Dust-Free House on the Cheap?

Health, Fitness, Insurance, ...
brookline
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:53 am

Re: Dust-Free House on the Cheap?

Post by brookline » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:11 am

Riggerjack wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:30 pm
Yes, the furnace filter should be your primary dust control. Lots of air moving there, so it is ideal for dust control. But good furnace filters can be expensive, especially, if you are changing them as recommended. That is why i suggested the auxiliary cleanable filter. Costs nothing but time and water to clean. My friend is still hosing his off every week, and it needs it each time. His house has a combination of old carpet and a radiant heat system, so no central air moving system. A perfect storm for dust sensitive types.
Thanks for tip. However, I wonder if that would work. Our hot air system intakes air from an indoor boiler room which connects to a dusty backyard. It doesn't filter air that is upstairs. Rather, it just blows in new air from the boiler room. That said, I can definitely put in fresh air filters say monthly to ensure dust from the basement or outside is filtered. I can look for better filters too.

brookline
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:53 am

Re: Dust-Free House on the Cheap?

Post by brookline » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:13 am

SavingWithBabies wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:18 pm
For keeping a room free of dust:

* HEPA air filter -- I bought somewhat fancy ones ($120 USD on sale on Amazon) but I saw some regular ones at a local thrift store that will work just as well with a new filter (or washed filter if they take a washed filter). Or you can DIY with a box fan and a big HEPA filter from a big box store. I haven't tried it but it's been mentioned here before.

* Steam clean the floor regularly with a steam mop. I've found this really helps. A steam cleaner is fairly inexpensive. I see them used sometimes on Craiglist. I bought ours new for maybe $65 USD on sale. We have one that comes with cloth pads that we wash in the laundry machine. Key is to use distilled water as any minerals gum up the tiny nozzle(s) and render it worthless (well, technically my dad figured out how to repair his but he is a retired engineer -- most people end up tossing theirs).
Thank for the tips!

User avatar
Riggerjack
Posts: 2512
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:09 am

Re: Dust-Free House on the Cheap?

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:27 pm

I am almost certain you don't understand how your furnace works. If you are correct, you should be looking into a new system, today.

If air comes in from the outside, blows around your boiler room, and then runs through the furnace, heating your house, dropping dust, where does it then go? Surely your house isn't blowing up like a balloon. So, either you have an exceptionally leaky/drafty house, or that heated air in your living space goes through ducts (called returns) back to the furnace. Typically, the furnace filter is where the return air meets the furnace.

Furnace fans move a lot of air, I sized my ducts to meet 1300 cu ft/min, which is the high end of what the variable speed fan in my system will run. Mine is a heat pump, so more volume, less temperature difference than a fossil fuel or electrical element system.

It is amazing how often a homeowner will replace a clogged filter with *nothing*, to save a bit of money, then need a duct cleaning service, later.

Go look at your duct work on your furnace. One side will be out, in the winter, it will be warm. The other side is your return ducting, or you will have unducted returns, just holes cut in your walls/doors with a vent cover, to allow your heated air to get back to your furnace. In this case, you will have a housing for a filter, to filter the air before it goes through the furnace and ducts.

It is acceptable to have dusty/dirty return ducts, as any air going through them should pass a filter before going into your furnace and ducting. If you need your pressure ducts cleaned, it is because someone has run the furnace without a filter.

As to your dusty boiler room, I recommend going down, setting up a box fan to blow into a shallow pool of water. Then cleaning. The fan will blow dust to the water surface, and the water will go muddy, with collected dust. Change the water daily, allowing it to evaporate is counterproductive. When sweeping doesn't raise much dust, use compressed air and a cleaning wand to blow out all the nooks and crannies. Then change your furnace filter...

brookline
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:53 am

Re: Dust-Free House on the Cheap?

Post by brookline » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:53 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:27 pm
I am almost certain you don't understand how your furnace works. If you are correct, you should be looking into a new system, today.

If air comes in from the outside, blows around your boiler room, and then runs through the furnace, heating your house, dropping dust, where does it then go? Surely your house isn't blowing up like a balloon. So, either you have an exceptionally leaky/drafty house, or that heated air in your living space goes through ducts (called returns) back to the furnace. Typically, the furnace filter is where the return air meets the furnace.

Furnace fans move a lot of air, I sized my ducts to meet 1300 cu ft/min, which is the high end of what the variable speed fan in my system will run. Mine is a heat pump, so more volume, less temperature difference than a fossil fuel or electrical element system.

It is amazing how often a homeowner will replace a clogged filter with *nothing*, to save a bit of money, then need a duct cleaning service, later.

Go look at your duct work on your furnace. One side will be out, in the winter, it will be warm. The other side is your return ducting, or you will have unducted returns, just holes cut in your walls/doors with a vent cover, to allow your heated air to get back to your furnace. In this case, you will have a housing for a filter, to filter the air before it goes through the furnace and ducts.

