Eliminating Dust in the Air
You can't reduce the amount of dust in your home without addressing the problem of airborne dust. Airborne dust aggravates allergies and asthma, and eventually settles onto your furniture and floors, creating a dirty appearance. You won't be able to completely eliminate this dust, but you can greatly reduce it with the right combination of HVAC filters, air purifiers, window screens and houseplants.
Upgrade HVAC Filters
Furnace and air conditioning filters have a tremendous impact on the amount of airborne dust in your home. The best filter for dust removal is a professionally installed electrostatic filter connected directly to your home's duct work. As of 2015, the cost of this setup is between $700 and $1,500, installed. This investment is worthwhile for allergy sufferers, but others can effectively reduce airborne dust with disposable filters.
For around $100 a year, disposable filters adequately reduce airborne dust in most homes. Opt for a pleated filter made from fabric or paper as these capture more dust and pollen than fiberglass filters. Change your filter at least once every three months. Check the filter monthly if you have pets and replace when dirty.
Duct Work: To Clean or Not to Clean
While looking at you're furnace filter, you may be tempted to have your ducts professionally cleaned. Cleaning may improve the efficiency of your HVAC system and reduce the amount of airborne dust in your home, but there are no guarantees, making duct cleaning's value a source of debate. The EPA recommends cleaning for dust reduction only if you have considerable dust build-up in your system.
- Duct cleaning services frequently scam customers by providing unnecessary services. Get several estimates and, if shown pictures of your dirty ducts, verify that you are viewing supply ducts and not intake ducts. Intake ducts are always dirtier because the air in them has not yet reached your furnace filter.
- Get references and check out cleaning services before hiring them. A poorly done service will create more dust in your home and is worse than skipping the cleaning altogether.
Use an Air Purifier
Unless you put one in every room of your house, air purifiers won't reduce the overall amount of airborne dust throughout the home. They are, however, effective in small areas and will reduce the number of dust particles in a particularly dusty room. They can also help relieve allergy symptoms when used in a room you spend a lot of time in.
Air purifiers reduce airborne allergens like pollen but are ineffective for dust mite allergies as the mites are not airborne.
Get New Screens
Stop airborne dust from getting into your home by upgrading to filtered window screens. These screens allow light and air to pass through while blocking out pollen and dust particles. Some manufacturers claim blockage efficiency of 80 percent or higher. Filters that sit in front of window screens or enclose window openings are also available.
Houseplants that Reduce Dust
Plants are natural air cleaners, and studies have shown they can reduce dust and improve air quality in a home. The larger the plant's surface area, the more dust it filters. Good air cleaners that require little care include:
- The peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp.)
- Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus)
- Cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)
If you tend to kill houseplants, try a snake plant (Sansevieria spp,) or a ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), both of which thrive on neglect.
Some houseplants are toxic to pets. The ASPCA can help you verify that the plants you choose are safe for furry family members.
These components will help you reduce the amount of dust that ultimately settles around your house, but they won't remove dust altogether. Combat the dust that does remain with the best homemade dust cleaners.
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