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Bobbie

Gray powdery substance blowing out of my HVAC registers

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HELP!!!!

I bought my home in 2004 and did some renovations. After the renovations, I had my ductwork cleaned. After 4 or 5 years, I started noticing a fine gray powdery substance collecting on my furniture. When I vacuumed the powder collected heavily in my vacuum canister. I collected a sample and had it tested in a lab. The results were cellulose, hair, skin and bug parts (very disturbing since I’m extra clean and have rarely seen a bug in my house in the 16 years I’ve lived here!).  But I was glad to know no asbestos!  
Someone told me it was probably the backing breaking down in my carpet, although the problem started when my carpet was about 5 years old!  However, I removed the carpet and installed wood floors. 
I’ve spoken with several HVAC experts, contractors, ductwork contractors, and oriole in general and no one can explain it!  My brother, who has owned an HVAC company for 50 years hasn’t been able to help. He doesn’t do ductwork, so recently I contacted a company who does and they couldn’t explain it either. They said I didn’t need new ductwork and recommended a new furnace and AC with air purifier system. They also tested the air quality of the air inside my home and said it was excellent!!  
My brother says I don’t need new furnace and AC. 
I just want to know where the gray powder is coming from and how to stop it!!  It’s impossible to keep it cleaned up. I have turned off my heat and refuse to turn it back on until this problem is solved, and it gets pretty cold here ( 25 tonight)! 

Im currently seeing a pulmonary specialists trying to determine why I’my hoarse and have problem breathing.  After many tests, no answer!!  Just like the gray powder!!  
I need some answers!!!

Thank you, Bobbie
 

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You say 'gray powder' but the lab identified hair in it and hair isn't a powder.

Vacuum your house more often and install a micron filter in your AC return air grille.  In between vacuuming, enjoy your house, it's a lot cleaner than mine. I'm an AC guy too and I'm not sick.

Edited by Marc

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Marc, I took the sample out of my vacuum cleaner bag, therefore whatever was in my carpet ended up in the sample.  Most of the stuff in the vacuum canister was the gray powder. There was some normal dust and hair, etc, although I was careful to not get hair And dust with the sample. I guess the hair was microscopic.  I keep my house very clean and have very little dust —just the powder!  I‘m single and live alone and don’t generate a lot of dust. 
I can dust one day and the next day my furniture is covered with the powder. I replaced my filters 2 months ago.  Last night I removed them and tapped them firmly on the dark HW floor and there was not even a speck of the powder on the floor!  So, it appears that the powder is not being sucked up in the cold air return. In fact the dust is heavy and doesn’t float around in the air. It settles on furniture, floors, etc. As I mentioned when my air quality was checked, it registered in the green. 
This is a mystery and no one in the trade seems to know the answer. 

I’m hoping that someone else will see this and know what it is!!!! 
I don’t want to sell my house, but I can’t continue living like this.

I’ve been a Realtor for 40 years and have never seen anything like this!!! 
 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Bobbie said:

I collected a sample and had it tested in a lab. The results were cellulose, hair, skin and bug parts (very disturbing since I’m extra clean and have rarely seen a bug in my house in the 16 years I’ve lived here!).

That's pretty much what everyone has in the dust in their houses. The bug parts are probably mites, which are in everyone's house. (Put your pillow under a microscope if you really want to be grossed out.) 

1 hour ago, Bobbie said:

I can dust one day and the next day my furniture is covered with the powder. I replaced my filters 2 months ago.  Last night I removed them and tapped them firmly on the dark HW floor and there was not even a speck of the powder on the floor!  So, it appears that the powder is not being sucked up in the cold air return. In fact the dust is heavy and doesn’t float around in the air. It settles on furniture, floors, etc.

Is there any construction work going on in your neighborhood? I live in a rural area, and when my neighbor harvests his wheat, dust from the combine gets all over the place inside my house. Impurities in the outdoor air readily enter houses, and a furnace filter only catches a tiny (really tiny) percentage of it - even if you have the blower running 24/7. Is anyone near you doing excavating work, grinding concrete, building a freeway? 

7 hours ago, Bobbie said:

Im currently seeing a pulmonary specialists trying to determine why I’my hoarse and have problem breathing.  After many tests, no answer!!

That's just because you're a hypochondriac. . . 

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No construction work in my area. This accumulation of gray powdery substance blowing from my ductwork has been going on for several years.  
I’m very much aware of mites and know that they’re very much a part of our lives. I wash my bed linens, including pillows and mattress covers once a week and also vacuum my mattress.  
 

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Secure a hepa filter over the register nearest to your furnace. After a week or two, take the filter to your lab and have them test that. 

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If you really want to know what it is, I suggest hiring someone who actually knows how to collect samples. Look for an EPA certified Lead Dust Sampling Technician. Not suggesting that you have lead, rather that you need a collection protocol more reliable than picking bits out of your vacuum. 

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Yeah,

Well, duct cleaning doesn't get it all - especially if you've got any wound-wire flexible return or supply ducts. During construction and renovations most contractors in my area don't even bother to cover up duct openings after the HVAC is installed. Consequently, sawdust, drywall dust, dirt and everything else ends up in those ducts when the site's do-it-all gofer sweeps the floors before the floor coverings are installed. Even professional duct-cleaning firms can't always get all of that crap out unless someone goes into attics and crawlspaces and physically shakes those flexible ducts during the process to dislodge all that crap lying in the bottom of those flexible ducts - especially that heavy drywall dust - and get it airborne so that it will be sucked out to the truck with the rest of it.

It's possible to purchase reusable filter media that can be cut-to-size/shape and installed under the registers to capture most of that . You can periodically remove the material, rinse the schmutz out of it and reinstall it. You just have to be sure not to overdue it, because covering those air outlets with too heavy/restrictive a filter media will affect the systems balance and in some cases cause performance issues with the furnace. 

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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