How to Reduce Dust in the Winter
LESLIE: Caroline in Missouri is dealing with a ducting and HVAC problem. Tell us what’s going on.
CAROLINE: Well, we live in a two-story house and the upstairs, the dust just gets terrible. Every day, I have to do a lot of dusting.
CAROLINE: We have central air and – but we use electric baseboards in the winter and we have a gas stove. Looks like a wood stove; looks like a fireplace. And it pretty well heats the house and the dust is only bad in the upstairs.
TOM: Right. And that’s because warm air rises and carries the dust with it.
CAROLINE: Right. That’s what my husband said.
TOM: He’s smart.
CAROLINE: Oh, he must be, because that’s what he said. He said it’s because of the warm air rising up there and that dust …
TOM: In the summertime, when you have the central air on, you probably get more air circulation. And so the dust would be drawn into the system and then taken out by the filter.
TOM: So I suspect it’s worse in the wintertime.
CAROLINE: Yes. Yes, sir, it is.
TOM: Well, I don’t know that there’s a solution for that because – unless you can cut back on the dust that you’ve got going on in your house there, Caroline. But living on a farm, I’m sure that that is a constant presence.
CAROLINE: Yes, sir, it is.
CAROLINE: I guess one solution would be get a maid.
TOM: That’s right.
LESLIE: Now, Tom, could she add a whole-house air cleaner into the central-air system and just run the fan without the actual cooler in the winter months?
TOM: I mean potentially, you could. And what Leslie is suggesting is a whole-house electronic air cleaner designed to fit and work inside the ducting system that runs the A/C. And then you would run the fan periodically to basically circulate and clean the air in the house.
LESLIE: And just clean the air. Generally, this works great when people have forced air for both heat and cooling, because it’s operating continually year-round. But in your situation – you know, I sometimes know in the winter months, if the house gets stuffy – we only have central air conditioning and steam heat. But if the house gets stuffy or if I’ve cooked or a big dinner party, I’ll run the fan just to sort of move the air around.
LESLIE: And it doesn’t cool the house. So in your situation, it might be something where once a day or every so often, you just kick that fan on to just cycle the air through and clean it out.
CAROLINE: That’s a good idea. I really appreciate that.
LESLIE: They’re not terribly expensive. Aprilaire makes one; it’s the Model 5000, I believe. Several manufacturers do make them. They have a different type of filter system; it’s like an accordion-style media that just electronically charges and really sucks every particulate out of the air, whether it’s dust or viral or odor. So it’s beneficial other than just the dust.
CAROLINE: Well, I really appreciate that. Thank you so much. I’ll share that with my husband.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.