Every home has dust in it, but if you’re dealing with an indoor reenactment of the Dust Bowl, there’s no need to pack up the family and head for California. Instead, consider these three possible solutions to clean up your home.
- Make Sure Your Vacuum is a Cleaner, Not a Culprit: Vacuuming carpeted floors seems like a good way to remove dust from your home. However, it can actually have the opposite effect. Vacuums can blow dust into the air as you clean (which is why if you have pets, vacuuming right before someone with pet allergies comes over is often counter-productive). In order to keep the dust you’ve picked up from going right back into the air, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter that will trap the dust (and pet dander), and be sure to change the filter regularly.
- Speaking of Filters, Check Your Intake: Another frequent culprit in dusty homes is a cheap fiberglass intake filter that isn’t doing its job—you know, filtering! Thin fiberglass filters generally have a MERV rating of 1-4, which means they catch only the very biggest particulates. To actually filter out dust, you need to use a filter with a MERV rating of at least 5-8. However, it’s also important to change those filters regularly so that the dust doesn’t build up on them and restrict the airflow to your HVAC unit.
- Make Sure You Haven’t Sprung a Leak: Not in your pipes—in your air ducts! Leaky air ducts are bad for energy efficiency and can cause a dusty house, because as the conditioned air leaks out, dusty unconditioned air gets sucked in. This is particularly true if the leaky ducts are located in the attic, where dust tends to collect. An HVAC technician can perform a pressure test to determine if your ducts have sprung a leak, then seal up any gaps that are found.