Let’s face it, sometimes dusting can feel like a thankless task, and the dust always returns. Even if you are the best housekeeper in the world, you may be surprised at the volume of dust in your home. But, it’s important to realize that it may not be your cleaning skills that are at fault. If you have an HVAC system that is not filtering the dust out of the air effectively, it will distribute the dust throughout your home. This is a common problem, but there are some steps that you can take to improve the situation. In this article, we will examine five ways that you can reduce the levels of dust in your home using your HVAC system.
- Examine the Air Filters
This is one of the first areas to examine if you’re having problems with large volumes of dust in your home. The primary function of an air filter is to remove particulates from the air that is circulating through your HVAC system. These particulates can cause damage to some of the sensitive components leading to a repair. So, even though the main function of an air filter isn’t to get rid of dust, it will remove some. If the air filter becomes clogged with dust, dirt, pet hair, and other debris, it will be less effective. Eventually, air will not be able to pass through the filter, and the HVAC system relies on a steady supply to work efficiently. This will cause the HVAC system to work harder to compensate, and this may lead to equipment failures and overheating issues. Air filters are easy to check, clean, and replace, and the full instructions are detailed in the owner’s manual for your system. The air filters should be replaced at least once per month or more often if you have pets.
- Clean the Air Ducts
The HVAC system needs to use a network of air ducts to distribute the treated air throughout your home. But, if you have cracks or breaks in the air ducts, the leaks can cause dusty and unfiltered air to get in. This dusty air can then move through your home to create more dust to clean, but this isn’t the main problem. When treated air escapes, you may notice hot and cold spots in your home due to uneven heating. Another consequence is that more energy will be consumed for no return, and it will cost more to run your HVAC system. If you notice a lot of dust in your home and on your air vents, this could be a sign that you have leaks in your ductwork. Many sections of ductwork are located in hard to reach areas, and it can be tricky to locate air leaks. If you suspect that you have leaky air ducts, contact your local certified HVAC specialist and ask them to inspect your ducts. If you do locate a leak, you can repair it temporarily with duct tape, but you need a professional repair.
- Check Windows and Doors
If the seals around your windows or doors have become cracked, this can allow dust to enter your home. This can be solved by re-caulking your windows and installing draft strips on the door frames. Cracked seals also allow treated air to escape leading to a lack of performance and efficiency, much like a ductwork leak shown above. Finding cracks can be tricky if they are small, but if you hold up a candle flame and it flickers, you know that air from outside is getting in.
- Stop the Dust Getting In
Although it’s unlikely that you could stop all the dust from getting into your home, there are some steps that you can take to improve the situation. A lot of dust comes into the home on the shoes of people entering, and this can be fixed by altering habits. If you set aside an area near the door for outdoor shoes and wear a different pair indoors. When you open a door or window to freshen up your indoor air, it’s a great idea to clean up after. Periodically freshening the air will dramatically improve your indoor air quality, but during allergy seasons, it’s better to do this at night when the pollen count is lower.
- Lowering the Humidity
If you have high levels of humidity in your home, this will certainly cause a build up of dust. High humidity can also create conditions that allow mold to grow in your home, and it creates ideal conditions for dust mites. The first people to notice these issues tend to be people with allergies and pre-existing respiratory conditions. When you have mold spores, dust mites, and high levels of dust, the indoor air quality (IAQ) will be poor. In homes with high humidity, the air outdoors is often less polluted than the air inside the home! An air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier when it removes heat from your home, but it is not as effective as a dedicated unit. If you’re not sure about the humidity levels, get a hygrometer; they are inexpensive and easy to understand. The EPA recommends that the ideal home humidity is in the 30-50% range, and humidity higher than 60% is considered to be too high.
Regular cleaning is a great way to keep your home comfortable, but if you have a dust problem, it may not be possible to fix it with cleaning alone. But, if you adopt the measures detailed above, the situation should improve along with your IAQ. If you notice that your home is still dusty or you suspect that your HVAC system is not working efficiently, contact your local HVAC professional. An HVAC system is a complex piece of equipment with electronic, electrical, and mechanical parts. It’s easy to make a problem worse if you’re not sure what you’re doing, and more extensive repairs can be expensive. It’s a good idea to adopt a proactive approach and schedule some regular maintenance for your HVAC system. Early identification of potential problems means that you can plan repairs and replacements.
If you want to improve your IAQ and reduce the dust in your home, contact your local HVAC specialist today.