Did some renovations? Updated your bathroom or kitchen? Congratulations! But should you worry about dangers of construction dust now?
Often, our homes are filled with dust. Dust is made up of very small solid particles, is widely spread, and can move around in the air with ease. The term “fine dust” or “particulate matter” refers to dust particles that are smaller than 10 microns. Coarse dust is defined as any particle that is larger than 10 microns. Certain chemicals found in dust are associated with various diseases, including birth defects, immune and reproductive system dysfunction, cancer, increased vulnerability to illness, and neurological harm.
Dangers of Construction Dust
Construction Dust Types
- Wood Dust
- Silica Dust
- Non-Silica Dust
When working mostly with hardwood and softwood, this kind of dust will appear. The greatest danger of inhaling wood dust is among carpenters.
When granite, sand, or sandstone are cut, drilled, ground, or sandblasted, silica dust occurs. Silica dust is a naturally occurring mineral and can be found in mortar, cement, and other common building supplies. This type of dust is the most hazardous kind of all.
There is less risk in some construction projects because silica is absent or just present in minute amounts. This form of dust can be found in limestone, dolomite, marble, cement, and gypsum (plasterboard). At the time of cutting bricks, non-silica dust is frequently discovered. You should nevertheless take precautions because non-silica dust can still be dangerous to human health.
Silica Dust: A Threat to Human Lungs
Silica particles found in dust may cause short-term and even long-term respiratory problems if inhaled. It produces swelling (inflammation) in the lungs and, over time, results in sections of lung tissue that are damaged and hardened (fibrosis). Such damage impairs the functionality of lung tissue.
Is the Silica Dust in My Home a Problem?
Construction Dust Hazards in the Home
- Health Issues
- Mold Growth
- Ineffective HVAC System
Dust sensitivity is common among people because it disturbs the respiratory tract. Sneezing and other respiratory pains are brought on by this. Dust allergens, which include pollen, dander, mold spores, and dust mite waste products, can cause allergic reactions in people. These allergies trigger a histamine reaction that can be mild to severe.
In the worst cases, if people inhale silica dust particles, they can face severe respiratory issues that can be fatal.
Wheezing, asthma episodes, bronchial infections, eczema, and other allergy-related issues can be brought on by dust allergies. Construction dust contains many compounds that are quite harmful and can disrupt the natural biological processes of the human body. Moreover, these chemicals can cause cancer and other respiratory illnesses.
The air inside becomes extremely polluted and poisoned by construction debris. While operating, your air conditioner draws this tainted air inside. Debris and dirt end up settling in your air duct as a result. Your air conditioner blows the same stale air into the air. The inhabitants may get severe asthma or other respiratory problems as a result of breathing this airborne particulate pollution.
Another important factor that adds up to the risks posed by construction dust in a home is mold growth. When construction materials are left in ducts, moisture can condense or collect, which encourages mold growth. Mold in your air conditioner can harm your system and provide many health risks. Spores are released by the mold that is growing within your air duct. Human consumption of such spores is the issue. According to the CDC, mold can cause eye discomfort, sore throats, coughing or wheezing, nasal congestion, and, in some cases, skin irritation. People who are allergic to mold may experience more severe problems.
Dust can enter your HVAC system even if there is a filter in place, usually through your ductwork. Dust accumulation in HVAC parts can lead to maintenance problems and possibly reduce the lifespan of your system.
Clogged air ducts may have an effect on your HVAC system's performance and durability. When there is a lot of construction dust trapped inside the ducts, the airflow could be hampered.
How to Clean Construction Dust from Your Home
- Examine and Replace the Air Filters
- Scrub Rough Surfaces
- Baseboards and Ledges
Ventilate the room by opening a window with a fan set at high speed and allowing the air to flow out. Along with ventilation during the renovation itself, you should leave your windows and doors open for a few days after the renovation is over. This will allow toxins from varnish and paint that are drying to vent.
Use the end of the vacuum hose to collect the construction dust. Use a soft brush attachment for cleaning the floor, as the floor can easily get scratches, so you have to be kind to your floor. To prevent stirring up dust and walking over it, begin from the doorway. In order to prevent floor scratches while cleaning, start at the edge of the room. This is crucial for flooring materials that are susceptible to scratches.
