With St. Patrick’s Day behind us and Easter around the corner, we’re in the middle of spring here in the Valley. It finally started raining again after that long dry spell, and the fruit trees are even blooming. Spring may be the right time for some bunnies, but you shouldn’t have massive dust bunnies in your home. If you find yourself dusting a lot, whether it’s more than usual or just more than you’d like, your HVAC system could be part of the problem, as well as part of the solution.
The Dust Problem
Dust is an aggregate of microparticles that have been released into your home environment. What that means is that dust is little bits of lots of things, but mostly skin and hair, with some lint thrown in for good measure. It’s hard to say if there’s anything you can do to produce more or less dust in general; the fact is, if your home seems dusty, the problem is likely in dust management. Basically, it’s not that too much dust is being created, but that it’s not being effectively removed.
Dusting won’t fix this issue. Imagine all the dust in your home: the dust on your furniture is just a fraction of that total amount. The rest of the dust is in the air, in the ducts, in the HVAC system, and outside waiting to come in — it’s no wonder dusting does so little good. And vacuuming can actually make the problem worse: unless your vacuum filter is very, very effective, vacuums often suck dust out of the carpet and put it back into the air.
So what can you do? Well, there are two big steps to take that will help, and another step that may not be necessary but will help to prevent more dust from coming into your home. Whether you live in an old home that’s dusty and drafty or are constantly sweeping dust off the counter in your suburban dream house, these steps will help you combat dust and achieve better quality of life in your house.
Step 1: Your HVAC Filters
Ideally, you’re changing your filters every 2-4 months. If your home seems really, really dusty, changing your HVAC filter can only help. The fact is, a lot of dusting is doing the same thing as vacuuming — simply putting dust back into the air. If you live in a hot, arid climate (like ours in the summer), you’re probably getting a fair bit of dust coming in from the outside. Your filters combat both of these issues: as air passes through them, particulate matter (like dust or pet dander) gets caught and stays put.
But if the filters are filthy, air won’t pass through, and dust will simply bounce off and settle somewhere else in the house. Invest in quality filters; you can get a recommendation on brands from a trusted HVAC contractor. Change your filters regularly, stay on top of routine maintenance, and make sure you’re not skimping on filters.
Step 2: Your Ducts
Leaky ducts can also cause real trouble. When your ducts leak, not only does that make your system work harder and less effectively, but it also allows air to escape and enter the system without passing through filters. It’s like running water through a hose with a bunch of holes in it — it’s not going to work very well.
This makes a perfect storm to spread dust around the home, drawing it up from one place (in or outside the house) and depositing it somewhere else. Take a look at a vent cover in your home. If it looks “linty,” your ducts might be a problem.
Sealing up those ducts and giving them a good cleaning will fix these issues. You’ll probably notice less dust, and you’ll also see a boost in performance — and possibly a drop in your utility bill!
Step 3: Outside Air, Humidity, and Everything Else
Making sure the outside air that comes into your home is clean is a good step toward eliminating dust. Our air-purifying technology blasts even the smallest debris from the incoming air, resulting in clean and fresh air in your home. For a more in-depth look at the purifiers we install, check out this blog from January where we delve into the subject of air purifiers in detail.
Humidity is also a factor in dust control. Dry air can mean more dust (and dust, in turn, is a sign of dry air), so it’s important to strike a balance with the humidity in your home. If your air is too dry, it can be a sign of HVAC issues present or on the way.
There are many other factors that can contribute to dust in the home. If you’re having these issues, don’t hesitate to call an HVAC guy you can trust. They’ll take your specific situation into account and help come up with a game plan to make your home low-dust and low-maintenance.