I think it’s safe to say most of us slack on cleaning duties every once in a while. For some of us, we slack most of the time, right? How dusty is your living room right now? (This isn’t a guilt trip – so don’t worry.) Now just imagine all the dust that is sitting up in your attic. That dust has the potential to get into your air conditioning system and affect your home’s indoor air quality.
Thankfully there are several things you can do to keep this from happening. First of all, much of this can be avoided by making sure your air ducts in the attic are properly sealed. This will keep the dust from getting sucked into the air stream. There’s a simple way to check this without going up into the attic. If you notice a film of dust on the ledges or cutouts of your doors, your ducts are not properly sealed.
In addition, air filters become key in the fight against dust. Not only should you use the air filter with the highest MERV rating you can find, but you also should change these filters out regularly. In the summer, that’s usually once a month. In the winter, you can go up to three months without changing the filter. However, if you notice it’s dirty, you should probably change the filter out more regularly than that.
The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, also has some tips from homeowners regarding preventing dust from getting into your air ducts.
-When you have your heating and air conditioning system serviced (or even when you’re having it looked at), ask the technician to clean the coils and draining pan.
-If you’re having construction work or renovation work done on your home, seal off the supply and return registers and don’t turn your AC or heater on until after you’ve cleaned up all the dust.
-Finally, clean your home regularly. That sounds simple enough, but it helps. Just make sure you vacuum has a high-efficiency filter bag. The last thing you want to do is vacuum – which increases dust in the air – and not have your vacuum collect as much of the dust and dirt as possible.