Dust control

To control soil, mold, soot, pesticides, and other fine dust particles that are always indoors, mostly tracked in:

Dust control by cleaning

  • Vacuum clean the carpets often, with windows open or the furnace fan/filtration or air cleaners running, especially entryways and heavy traffic areas. Change bags before they are full.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with high efficiency filters (such as the Miele “Flamenco”), and a dirt finder light (such as the Hoover “Wind Tunnel”), to effectively find and remove and trap the fine dust. Or better yet:
  • Install a whole-house vacuum cleaner system that exhausts to outdoors.
  • Vacuum clean and wipe out the insides of the heating system air ducts to meet the National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA) Standard #1992-01.
  • Dry steam clean (not wet shampoo) the carpets and furniture.
  • Replace dirty old carpets (and soil, mold, odors, toxins) with surfaces easier to clean, such as short-looped carpets, with a vinyl foam back or with a synthetic fiber pad, or better yet, solid flooring (wood, vinyl, cork, etc.)
  • Use washable floor walk-off mats or rugs, or disposable tacky mats, cleaned often, in the entryways and in other traffic areas, to control tracked-in dust (including mold, soil, pesticides).
  • Seal bare concrete floors to avoid exposure to alkaline cement dust.
  • Prescribe cleaning procedures: where (desktops?, back under desks?), how much (special cleaning?, occupants move belongings?).
  • Test current carpet cleaning effectiveness, if you have questions: run a vacuum cleaner with a dirt finder light (such as the Hoover “Wind Tunnel”) across test areas before and after the regular cleaning, to check cleanliness.
  • Make a shoe changing station to remove shoes before entering; provide guest slippers.
  • Clean all surfaces thoroughly annually, including damp wiping all top surfaces.
  • Wash dirty air return grilles (after removing them).

Dust control by air filtration

  • Add a filter to the outdoor air supply duct to remove fine particles (smoke, soot, mold, pollen, etc.).
  • Add or replace missing or ineffective gaskets along the sides of a furnace filter so it fits well, preferably a filter with a rigid frame, so dust will not bypass. Or, better yet:
  • Use a good high efficiency pleated filter in the furnace. Or best:
  • Build a good furnace filter holder for a thick filter in the cold air return duct beside the furnace, with a good access door.
  • Add a high efficiency pleated filter (replace the 1-inch, or better: 12-inch or 6-inch, such as the Space-Gard filter/housing or Purolator Aero-cell 85 filter and Air Seal housing, or best: a HEPA) to the cold air return plenum/duct above_beside the furnace, to remove fine dust particles (smoke from tobacco and wood, soot, mold, pollen, pesticides, dander, etc.) while circulating the air.
  • Use a high efficiency pleated filter that fits well.
  • Replace the filter every several months (less often for the thicker filters) to control airborne dust. Or:
  • Wash the metal mesh prefilter and collection plates of the electronic air cleaner in a dishwasher every few months of use.
  • Add a cold air return duct and grille near the floor, where most dust is created.
  • Install a new thermostat and wiring (4 wires) if necessary, that allows you to:
  • Set the furnace fan switch on the thermostat to “ON” to maintain continuous air flow and filtration (not “AUTO”, which blows only during heating or cooling), especially when there is much activity such as vacuum cleaning. Even better: wire the fan to run at low speed (quieter), on a timer (low/off at night?).
  • Use portable air cleaners with high efficiency filters for special needs (try AAA Aircare Systems), or a horizontal flow unit at desktop level) in areas where you spend much time, whenever there is much activity. The best designs blow the clean air upwards.