Do you feel like as soon as you finish dusting…the dust seems to come right back?
A good deal of the dust in our homes comes from internal sources such as skin flakes, fabric fibers and pets. However, new research has found that in many homes a significant amount of the dust actually originates from outside the living space. The hot or cold outside air that leaks in through gaps and cracks often brings a lot of dust along with it. The air from outside always contains airborne particles such as mold spores, pollen, soot, tire rubber and agricultural dust. Think how dirty patio furniture can get after just a few days without rain.
However, that outside air leaking in around windows and doors is only a small part of the problem. Windows and doors usually represent less than 20% of a home’s air leaks.The air coming in there is often relatively clean in comparison to where the other 80% comes from. Building scientists have recently discovered that in the typical home, most of the incoming air first passes through dirty areas such as the attic, attached garage, outside walls, crawlspace, basement, or even from underground.
This incoming air is often contaminated with visible dust particles such as insulation fibers, pollen and mold spores. It may also contain invisible pollutants like carbon monoxide, automobile exhaust, carcinogenic radon gas, rodent allergens, pesticides and volatile organic chemicals. These can negatively affect your family’s health and safety. For more info, check out this video from Comfort Institute:
It’s a common complaint. Just a few days after a thorough house cleaning, that unsightly dust is back, settling on every surface in your house. Dust can also contribute to respiratory allergy suffering. What’s the answer?
Contact your home performance trained contractor and ask for an Infiltro meter blower door test to pinpoint where the bad air leaks are. This involves installing a computerized machine with a powerful fan in your front doorway, to temporarily pressure test your house. An air leak detector and infrared camera are then used to find the air leaks. Many are leaks you can repair as weekend projects. Others such as leaks in your air ducts, or through recessed can lights are better left to professionals.
Finding and fixing the leaks that let in bad air will make your home healthier and less dusty. Your home will also be more comfortable and have more controllable indoor humidity levels. Fixing these air leaks will even pay for itself through lower heating and cooling bills. In fact, duct leakage alone has been found to waste 20% to 40% of most system’s heating or air conditioning.