All About Dust & Dust Mites

dust and dust mitesHave you ever finished cleaning only to turn around and see dust particles on the surfaces that you just cleaned? Every home has dust and, unfortunately, there isn’t a way to totally prevent or eliminate it entirely; however, you can control it. Dust and dust mites are one of the primary causes of indoor household health issues that include asthma, allergies and respiratory problems. So, what can you do to minimize and manage the dust in your house and improve your home’s Indoor Air Quality?

What is Dust?

There are many factors that contribute to the production of dust, but first it’s important to understand what dust is. According to BusinessDictionary.com, dust is “airborne particulate matter ranging in diameter from 10 to 50 microns, generated by activities such as cutting, crushing, detonation, grinding, and handling of organic and inorganic matter such as coal, grain, metal, ore, rock, wood.”

Controlling the level of dust indoors is a continuous struggle for nearly everyone. Dust originates from numerous sources and persistently collects on almost any surface. The most effective way to minimize dust is to tackle it at its source. While you can noticeably reduce the amount of grime, dirt, soil and filth that originates from these sources, dust will still be very difficult to eliminate.

Outdoor sources: dirt, wind, sand, gravel, streets, sidewalks, garages/driveways, construction, industrial areas

Indoor sources: clothing, dryers, skin flakes/dander, ventilation, carpeting, furniture, linens/drapery, electronics, pets, attics, basements, closets, storage areas, remodeling projects

What are Dust Mites?

Within dust, there are also tiny bugs called dust mites that survive on the skin cells shed from humans. They are commonly found in rugs, carpets and upholstered furniture, as well as commonly seen in bedrooms. Dust mites are one of the most common year-round triggers of asthma and allergies and in a warm, humid house, dust mites can survive all year long. With excess dust in the home, and humans shedding on average 1.5 grams of skin each day, it’s important to keep that dust under control in order to help reduce and minimize the amount of dust mites living in your house.

According to the Mayo Clinic, dust mite allergy symptoms caused by inflammation of nasal passages include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
  • In a child, frequent upward rubbing of the nose

If your dust mite allergy contributes to asthma, you may also experience:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • An audible whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • Bouts of coughing or wheezing that are worsened by a respiratory virus such as a cold or the flu

How to Control Dust and Dust Mites

There are four main or primary problems that can contribute to dust in your home. Luckily, there are ways to remedy these issues which can help reduce the dust in your house.

1. Air Filters

If you have excessive dust in your home, the most likely culprit is a dirty HVAC filter that isn’t working efficiently to effectively clean the air. A clean air filter that is working properly prevents dust and debris from collecting on the mechanical parts of your HVAC system, minimizing the dust levels in your home’s air. Using a high-efficiency pleated filter provides a large surface area with high dust-holding capacity. Pleated filters trap and hold several grams of dust that would otherwise be blown into your ducts and back into your air, settling on the surfaces you just cleaned.

To control average levels of dust, we recommend a minimum of a MERV 8 rating on your home air filter. For greater protection from smaller dust particles (fine, suspended dust), a higher MERV rating is recommended. As the MERV rating increases, the finer the particles that are captured by the filter, therefore a higher percentage of dust and microscopic particulate matter is removed.

Battling dust that continues to reappear on bookshelves, tables, window treatments, and decor is a constant point of frustration for many people. It is virtually impossible to totally eliminate the dust because there are so many sources, but your air filter is a great supporter of your fight to reduce dust as much as possible.

2. Leaky Ducts

If you have efficient, clean air filters and are still battling large amounts of dust, leaky ducts may be your actual problem. If there is a leak in your ducts, they could be releasing dusty, unfiltered air back into your home. When you turn on an HVAC system that has ducts with holes or leaks, the ducts suck up the dirt, dust, and other contaminants in and around your crawl space/attic. This dirt and dust then get blown out of the air vents in your home, reducing your indoor air quality and increasing your energy bills. If you notice that your energy bills are higher, have hot and cold spots in your house or see dirty/lint covered vent registers, you may have leaky ducts.

The best way to resolve this is to call an HVAC technician who can perform a pressure test that will tell them if the ducts need to be resealed. Getting your ducts cleaned and resealed by a professional will save you money in the long run by controlling your indoor temperature, reduce energy costs and most importantly, reducing the amount of dust in your home.

3. Humidity Level

The humidity level both on the outside and inside of your home is another main cause of dust. If you live in a dry climate, or perhaps in a dry season, this can affect the amount of dust in your home. Relative humidity inside and out also contributes to the survival of dust mites, so is related to the amount of dust mites in your home. According to the American Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), dust mites thrive in temperatures of 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius). They also like humidity levels of 70 to 80 percent. So, to put it simply, there will be a lot of dust in the desert, but relatively no dust in the rain forest.

If your indoor air is too dry, you’re going to see more dust in the air. The solution for this is to invest in a humidifier that will help you find a balance in the humidity level in your home. It’s also important to note that dusty and dry air may be a signal that there is a problem with your HVAC system, so if the dust is excessive, you’ll want to get your system checked out.

4. Flooring

The last primary factor that affects the amount of dust is the type of flooring in your house. If your home is carpeted, research has found that carpet harbors dust and dust mites; however, it also holds in the dust making it easier to vacuum it up. Controversially, hard floors don’t hold onto dust and dust mites, but they do contribute to the stirring up of the dust and getting it back into the air when vacuuming, sweeping or simply walking through the house. Regardless of the type of flooring that you have in your house, you’ll want to have a high quality vacuum cleaner that sucks up the dust and dirt, efficiently trapping it so it isn’t released back into the air that you and your family breathe.