Dust and dirt flecks can all too easily become lodged in draperies, upholstered furniture, and carpeted surfaces. If construction dust remains inside the house for an extended period of time after construction, it may cause itching and other unpleasant reactions in friends, relatives, or visitors.
Be sure to vacuum all soft surfaces carefully. Each furniture cushion, as well as the frames beneath them, should be taken out and vacuumed. If you notice any lingering dust after the initial round of vacuuming, try vacuuming again.
Examine and change the air filters. This will stop dust from spreading to other parts of your home by trapping it before it gets into the air ducts. Regularly inspect the filters and swap them out as necessary.
You might wish to switch every week while construction is underway. After the construction is finished, replace it once again.
Additionally, any caught dust that has been gathered in the filters will be eliminated as a result. Maintaining your home's filters regularly will keep your family and you safe.
Surface cleaning should always be done from top to bottom. Beginning with cleaning the dust from your walls because, during construction, dust can accumulate on your walls. When dusting, it is best to use a dry cloth as it will remove the particles without damaging the wall's surface. However, you may use a damp cloth, but before doing that, check whether your wall paint is waterproof or not. Before applying any moisture, check the paint or wallpaper and do a small test. Your next cleaning surfaces should be cabinets and molding, as these are the other two common dust spots.
All cabinet shelves should be thoroughly cleaned from the inside, paying close attention to any difficult-to-reach places. Before confronting the dirt and trash that is on or close to the floor, wipe out countertops and any other flat surfaces. Next, remove any apparent dust by sweeping and mopping your hard floors.
Use used dryer sheets to make ledges and baseboard dust collectors. Simply use a dryer sheet to clean the ledges and baseboards before disposing of them.
Even after your renovation is complete, keep wiping down the baseboards and ledges because they are one of the main areas where construction dust tends to accumulate.
Construction Dust and Air Duct Cleaning
Precautionary Measures for Construction Work at Home
- Set The Work Area Apart
- Cover Your Furnishings and Other Finishes
- Protect the Ducts
- Daily Cleanup
Keep the dust from spreading to sections that aren't being renovated. It's not always possible to keep something contained in one area by just closing the door. If you are remodeling an open staircase or kitchen, there is a good probability that the dust will get everywhere. Plastic dust barriers are available; you just need to connect them to the walls to isolate the room. This way, dust will be contained to the work area. Make sure there is only one entrance to the construction site. Request the construction team to do the hardcore construction procedures that mainly produce dust outside your home.
To stop dust from attaching to fibers and other surfaces, cover furniture and vertical surfaces with plastic sheeting. Cling film works by attracting dust to its surfaces, helping to remove it from the air. To help with your attempts to reduce dust, use a dust-free surface protector on the floor.
The tiny dust particles can get inside all kinds of tiny cracks, where they can settle and pollute the air for a long time. By sealing the return ducts, you can stop them from entering the HVAC system's, thus preventing them from dispersing throughout the house. A well-covered house vent will prevent your furnace filter from clogging and the house's airflow from being restricted.
Even though it may seem boring, spending a little amount of time at the end of each day can help you keep track of the dust and debris and keep the air in the workspace clean. Make sure surfaces are clean and dust is picked up using a broom, vacuum cleaner, feather duster, and microfiber cloth. As a result, there will be less dust after the job is finished.
Techniques to Control the Amount of Dust
- Regular Dusting
- Usage of the HVAC Filtration System
- Vacuum Your Home
The more often you dust, the less likely you are to make the problem worse. The aim should be to prevent buildup because trying to wipe a surface that’s already filled with heavy dust will merely force more airborne particles into the air during the cleaning process.
You can use an HVAC filtering system to prevent dust from building up. Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters are good for collecting dust and mites. HEPA air purifiers can be useful to capture more dust and allergens throughout the day.
The best way to maintain a clean home is to routinely vacuum, wipe down surfaces, and wash bedding and blankets. Make sure to vacuum your furniture and upholstery too.