Too much dust in apartment
October 3, 2009 10:13 AM   Subscribe

Dust, dust, everywhere! I recently moved to a new apartment on the 12th floor of a high rise building in Philadelphia and find that dust accumulates all over everything like crazy. Is there something I can do to slow it down?

I generally keep my windows open all day, which I'm sure contributes to my problem. I've looked at a few room air filters, but I don't know about their efficacy--has anyone else had experience with this?
posted by Aanidaani to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Ah, but is it coming in the windows, or from your vent system itself? When was the last time your vent filters were changed?

When I moved in here, the vent filters were so clogged, I got a pile of dirt on the floor that just fell off of the suction side when I pulled them out. Some of that gets by the filter and gets blown all around the house. Try that first. Or test it by putting cheesecloth over the supply vents, and see if they turn black in a couple of days.

I wouldn't think you'd get that much dust from an open window on the 12th floor, unless you live near a smokestack or something.
posted by ctmf at 10:24 AM on October 3, 2009

I've used room air filters and they are good for getting rid of cat hair and dust but it didn't eliminate the problem.
posted by Melsky at 11:10 AM on October 3, 2009

Any kind of room air filter will need to move a fair amount of air to be effective. My dad jury rigged a setup with a cardboard box, a box window fan, and a furnace air filter. Keep in mind a fan large enough to be useful running all the time will draw a fair amount of electricity.

If you have forced air heating (or cooling) make sure the filter is new and change often (every month or two).

I'd try leaving your windows closed for a week as an experiment, to see if that's the major source.

And, unfortunately, some places are just dusty, especially older places.
posted by 6550 at 11:11 AM on October 3, 2009

I'm guessing that the dust you see is not fluffy little textile fibers but soot from internal combustion engines (and heating furnaces in winter). Textile dust looks like the stuff you clean out of the lint trap in a dryer. Soot is fine black particles, occasionally large enough to make out individual particles with the naked eye.

Anyway, assuming you've actually got soot, the problem is undoubtedly coming from your open window. I sympathize, as I used to live near a busy highway and had to keep my windows closed to prevent a layer of soot from building up on everything in just a few hours. You can try a window filter or keep the windows closed during the week. Traffic is usually lighter on weekends so you might be able to open the windows then.
posted by Quietgal at 1:14 PM on October 3, 2009

My dad jury rigged a setup with a cardboard box, a box window fan, and a furnace air filter. Keep in mind a fan large enough to be useful running all the time will draw a fair amount of electricity.

HA! I have the same device. Works well, picks up a lot of dust.

So my question for the asker is, what kind of heating/cooling system do you have? Is it your own system, or the building's?

And room filters don't do much- they aren't magic. If you can't see the dust building up in the filter somewhere, it isn't doing anything.
posted by gjc at 1:49 PM on October 3, 2009

Response by poster: My apartment doesn't have a central heating/air conditioning system. Rather it has antiquated window units that I usually keep off to avoid paying an outrageous electricity bill. There are some vents in the bathroom and kitchen that seem a bit dusty.
posted by Aanidaani at 4:19 PM on October 3, 2009

I've found that since I bought a Roomba (and run it several times a week, if not daily) the rate at which dust accumulates has gone way, way down on everything.
posted by paulg at 11:51 AM on October 4, 2009

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