US Home Filter is Here for You

Nobody wants to breathe dirty air. There’s no doubt that reducing the dust in the air in your home is highly beneficial for everyone – family members and visitors. The air that you breathe can have a significant impact on allergy symptoms, asthma triggers, and your overall level of comfort. Your air transports allergens and contaminants, allowing them to be inhaled or to settle on surfaces where they can spread to other areas. Minimizing dust improves your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ). Using high-efficiency pleated air filters is a great added level of defense in helping to clean your home’s air from allergens and dust. Using a minimum of a MERV 8 rating will help to collect large amounts of dirt and debris, not only protecting your HVAC system, but going above and beyond by capturing common allergens such as pet dander, dust mite debris, pollen, and mold spores. Upgrading to a higher level such as MERV 11 or MERV 13 is recommended for those who desire a greater percentage of dust collection and trapping the smallest allergens.

Order now from US Home Filter and receive FREE SHIPPING on your order!

Selecting the filters that are just right for your home can be difficult and confusing at times. At US Home Filter we understand this, which is why we offer an experienced staff to help answer any questions you may have. We take pride in helping our customers find the best filtration solutions to fit their individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or a custom size air filter built to your specifications. For personal assistance with your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to assist you in selecting the right filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.

Are You Allergic to Your Home?

preventing home feverWith the amount of time we spend indoors increasing, so are our allergic reactions to indoor allergens. The allergens we are exposed to change daily, weekly and seasonally; however, we are exposed to indoor allergens year-round. That means that those affected by indoor allergens are suffering constantly. Back in 2011, a report was done by Allergy UK (a charity which supports people with allergies, chemical sensitivity and food intolerance) to better understand the effects of indoor allergies. Questioning 1,600 people, the survey looked at the “home fever” phenomenon, a range of reactions to dust mites and other allergens in the home. The most common symptoms of this “fever” are sneezing and runny noses. The most common symptoms of this “fever” are sneezing and runny noses, much like those of hay fever. However, unlike hay fever which is seasonal, “home fever” can present at any time of the year.

Home Fever Symptoms

One question the report asked the allergy sufferers questioned was what triggered their symptoms the most. The top answer was dust mites, followed by pets, cleaning supplies and mold, respectively. Symptoms that occurred 60% of the time in those surveyed were runny nose, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. In looking to find out if different areas of the home caused symptoms more than others, the survey found that the most common area participants experienced allergies was in the bedroom. This makes sense as the average bed can harbor around 2 million dust mites.

Overall, it is estimated that 10-20 percent of the world population suffers from similar indoor allergies.  Luckily, there are ways to control indoor allergens and home fever symptoms.

Bedding and Flooring

Washing your bed linens once a week and at a temperature hot enough to kill them (the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) is important. You can also vacuum your mattress to remove dead skin cells (aka dust mite food) and replace your current mattress every 7-10 years. Flooring is also the other primary factor that traps dust, dead skin cells and harbors dust mites. Regardless of the type of flooring that you have in your house, you’ll want to have a high-quality vacuum cleaner that sucks up the dust and dirt, efficiently trapping it so it isn’t released back into the air that you and your family breathe.

“Green” Cleaning Supplies

Many cleaning supplies or household cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals that cause irritation to eyes and throat, cause headaches as well as many other health problems. Some of these products even release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other dangerous chemicals. VOCs are found in cleaning products like glass cleaner, air fresheners, dryer sheets, bleach, among others, all of which have been shown to cause allergy and asthma-like symptoms. Switching to, or even making your own, green cleaning products containing natural and plant-based ingredients eliminate these “home fever” triggers.

Reduce Pet Allergens

No matter how much we love our pets, it’s a fact they are a large contribution to indoor allergens in our homes. To combat these allergens, try to create a specific area in your home for your pet that is easy to clean. Keep pets off furniture and beds and regularly wash any linens your pets use. You may also want to consider investing in a filter with a MERV rating of 8-13 to keep the air free from pet allergens – these filters can reduce pet allergens in the air substantially. Lastly, make sure to vacuum regularly and bathe your dog twice a week (using a pet shampoo that contains natural and plant-based ingredients).

Regulate Heat and Humidity

Dust mites and mold both thrive in moist, humid conditions so keeping your house at the humidity level and temperature makes a huge difference in allergy control. Keep your house nice and dry, using a dehumidifier if necessary. You can also remove humidity by opening your windows for one hour per day when the weather is dry and pollen levels are low. You also don’t want your home humidity level too low as this can cause allergens to circulate in the air. It is recommended to keep your home between 68°F-72°F with 40% humidity whenever possible.

Change Your HVAC Filter Monthly

All of the air that is used to cool or heat your home circulates through your HVAC system, eventually passing through the air filter. Make sure you choose the right air filter for your HVAC system and change it regularly to help reduce the allergens in the air that cause home fever. An air filter’s main purpose is to trap and hold all the different kinds of particulates and contaminants in the air that circulate through your heating and cooling system. Checked your filters at least once a month – if they are dirty, they should be changed with a fresh clean filter to minimize home allergens.

US Home Filter is Here for You

Reducing the dust in your indoor air is no doubt highly beneficial for everyone – family members and visitors. The air you breathe in your home can have a huge impact on allergy symptoms, asthma triggers, and your overall level of comfort. At US Home Filter, we take pride in helping our customers find the best filtration solutions to fit their individual needs. Whether you need help with one of our standard stock size air filters, a Whole House Air Cleaner replacement filter, Grille filters, or a custom size air filter built to your specifications, we will be happy to personally assist you with any of your filtration needs! For personal assistance or questions about your air filter needs, please contact us now online or call us at (855) 237-1673 and we will do our very best to help you in selecting the perfect filter for your individual needs. We want to earn your business and we guarantee your satisfaction! Take advantage of our quality products, vast selection, low prices, and enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every air filter order within the Contiguous USA.