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  1. #1

    Excessive house dust

    Hello. Some of you are familiar with my problem from previous posts...I have still not found resolution. I have excessive dust in my home which is a 3-story brick about 2yrs old now.
    *hardwood floors, little to no upholstery/carpet/drapes, no pets
    *blower-door tests x several->sealed many air leaks, caulked around all baseboards, can lights, register boots, etc.
    *had duct-work inspected and manually sealed (to the extreme of removing the drywall ceiling in our basement to access it), though per one contractor may have 222 CFM leaking still, another contractor says tight
    *had all celluose insulation sucked out of attic and replaced with Icynene foam on attic floor as dust originally appeared to be cellulose
    We still have EXTREME dust. Any suggestions on how to proceed?
    I have considered adding a whole-house air cleaner like LifeBreath. Would this be wise? I cannot figure out where the dust is coming from!
    Thanks for any help. Our health and sanity are definitely suffering from the issue.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,841
    Several BD tests but you didn't post the results. What's the leak rate? How many exchanges/day or what's the length of at 1/2 inch crack? Most dust is the result of excessive leakage and it appears you're attacking it from that angle but are you getting the results? That's why I ask about the BDT results. Leaky ducts are definitely a possibility as a contributor but you say they're all sealed but there's also a discrepancy of how much air leakage remains. Find someone to do a test with a duct blaster to determine the actual leak rate. The only other possibility is construction dust. It could be trapped between the rough and finished floors and 'puffing out' when you walk on the floor. If could come out in the weirdest places too. Example; the baseboards are usually installed on top of the finished floor so if the dust is under the finished floor, when it leaks out it could push up into the wall cavity and come out electrical fixtures and/or lights or any other opening into the room. I've seen a lot of homes over the years where extensive sheetrock/plaster dust was on the floors when the hardwood and tile went down. Some people/GC's just don't care and will do anything to get the house build in the shortest time. There could also be a pile of dust that was swept onto a ceiling in one or more places and when air moves through the house it carries the dust with it. Wishing you luck.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Rochelle Il / Chicago
    Posts
    169
    Seal your attic,

    CHeck your dryer vent

    Have ducts sealed inside.

    Location of home could be problem.

    Good luck

  4. #4
    We had a poor GC and now know that the home was not adequately cleaned during construction, so construction dust remains a possiblilty. How could that be adressed at this point?

    We have sealed the attic (with 8" foam) and our drier vent is rigid duct directly out the wall and sealed well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    2,680
    what kind of filter do you have? At very least I would suggest a 5" media

    Also was the ductwork cleaned after all construction was completed? A must to remove all sheetrock dust.
    You can't fix stupid

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Rochelle Il / Chicago
    Posts
    169
    Quote Originally Posted by cmajerus View Post
    what kind of filter do you have? At very least I would suggest a 5" media

    Also was the ductwork cleaned after all construction was completed? A must to remove all sheetrock dust.
    Yup

    At least a Merv10
    We use roto brush for our duct cleaning. Not to expensive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,516
    put the blower on continous run and let the filter work
    if you are letting it cycle on and off then the filter isnt get a chance to filter properly.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Ga
    Posts
    213
    Have all the ducts professionaly cleaned and see if the dust problems gets less, or gone althogether.. Ask them to show you all that came out of the ductwork...make sure they start with an empty "Bag" so you can see exactly how much junk came out. Knew someone that had a problem like this and it turned out to be a combination of insulation in a return duct and sawdust in the supply ducts.....IS the dust uniform throughout the house, or does it seem to be more in one room than another.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    NW AR
    Posts
    2,478
    No comment

  10. #10
    I failed to mention that I have had the ducts professionally cleaned...twice in the last two years by two different companies.
    I have MERV 8 pleated filters on all three units. I have tried running the fan continuously. I did this for two weeks. The dust seemed a little bit better during this time, but was just as bad when I stopped. I cannot fathom where it all comes from! I am not exaggerating...lots of dust!
    Would the whole-house air cleaner be beneficial? I feel like the filtering out is just treating the symptoms and not solving the problem although I would take either just to remedy the endless dust. I've also wondered if we do not have enough draw on the return to move through the amount of air that should be moved???
    To address the BDT...we do not have the numbers...RECC did it and did not report.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,637
    Quote Originally Posted by leeannwc View Post
    have MERV 8 pleated filters on all three units. I have tried running the fan continuously. I did this for two weeks. The dust seemed a little bit better during this time, but was just as bad when I stopped. I cannot fathom where it all comes from! I am not exaggerating...lots of dust!
    Would the whole-house air cleaner be beneficial? I feel like the filtering out is just treating the symptoms and not solving the problem although I would take either just to remedy the endless dust. I've also wondered if we do not have enough draw on the return to move through the amount of air that should be moved???.
    Using merv 8 filters and operating your air handlers continuously will remove more dust than a smaller central hepa filtering system. Merv remove most of the visible dust from the air. You have an air change every 3-5 hours during +7 mph wind. There is a tremendous amount of dust in outside air. If you keep the dust dry, it does not hurt you. Wet/damp and the dust will grow mold. Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Naples, Fl
    Posts
    889
    One simple test to determine if the dust is coming through the duct system like I said before cover a supply grill or two with cheese cloth. Yes do it in the rooms with dust. Is the home under negative pressure? Forget the duct cleaning if your duct work needs cleaning twice in two years there is some form of failure.(IE maintenance, installation, building envelope) Depending on where the filters are located they may never have a chance to capture the dust that you are seeing.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    85
    I took a look at the plans for your house on frankbenz.com. I have some other ideas and questions but why don't you try this first? Seal off both fireplaces from the inside of the house using a large Hefty bag or polyethylene plastic sheet and removable tape. Leave them sealed for 3 or 4 days and see if the dust situation improves.

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