Indoor dust acts as a pollutant inside a building. We regularly hold dialogues about outdoor air quality and their consequential allergies but forget to converse about the air quality inside our homes.
We should be mindful of the quantity of dust in our homes and how a regular dusting routine is a key to achieving better indoor air quality.
Construction of buildings should include superior mechanical ventilation means to designed and built to lessen the volume of outdoor dust entering the home since it may contain higher indoor pollutant levels.
Significant indoor air quality pollutants include excessive moisture, radon, carbon dioxide, and volatile organic compounds.
As much as people assume dust is outdoor, dust is present indoors too, and as most people do indoor jobs, they are at risk of getting health and comfort problems due to indoor air pollution caused due to compromised indoor air quality by dust.
Indoor Dust: Something to Worry About?
The Origin of Indoor Dust
When having a dust allergy, for instance, sneezing frequently, you likely will want to find ways to get rid of the dust present at your home.
The amount of dust present in your home depends on factors such as your location, season, presence of pets in your home, the level of hygiene practices in your whole house, and the number of people living in your home.
Here are some of the components of indoor dust.
1. Dust Mite
By human beings shading sin flakes, dust mites feed on them. Indoor dust provides food for dust mites.
Dust mites are very tiny to see, but they significantly compromise indoor air quality. They tend to hide out on your carpet, bedding, and your curtains.
The mites do not bite, but many people develop allergic reactions due to the mites’ waste products, as dust provides food for the mites.
Given that 60% of household dust comes from outdoor, you can be an allergen carrier of pollen in your clothes or hair.
When walking around your entire house, you tend to spread the allergen, which then floats in the air and attaches onto the surfaces.
3. Pet Dander
Not all pets are the same, and when it comes to managing indoor air quality, some are worse than others. Pet dander is an allergen found in dust.
Even if you have no pet in your house, visitors coming to check you can be carriers of this type of allergen from their home pets.
Inside the house, pet dander gets into the indoor air and settles, ending up dust and dust mites.
4. Food debris
Food debris that spills in the house acts as a natural dust component that attracts dust and mites.
5. Insects and insect droppings
Insect body parts and their fecal matter are present in dust. Insects such as cockroaches can be carriers of allergens.
6. Dead Skin
When dead skin floats in your home, it tends to attract dust and dust mites.
Ways Through Which Outdoor Air Enter at Home
1. Mechanical ventilation
Mechanical ventilation device from the outside fan consists of a vent. This vent sporadically removes air from one room to an air handling system that uses fans to repeatedly get rid of the air from home and dispense sorted and directed outdoor air to essential areas in the entire house using an air exchange rate.
2. Infiltration Method.
Air outdoors enters homes via the joints and wall cracks, ceilings, and open doors.
3. Natural ventilation
The air movement related to natural ventilation and infiltration is due to the differences between the wind and outdoor and indoor air temperature. Air enters through opened windows and doors.
Consequences Of Dust to Quality of Indoor Air
Dust lessens air quality at home. It settles and resettles your entire home daily. Dust may be brought about by day-to-day activities, open doors and windows, and dirty air filters.
Regardless of the cause, dust circulating indoors can result in severe health issues. As the indoor air deteriorates and the length of exposure to polluted indoor air increases, more people tend to be affected, and the symptom becomes more serious.
Young children, older people, and people with preexisting respiratory problems are at the risk of developing health problems from exposure to high dust levels.
Dust irritates the respiratory system, and for this reason, a lot of people are sensitive to dust. Dust brings about continuous sneezing and makes the respiratory uncomfortable.
Many people develop allergic reactions to dust allergens, including pollen, mold spores, and dust mite waste products.
These allergens cause a moderate or severe response to histamine. Allergic symptoms from dust include congestion, wheezing, sinus infection, chronic headache, asthma, sneezing, coughing, asthma attacks, wheezing, and other allergy-related problems.
Indoor dust acts as a reservoir for chemical particles such as pesticides, lead, flame retardants, mercury, phthalates, and other hazardous substances found at your home.
Long-term health hazards such as cancers may occur when exposed to chemical substances.
Health effects associated with these indoor air pollutants start to show shortly after exposure or later in some years. Immediate health effects such as dizziness and irritation of the
nose, and eyes may arise quickly after a single or repeated exposure. The direct health effects are usually simple to treat and are short-lived.
At times the treatment does away with the exposure to the identified pollution source.
Some immediate effects are the same as effects that arise from colds hence becoming challenging to ascertain whether the results are due to the exposure to pollution from the indoor air.
Therefore, it is advisable to concentrate on the place or time these symptoms started showing up.
If these symptoms disappear when you are absent from home and come back when the person returns, you should focus on identifying the sources of indoor air that may be a potential cause.
Health effects such as cancers and heart attacks may appear after prolonged or repeated exposure can be fatal.
Therefore, improving your indoor air quality at home is advisable even if you do not experience any symptoms. People react very differently when exposed to pollutants from the indoor air.
How Dust Affects Your HVAC System
When dust enters your HVAC, your air filter will hold some dust particles in the indoor air.
