Air quality typically is one of the most misunderstood facets of heating, cooling and ventilation in homes. In this blog I will address dust particulate.
What is circulating in your home? We all make a lot of assumptions. Dust, human or animal hair, mold, bacteria, viruses, off gasses from materials…the list is almost endless. Stop and think about it for a moment. From home to home there can be vast differences. Do you have animals in the home, are your windows open when the weather is comfortable, do you take off your shoes when you come in the house or do you stamp your feet creating an almost invisible dust cloud and continue on into the home? Is your home constructed recently and especially with new composite materials.
First think in terms of small particulate such as dust and how do you catch that dust. If it is suspended in the air and it is close enough to a return air duct it might make its way back to the furnace or air handler. If that particulate is large enough, different quality air filters can catch and hold that particle. If the particulate does not make it to the return air duct it is most likely to settle on any surface of the home or office.
This is not the fault of the air filter or your furnace or air handler if you find this dust on surfaces in your home or office. It is just the nature of particulate and its weight wanting to fall and settle. In most homes and offices, we see Merv 8 air filters which will trap most dust particulate. There has been a move because of public awareness of other contaminants in the air and the move to Merv 11, 13 and Heppa filters. These are far more dense and expensive air filters and they can lead to a drop or restriction of air flow which can stress especially most residential systems and lead to premature failure of your ventilation equipment. In one of next blogs, I will address alternatives to dealing with contaminants other than dust particulate.