Can Dust Affect Your Indoor Air Quality?

indoor air qualityDust is an age-old housekeeping issue, but it’s also an important factor that affects indoor air quality and health. Typical household dust includes pollen, human skin flakes, textile and paper fibers, mold spores, pet dander, soil particles, insect remains and even cosmic dust from elsewhere in our solar system. The average home accumulates about 40 pounds of dust each year.

Why Dust Matters

Inhaling airborne dust may stimulate allergic responses and worsen respiratory conditions such as asthma. It’s also an eye irritant and can even spread bacterial infection. Dust includes particulates as tiny as 2.5 microns—small enough to become lodged in your respiratory system—up to as large as 10 microns, which are visible to the naked eye.

How Dust Spreads

Once stirred up by any active motion, including dusting, studies show that dust particles may remain suspended in household air for as long as five days. That’s why your HVAC system, which continuously circulates and filters air, is a valuable asset for dust control. Here’s how to make it work to improve your indoor air quality.

  • Change the air filter. A quality air filter changed regularly removes airborne particulates down to the size of most common dust. Don’t skimp on cheap fiberglass filters. Quality pleated cotton or polyester filters with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of ranging from 8 to 10 provide the best combination of efficient filtration with maximum airflow. For optimum air quality and dust control, install a new filter every month, year-round. Otherwise, change the filter monthly during the cooling season and at least every other month during the heating season.
  • Check the ducts. Household ductwork can become a hidden repository of dust. Because most ductwork is installed out of sight, you may not be aware of this continuing source of airborne particulates. It’s a good idea to have ducts inspected every few years by a qualified HVAC service tech. Duct cleaning isn’t always required, but when necessary, cleaning can help restore healthy air quality.

Ask Paitson Bros., your local HVAC provider since 1922, for more information about dust control to preserve healthy indoor air quality.

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