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Why does my house get so dusty? Where does that dust come from?

Dust comes from many sources including dead skin regularly shed from people and pets (yuck!), fibers from carpet, bedding, clothing and upholstery, and from the outside. Now unless you want to get rid of all your carpeting, get all leather furniture, toss the curtains, and make Fido sleep outside your best bet at reducing dust is to address the dust which comes from outside which, studies show, makes up about 60% of the dust in your home!

Where Does All the Dust Come From?

How does so much dust get inside? One source is dirt tracked in from shoes, kids, and pets. Another source is unsealed return ductwork running through attics, crawlspaces, or in between walls. The ductwork is actually sucking that dirty air and then blowing it directly into your house! While it’s nice to always have your heating or air conditioning running, this is a major culprit for attracting dust into your home.

Another pathway for the dust to get into your house isn’t so obvious. It may be hard to believe, but your house breathes air in and out all day long. Air is constantly escaping the living space of your house through holes and gaps in things like electrical outlets, light switches, can lights, windows etc. A lot of this is warm air that rises up and finds its way into the attic. When all this air leaves your house it creates a slight vacuum which sucks air back into the house through other cracks, holes, and gaps. Have you ever felt cold air coming through an electrical outlet? (My wife pointed this out to me just the other day! Ironically it was about a day after she asked me where all the dust comes from. Guess where this blog idea came from!) When this air gets sucked into the house, it often travels through dirty areas such as crawl spaces or the dust laden spaces in between your walls. Time for the duster!

How to Get Rid of the Dust

So how do we get rid of all this dust? There are two main ways – Filtration and Prevention. Filtration removes airborne dust once it gets in the house, so get a good air filter – just make sure it’s not one that restricts airflow or you’ll have a whole different set of problems. Prevention means don’t let the dust get in the house in the first place. There are easy steps such as taking shoes off as soon as you come into the house and wiping off your pets feet when they come in from the outdoors. Sealing all of your ductwork will prevent dust from getting in as well as saving you energy and allowing your home to heat and cool easier. Other steps include sealing all of those air leaks in the “envelope” of your home. To help you find them call an energy auditor such as Green Dream Group or Priority Energy.

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