seasons; your duct work may be at fault. If your duct work is located in an attic or crawl space and is leaky, you may notice dust after each heating or cooling cycle. You may see little particles of insulation or dirt on shelves or your TV screens and furniture. Leaking duct work is one of the most overlooked and common causes for excessive dust.

Solution: Have your heating and cooling expert inspect your duct work for air leaks and then seal the leaks with mastic and or mastic tape. This will drastically reduce your dust, improve your indoor air quality, and reduce you utility bills, and improve your comfort.

If your ducts are not part of your problem and are sealed correctly; the house envelope is the next most likely source of dust.  Your house envelope consists of its walls, windows, doors, ceilings, foundation, and roof. A home’s envelope can be tested for tightness by using an instrument called an infiltrometer or “blower door”. This instrument measures the amount of air infiltration and exfiltration in your house. The leakier your house, the more dust you are likely to experience among other serious issues.
Solution: Have your house professionally tested by a Building Analyst using an infiltrometer. The analyst will be able to pin-point your sources of air leaks and give you solid solutions on how to permanently reduce the leakage.

While the whole-house testing is the correct method to use in determining your dust issues among other house related concerns and All Seasons Heating and Cooling Service Company has a certified building analyst on staff. Please call 757-421-9790 for more information or to schedule your testing appointment.

If you would like to tighten your house by weather stripping/weatherizing it yourself; here a few suggestions at places to start that the average DIY person can tackle and get good results.

• Be sure your exterior doors (including a garage access door) are tight and have weather stripping on all edges and a “sweeper” plate.
• Install outlet and light switch gaskets on all outlets and light switches to help reduce air leakage.
• Seal plumbing drain and water pipes under the sinks or anywhere they go through a wall with expand-a foam or silicone. (Silicone caulking works best for small cracks and holes, the foam can be very messy and hard to clean if you are not very careful!)
• Be sure to weather-strip your attic access openings and to insulate the panels or doors.
• If you feel air by your windows, inspect the space around the window (take off a piece of trim to inspect it for any gaps) and caulk it to seal it.
• Recessed (canned) ceiling lights are an area to be concerned with concerning air leaks. There are kits you can purchase at the “Big Box” or hardware stores to help seal out air leaks safely if you have older style recessed lights. The newer style lights are air tight.
• Be sure your exhaust fans exit outside of the house, not in a wall or attic or crawl space. (Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans and dryer vents.)

These are only a few suggestions on where you can seal your home’s air leaks to help reduce dust and lower utility bills. There are many more areas that should be inspected and you can find some at the energy star web site

See you next time! As always, please contact us with any topics you want answers to.

1 comment:

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