It is acceptable to have dusty/dirty return ducts, as any air going through them should pass a filter before going into your furnace and ducting. If you need your pressure ducts cleaned, it is because someone has run the furnace without a filter.

As to your dusty boiler room, I recommend going down, setting up a box fan to blow into a shallow pool of water. Then cleaning. The fan will blow dust to the water surface, and the water will go muddy, with collected dust. Change the water daily, allowing it to evaporate is counterproductive. When sweeping doesn't raise much dust, use compressed air and a cleaning wand to blow out all the nooks and crannies. Then change your furnace filter...
Hi Riggerjack,
It sounds like I don't understand the workings of the heating system. Thanks for explaining & clarifying. I like your ideas about using a fan in the boiler room & a cleaning wand. (I assume the latter is a vaccuum cleaner attachment.)

User avatar
Riggerjack
Posts: 2512
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:09 am

Re: Dust-Free House on the Cheap?

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:42 am

I was thinking compressed air, but a vacuum will work, too.

Mechanical removal of dust requires that the dust be suspended. A fan, blowing over water will cause suspended dust to break surface tension, and settle into a mud. But the dust must be airborne for this to work. Thus sweeping. You get what you can sweep up, and the water gets what is airborne, and you get to remove the majority of the problem without using $filters$. Then, you can use your existing furnace system and new filters to remove what is left. While this is going on, there will be increased dust, so a small, local filter in the area you sleep in will be handy.

Once all this is done, the furnace filter should keep up with the dust generated by just living in a house.

None of this will be pleasant, and less so with allergies, but if you want to actually solve this problem, that is how to do it.

brookline
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:53 am

Re: Dust-Free House on the Cheap?

Post by brookline » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:50 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:42 am
I was thinking compressed air, but a vacuum will work, too.

Mechanical removal of dust requires that the dust be suspended. A fan, blowing over water will cause suspended dust to break surface tension, and settle into a mud. But the dust must be airborne for this to work. Thus sweeping. You get what you can sweep up, and the water gets what is airborne, and you get to remove the majority of the problem without using $filters$. Then, you can use your existing furnace system and new filters to remove what is left. While this is going on, there will be increased dust, so a small, local filter in the area you sleep in will be handy.

Once all this is done, the furnace filter should keep up with the dust generated by just living in a house.

None of this will be pleasant, and less so with allergies, but if you want to actually solve this problem, that is how to do it.
Hi RiggerJack,
Thanks for the follow-up explanation. So the idea is that the furnace's air filter would serve as a giant air filter for the entire house?

Reading your description, I'm not sure I could make this work. I'm very wary of sweeping. I bought a HEPA vacuum to avoid sweeping up dust. I've read on ERE in the past that airborne dust is the key thing to avoid with a dust allergy. I have an air filter that is ok but it hasn't unlimited power. Once I encounter airborne dust, I'm pretty miserable.

SavingWithBabies
Posts: 369
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:50 pm
Location: Midwest, USA

Re: Dust-Free House on the Cheap?

Post by SavingWithBabies » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:54 pm

@brookline A steam mop then would be ideal. My experience is it really picks up the dust but you're using steam so it's holding it with the humidity/liquid. But only works for non-carpet.

Mine one did come with some kind of carpet adapter (something to reduce the edge surfaces so you could slide it over carpet -- a clip on thing). So you might be able to use it with carpet to kill the dust mites. I haven't experimented with that though.

brenttran
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:06 am

Re: Dust-Free House on the Cheap?

Post by brenttran » Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:54 pm

SavingWithBabies wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:18 pm
For keeping a room free of dust:

* HEPA air filter -- I bought somewhat fancy ones ($120 USD on sale on Amazon) but I saw some regular ones at a local thrift store that will work just as well with a new filter (or washed filter if they take a washed filter). Or you can DIY with a box fan and a big HEPA filter from a big box store. I haven't tried it but it's been mentioned here before.

* Steam clean the floor regularly with a steam mop. I've found this really helps. A steam cleaner is fairly inexpensive. I see them used sometimes on Craiglist. I bought ours new for maybe $65 USD on sale. We have one that comes with cloth pads that we wash in the laundry machine. Key is to use distilled water as any minerals gum up the tiny nozzle(s) and render it worthless (well, technically my dad figured out how to repair his but he is a retired engineer -- most people end up tossing theirs).
With $120 it is easily to buy a true HEPA filter air purifier (also on Amazon). For dust you should find the one with permanent filter (can be washed or vacuumed)

Nomad
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed May 16, 2018 5:23 pm
Location: UK

Re: Dust-Free House on the Cheap?

Post by Nomad » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:11 pm

I have a Meaco air filter that does a great job of getting rid of dust etc.
https://www.meaco.com/air-purifiers

Post Reply