excessive dust problem

caroleenaMay 28, 2009

we live in a 75 year old house. we seem to have an excessive amount of dust. i do have dogs but they are groomed daily and i run air cleaners. we have window unit a/c. floors are hardwood. if i don't vacuum daily then we have monster dust bunnies. could it be from old insulation? this is what hubby thinks but the ceilings are in pretty good shape and sheetrock. could the floors be the issue?


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You do not have central AC. Do you have a forced air furnace, or do you heat by other means. If you have forced air, you should consider having the vents cleaned professionally and use ONLY the special filters like the ones endorsed by the American Lung Assoc, made by MMM. They are costly, up to $20 each, but last 3 months.

If you do not have a forced air heating system, your house may be very poorly insulated so that dust seeps in from many different places. Have you checked? One way to check for this is to hire someone to do an energy audit of your house. They come with special equipment to find out whether there is heat loss and where.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 4:35PM
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I had to laugh when I saw your post- we moved into our 110 year old house in December and I've been shocked by the amount of dust that this house produces! I was just joking about it with my neighbor, who also commented on it. I think that old houses just have more dust. I'm not a huge dusting person, and in our old house (which was 60 years old) dusting once a month or so was fine. Some areas I'd dust more, some less, but in our new house, a month passes and it looks like a year's worth of dust is clogging up everything. I at first chalked it up to the construction that we are doing in our kitchen, but now I think it's just the old house.

I'll bet that haus proud has a good point on the insulation, but if you think about it, there are just so many more spaces that have aged and have stored dust for awhile. So, I can't offer any advice, but I can offer comrade-ship. Our dust bunnies can hang together. Please post if you find a good solution-

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 10:26AM
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Two days after vacumming the entire house (five levels) we will have dust bunnies...ok cat hair tumbleweeds to be honest, rolling across the floor. This never happened when we had carpet, but now that we're down to all wood...the fur is rolling!

I believe this might have been happening with carpet but the fur was kind enough to imbed itself in the carpet so I didn't know what a bunch of piggies lived in my house :oP

By the way...my home is a 1980's townhouse with forced air in Alaska (land of glacier dust...it's amazingly awful). I think your issue has more to do with the dust having no where to hide :) (Which sucks LOL)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 11:48PM
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If you have heating vents, have the pros come in and clean them out. They do a vacuum/suction type process that goes back to the furnace. This made a huge difference in the dust quantity of our house.

All the previous house projects had deposited years of crud in the vents and each time the blower turned on, the dust recirculated back in. We also change our furnace filter monthly.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 6:51AM
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thanks for your input. we have space heaters - the kind that look like old open wood stoves. due to the climate here- we live in southeast alabama about 90 miles from the gulf of mexico we use our ac almost year round. i think we need more insulation. i had to laugh about the "hair balls"- we have 4 pomeranians and they should be bald by now with all the hair bunnies i vacuum up!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 11:51AM
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haus proud has the answer.
sealing the air leakage in the house will reduce the
openings from living space into attic can be hidden behind
ceiling moldings, light fixtures, cabinets..and many places.
finding these sites and properly sealing then will stop dust and make house easier to heat and cool.
just a hint..look for spiderwebs, as spiders build where
air moves.
once you seal the air leaks..then insulate.

I had to laugh about the hair balls also.
I have a new to me dog with long hair.
finally I learned how to trim her
and hoped this would stop the rolling hair balls
across the floors. now they are just comprised of
shorter hair.
I guess I could be a better housekeeper..but its
summer and the yard is calling. housework will
keep till a rainy day.
best of luck.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 10:00PM
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I've just been checking in to see what everyone else had to say, because we sure have a dusty house, too. I went snooping around internet sites devoted to dust just to see what the supposed experts had to say. I'd always been told most dust in homes are organic, from skin cells (blech). But, there seems to be dust and then other dust.

The last house I lived in was close to a cement plant. Needless to say, everything was covered in dust all the time and it was nasty dust and seemed to eat into finishes. The home I live in now is also dusty, but it's a different sort of dust. I noticed that our seldom used country road is now a busy road and the dust has increased since then, a lot. We also get dust from out of the chimney openings, dark, sooty dust. Add to that four cats and a dog .......lots more dust. And last but not least, I am a professional 'gardener' so to speak and I track in unGodly mounts of soil and organic matter and when it gets walked on, more dust. My dh does our groundswork and his feet track in even more. I also own an older house in town, and I have noticed that sooty dust is streaking the walls adjacent to windows now, probably coal dust caught behind the sills and frame and leaking out.

It's not just old houses. My son and his wife built a brand spanking new house on their farm. Put in nice shiney wood floors and I asked my DIL if the dust from the construction had settled, and dust seems to be a way of life on their shiny floor even though it's not from new construction.

I am sitting here chuckling, because when I was cooking supper tonight, I looks up and there are cobwebs strung between the two glass shades of our island lights over the counters. I JUST CLEANED THEM! I told him it was like living in the Adams family house.

We don't have forced air heat, have a new boiler and hot water heat. Doesn't seem to matter if the windows are open or shut. We have DUST.

One website I went to suggested you take a strong magnifying lens and look at some of your dust to see what it looks like. If the particles are fluffy, it's probably from fiber like rugs or upholstery, or if it's flaky it's animal dander, etc. Sounded sensible.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 10:23PM
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Energy Rater - it doesn't seem to matter if the dogs have long hair or short. I have 5 basset hounds (short hair) & I could make a new dog out of the fur that's collected weekly. You have to wonder why they aren't bald!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 11:30PM
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i guess the 3 kittens in my kitchen won't help my dust problem- lol. they were rescues and it seems i am destined to be engulfed by animal hair. we are, however, going to replace some doors and windows and add insulation. old houses are like old folks- always have a sore spot that needs fixin'

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 7:58PM
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I also live in a old house and if a pro came in i think they might just tear it down. There are so many holes and ugh its a nightmare. Well I also have dust issues and I looked at my vents and ducts and they seriously need cleaned. it doesnt matter what filter you use if your ducts are cleaned because when dirt hair and other ucky stuff falls in the vents and then when the furnace turns on the ucky stuff just blows right out. At least that is my observation. We need to get our vents and ducts replaced and then put insulation on them :)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 2:15PM
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Replacing ducts sounds like a needless expense, Jessica...having them cleaned is probably a lot cheaper. The dust will settle into the vents and enter the ducts, so having them insulated won't stop that--it will keep more heat in them, but that's it.
I would imagine that my own ducts have never been cleaned, since after the original long-term owners, no one stayed more than five or six years--that's why so much of my house is still original. For a fact, I know I would turn up several screwdrivers (dropped by me), and probably some coinage and gods know what else from previous owners!
The manual for my old '58 Kirby vacuum shows a man in his basement using it's portable attachments to clean the tops of his ductwork--in a white shirt and tie, no less!! :)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 3:35PM
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We had a home built in 1914 that was extremely dusty. Then we installed storm windows over the double-hungs -- and the dust was cut down tremendously!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 7:20PM
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