A dusty home leads to filthy components within the HVAC system, hindering airflow and interfering with the regular heat exchange, decreasing its effectiveness.
Ways on How to Control Dust
Since many people spend up to 90% of their time indoors, it is essential to have clean air. The following are ways on how to control dust.
1. Consider Using an Air Purifier
Air purifiers precisely target minute particles that would escape the HVAC air filter. Whole-house air purifiers are fitted as part of your HVAC system, providing your whole building with effective air filtration.
Portable air filters are used on a room-to-room basis, targeting precise areas where dust accumulation is most rampant.
2. Change the HVAC Filter Monthly
The air filter inside the HVAC unit keeps off dust particles away by trapping dust, preventing its circulation indoor.
Once the air filter accumulates dust, it becomes ineffective at reducing dust. Overcoming difficulties that a completely blocked air filter can bring, it’s essential to have your air filter changed regularly depending on indoor conditions
3. Proper Housekeeping Practices.
Excellent housekeeping is an ingredient to curbing dust buildup at home. Wash bedding frequently to get rid of dust mites.
In your bedroom, start by cleaning your bed. Vacuum your mattress, replace pillows, wash your bedding weekly, and not let pets on the bed.
Mold thrives in humid areas such as the bathroom. Allow your washcloths and towel to thoroughly dry after use, fix any leaks in the tubs, sinks, showers, and toilets.
Replace shower curtains. At your kitchen, clean your in-sink garbage disposal using vinegar and baking soda, clean refrigerator bins often, and fix leaking dishwashers and sinks.
Dust electronics and ceiling fans choose vinyl or leather furniture over fabric pieces in your living room.
Vacuum your upholstery, furnishings, and carpets regularly using a vacuum that is equipped with a built-in HEPA filter to allow you to trap more dust.
If you have houseplants, use a fan to circulate air around them and often trim any dead leaves.
Incorporate dusting into your regular cleaning routine reduces the amount of dust and better total indoor air quality in your home.
Dusting a space effectively only takes less time. Dusting involves using a damp cloth, damp duster, or mop that is sufficient to trap and lock dust, making it easy to clean.
Try as much as possible to locate the areas around your home that accumulate dust often, for instance, on shelves.
4. Have Your Ductwork in Good Shape
Taking good care of your ductwork is essential to minimize dust accumulation. Damaged ductwork not only leaks your HVAC system’s conditioned air, but it can also attract dust and debris from the walls into your ductwork.
It is essential to contact your HVAC system professional for inspection since your ductwork might require repair or replacement, thus improving your HVAC system’s general effectiveness while limiting the buildup of dust.
5. Upgrade to a Better Air Filter
Consider using a pleated air filter since it has a finer mesh capable of trapping minor dust than a typical fibreglass air filter.
A pleated air filter helps reduce dust buildup, hence improving your home’s indoor air quality.
6. Invest in Good Quality Doormats
Choose a suitable doormat for the entrance. It should be strong enough to prevent dust from entering your house.
7. Groom Your Pets Well
Brush and bath your pets regularly since they can act as carriers of dust indoor.
8. Reduce home humidity
Purpose of putting your indoor humidity below 50 percent through the use of exhaust fans, maintaining adequate ventilation all over at home, and making use of dehumidifiers if required.
Too low humidity leads to rashes and eye irritation, whereas too high humidity results in mold problems and allows for the growth and multiplication of dust mites.
Dust is often linked to dry air, and dust mites bloom in high humidity. It would be best to reduce humidity at home to keep off dust mites.
9. Proper ventilation
Look for signs that will help you know that your home may lack proper ventilation. These signs are dirty central air cooling and heating equipment, stuffy air, condensation of moisture on the window, and if the book or shoe shelves become moldy.
Controlled ventilation is particularly needed in heavily insulated buildings, thus allowing little indoor air exchange with the outdoor air.
What To Do When Remodeling Old Home or Building a New Home
When remodeling an old home or building a new home, choose products that will minimize problems related to indoor air quality; if you wish to connect wall-to-wall carpet, consider the installation of insufficient moisture barrier is firstly done.
Install Mechanical Ventilation Systems
These systems carry outdoor air into the home.
Make Sure That Combustion Appliances Receive Sufficient Air Supply
Installation of a reliable outdoor air supply for the burning appliance helps keep the backdraft.
Incorporate radon-resistant techniques in Construction.
Radon can enter a home through openings in the floor or window and doors. It attracts dust, and when inhaled, it causes health effects like cancers. Radon-resistant building techniques will help curb this issue.
Provide Proper Drainage
Proper drainage will ensure that water flows away smoothly and quickly without blockage. An adequate drainage system will help curb problems like humid conditions, which bring mold.
Keeping the air in your home breathable requires diligence and preventive measures. Indoor air quality and dust quality should be easily improved using proper cleaning.
Knowing how to reduce the amount of dust indoors will let you know when you need help. If the problem is in your HVAC system, contact an HVAC system professional immediately for assistance.
Seek medical help as soon as you think the symptoms you are experiencing result from poor indoor air quality.