Where is all the dust coming from?

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I've done all that I can do and think of and I'm stumped. I need fresh input.
My 10+ year old 2000 sqft house is always dusty.
We have no carpets or drapery. The doors and windows are always closed. We have leather and wood furniture. We don't have children. We do have one dog that does shed and she mostly sleeps. I don't use the central AC because I suspect there's dust in the ductwork so I put in several window AC's (happily, my electrical bill plummeted). We don't live in a dusty area (e.g. a desert).
There are dust bunnies under the couch several days after I vacuum and the leather chair that isn't used is covered with a layer of dust within days of being damp cleaned.
So, I bought six( 6) Sharper Image Quadra units. After running them for a week or two, they all picked up near zero particles. When I returned them, the metal blades were still nice and shiny.
I brought back all of the Quadra units and bought four (4) of the multi-fan driven Sharper Image Hybrids. Nearly $2,000. After a week, they didn't collect any dust either and I brought them all back.
I bought five(5) of the severely maligned Sharper Image Ionic Breezes off of eBay. These units actually do collect tons of dust and I have to clean them weekly but the house is still very dusty. However, my chronic sneezing and dripping nose came to an immediate end with the Sharper Image air purifiers.
Then I bought four (4) IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifiers ((Amazon.com product link shortened)).
These are the size of small refrigerators. Each one is rated to clean 900 sqft at max fan speed. I leave them running at max speed for over 20 hours/day but the house is still dusty. I have two (2) IQAir running on opposite ends of the open area downstairs plus a Sharper Image unit.
The IQAir units are quite powerful. If you put a small piece of tissue paper on the floor about 6" away from the bottom of the unit, the tissue paper travels across the floor and gets sucked up.
I went on a multi-week cleaning rampage. I tore the house apart and washed everything from ceiling to floor and then did it all over again and again. Call me compulsive or extremely thorough.
I water vacuum wash the floors once/week to ensure that the floors are truly spotless.
Even with the 5 Sharper Image cleaners and the 4 IQAir units, the house is still substantially dusty (small particles and long fibers). Even the filters to the air conditioners have to be cleaned every few weeks.
My latest idea was to turn on all the ceiling fans in each room to prevent dust from settling and let the air purifiers do their job.
Where is all the dust coming from? What more can I do?
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Just a hunch, but look in your attic. What kind of insulation do you have in your attic and do you really know what kind of insulation you have in your outside walls? If you have blown in insulation, then you will *never* be rid of the dust.
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In the attic, it's the pink fiberglass that come in rolls with the brown paper backing.
When I opened some electrical outlets, I saw the same pink fiberglass. Not blown in insulation. My last house attic had blown in insulation so I know the difference.
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wrote:

I've never had a problem with dust from blown in insulation. Just how is it going to get into the house?
Bob
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We never had any problems with dust until we moved to a house that has a lot of trees surrounding the property and on the property. It's almost like the woods around here.
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Probably not as much dust as pollen. We get it strong in the spring.
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Julie wrote:

You and the dog.
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CJT wrote:

Yes, that's true. But what about when the house has been vacant for a few weeks and I come back and it's so dusty?
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Julie wrote:

There is a lot of air that moves into and out of the house..no home is air-tight. Air can move through seams at base of walls and through wall cavities, into a room through outlets and light fixtures, under doors, through gaps in window and window frame, air intake on furnace or AC, etc.
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Norminn wrote:

That's makes sense. Thank you.
Maybe my next step will be to apply positive pressure into the house to keep particles out %-)
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Re: Where is all the dust coming from?:

That would work if you had a HEPA filter on the air intake.
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Get an electronic air cleaner for your HVAC system, and run the fan all the time.
http://yourhome.honeywell.com/Consumer/Cultures/en-US/Products/Air+Cleaners/Electronic/Default.htm
Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

I'll second that. As the primary housekeeper in a home with two 5-year- olds and five cats, I'd never leave the blower off. We have a Honeywell central electronic air cleaner and it is *disgusting* what comes off of that when I clean it every month. (I had it installed outdoors, next to a hose bibb, can just pull the filters and hose them off on gravel if they aren't too bad, put them through the dishwasher once in a while if they're getting greasy.)
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Julie wrote:

Is the furnace in the attic? If so, I'd check the return ductwork for leaks -- they could cause you to pull in dirty air.
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Julie wrote:

It's coming from you & the pooch, spiders(& their prey), & the window A/C installations.
Have your ducts cleaned, get an electrostatic filter for your central HVAC & run it. Get a digital setback thermostat for your HVAC.
Open the windows & meet the neighbors. Get the dog out for a walk & meet the neighbors. Take a Claritan.
Rob
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trainfan1 wrote:

I put the window A/C in because of the dust. The window A/C's hasn't exacerbated the dust problem.

We had an electrostatic filter for our previous house but there's no way to install one with these units.

I have yet to see a person where I am in the deep south open the windows when it's over 100 degrees in the shade with dripping wet humidity or during spring when the pollen puts a thick coat onto everything.
>

I don't well with those drugs. That's why I've put so much money (e.g. putting down hardwood floors throughout) and time into eliminating the sources of the dust problem.

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any better. They have poor filtration, if any, (most are just a layer of foam) and are sucking the outside dust into the house as bad or worse than the central air. (I find it hard to believe that multiple window units burn less juice than a typical 10 year old central air unit, unless you only run the one in the room you happen to be in). None of the portable air cleaners you described will do much good, and most (as you found) are simply snake oil. But they do keep the air stirred up, which keeps redistributing whatever point sources of dust you have, like the dog.
Yeah, I am hearing traces of compulsive behavior in the history you relate. Is the dust setting your allergies off, or does it just make you feel like the place isn't clean? If the latter, you need to learn to let go a little. (I note that people with kids almost always lose their compulsive cleaning habits- they simply have no time, and have more important things to worry about.) Cashflow doesn't appear to be a problem, so I would hire an abatement company to come in and test the place- take swabs and air samples, and all that happy stuff, and determine exactly what the dust is. I'd also have that company or a full-service insulation company do a blower door test on you house to find where the outside air leaks are, for the outside air to be coming in. I suspect that some minor tweaks to the weatherstripping and/or attic sealing, and a real air filter on the furnace, will get the house as clean as it is going to get. Sorry to say, but if you suffer from allergies (as do I), house animals simply do not work. The dog has to move outside. Hey, you are in the south- it'll live. Plenty of shade and water, and maybe a short haircut every spring. (Or build a shed with a doggie door, and put one of the window a/c boxes on that.) Being in the south, can I assume there is no basement? If house is a slab, and that was not finished or sealed correctly, it will produce dust forever (same is true for basement floors, but those are usually well-finished.) If there is a crawlspace, is there a good layer of plastic over the dirt, and are all the openings in ductwork that runs through the space well-sealed?
Please don't take any of the above as a flame, especially if you suffer from allergies. I have them bad, and it has affected who I can visit, and how long I can stay there. So I do understand the urge to control the environment. It took me years to lock in what my allergy triggers were, and make the changes needed to at least make things livable. I found that cleaning TOO often actually made things worse, by spiking the airborne allergens.
aem sends....
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Re: Where is all the dust coming from?:

Try one of these
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_03285264000P?vName=Appliances&cName=Small+Home+Appliances
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Julie wrote:

If you don't have a filter in your central A/C, this may be part of your problem too. If there's a filter, you can order an electrostatic one to fit the existing cut-out.
How about humidity? Where/how do you maintain it?
Rob
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