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Grey dust all over Apt.

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  • 30-03-2023 5:59am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 11


    Would anyone know what is causing grey dust which is all over the apt? We clean it up every day and its back again the next day. We have tried everything to try to find the source. We had thought it was coming in from outside, but, after blocking all vents etc. the problem persists. It is very excessive, about a side plate full in every room. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks



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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 46,098 ✭✭✭✭muffler


    Have there been any construction works carried out recently to your apartment or neighbouring apartments? How old is it and what type of floors - timber or concrete?



  • Registered Users Posts: 68,848 ✭✭✭✭FrancieBrady


    Persistent dust like this (if there are no issues like Muffler asks about) is usually down to problems with airflow I would have thought.

    There is dust present in the air, keeping it moving on is what you need to ensure.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,139 ✭✭✭10-10-20


    Can you photograph this dust in-situ on the surfaces and also after it has been collected? We'll see if we can identify it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,793 ✭✭✭The Continental Op


    OP I assume you don't have any form of solid fuel heating or a system recirculating air?

    Wake me up when it's all over.



  • Registered Users Posts: 11 mdbur9




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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,793 ✭✭✭The Continental Op


    Wow that is a lot of dust. Nothing compared to our house which has cats, massive dogs, people that wear wellies around the house and soild fuel fires. That said our dust is composed of pet hair, dirt from outside and fine dust from burning coal and wood. All of which is very identifiable. The dirt you have makes me think you exfoliate a lot and have a plague of dust mites both of which I very much doubt. So wtf is that you are brushing up?

    Are the walls painted? If so with what? Its almost like you have dusty plaster walls that are creating that or chalk paint that is going back to chalk dust?

    Wake me up when it's all over.



  • Registered Users Posts: 11 mdbur9


    Yeah, nobody seems able to answer WHAT it is. We moved here over a year ago and have had this problem since. The walls were already painted when we moved in, so, don't know what type of paint it is. Have no idea what to do about it, as I said, we sweep floors and wipe down surfaces only to have it all back the next day!! Sick to the teeth of this now.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,793 ✭✭✭The Continental Op


    First thing I'd do next time you get a sample is to put it on a non combustible surface and put a flame to it. Does it burn and is there a smell from the burning? If it is due to dust mites then I suspect it will burn. Dust from say plasterboard won't do anything.

    I'd also take a look at it under a microscope - even a kids one if available.

    Also put some vinegar on a sample if its lime based like plasterboard dust it should fizz and bubble a bit.

    What I am saying is if you can determine what it is you have a better idea of where to look where it is coming from.

    I'd also want an analysis because you are breathing that all the time and I'd want to know it wasn't detrimental to my health.

    Wake me up when it's all over.



  • Registered Users Posts: 11 mdbur9


    Thank you so much Continental for getting back. I am worried about the health effects of this. I will try all those things. Regarding the analyses, would you know anywhere in Ireland where I can get this dust tested to see what it is. Again, thank you so much.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,734 ✭✭✭tnegun


    Do you tumble dry clothes in the apartment? It almost looks like some of the fine dust I get out of the bottom of our dryer/in our utility room.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 11 mdbur9


    This happens without any drying. It's there every day. We clean it up and it's back again the next day. We closed and taped all vents etc in order to see if it was coming in from outside, it wasn't. Then we caulked the bottom of the walls, as someone thought it was cellulose, but, it still continued. We have ruled out everything we can think of, without success.



  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭niallpatrick


    I'd say cellulose wasn't far off, it looks like finely chewed up desiccated paper. All windows and vents shut/taped it's on the floor then it has to be from inside and caused by external vibration. Traffic or nearby low frequency loud noises, even a nightclub.



  • Registered Users Posts: 11 mdbur9


    But, we cannot find source. We taped all plug outlets, every opening where it could come from there is no way it can get in.



  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭niallpatrick


    It could be 'deafening' deafening was used in old buildings pre RSJ and one piece concrete slabs dropped in by a crane. Deafening was usually gravel spread between floor cavities to deafen thuds and general noise from above in multi occupancy housing. It is possible somehow in some way that dust is being shaken loose from 'deafening' below the op's flooring. Deafening doesn't have to be just gravel, it could be old newspaper and gravel or even wood shavings.


    Over the years if it is such a building pre-rsj and slabs, the heavier ballast would act as a grinder shaking loose the lighter materials to the top, the same as cream on a pint of milk



  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭niallpatrick


    No way it can get in? think again. No offense OP thats a common over sight by landlords. All bases covered yep all good except they didn't spend a single night in the place they were renting out as a 'home'.



  • Registered Users Posts: 11 mdbur9


    The development was build in 2003. If it is 'deafening', how is this coming through to our apt. It is a two story building (the red brick type). Our apt is below street level at the front, with 6 steps leading down, the road slopes downwards to the side of our apt. There is an outside steps leading to the townhouse over ours. Both apts. are independently accessed with no apparent way that any 'gravel' etc could come down into ours. Do you think/ mean it could be coming up from under our floor somehow? Thank you for your help.



  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭niallpatrick


    Built in 2003 but it's below street level, is it a Georgian basement apartment with flats above? if it is then it's dust from above. Traffic the hustle and bustle of urban life. Traffic shaking loose whatever is above your ceiling and up aboves flooring.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,139 ✭✭✭10-10-20


    This dust; it's light, fluffy and forms peaks. It's not trailing like ash would, it's not a dense product of gypsum and isn't a clothing residue/dust.

    It's floculating like a celulose would. Celulose is wood/paper and cellulose is often a grey/white material, especially if derived from paper mulch. Celulose burns readily, but treated celulose (with bauxite as a flame suppressant) does not.

    Collect a sample and burn a small amount, let it smoulder. Does it have a 'paper-like' acrid aroma?

    Yep, thinking the same. Wonder if its coming from the ceiling where the light fittings are. That stuff can blow around if the attic space is overly open or being disturbed.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,793 ✭✭✭The Continental Op


    OP, try a Air Filter/Purifier and see if that catches much of the dust while its still airborne. If you do then with that amount of dust I'd vacuum the filter off once a day. We have them to improve air quality to remove mould spores and they work well but have no effect on our dust because the amount you have wouldn't even get noticed in our house.

    You have to be aware that you can buy these things and then find that the manufacturer stops making them and you can't get the filters anymore (happened to us twice) so I'd no longer recommend getting an expensive unit. This looks decent for the money https://www.amazon.co.uk/Homvana-Indicator-Exclusive-SilentAir-Allergies/ note if there is a lot of dust in the air this type of unit with a air quality sensor will run at full power for a lot of the time. We had one with a similar sensor and used to switch it to manual at a low speed which reduces the noise it makes and power consumption. If it helps then get a years supply of air filters while they are available. For dust like yours regularly vacuumed off a filter will with care last at least 6 months. The air quality sensor might however give you some idea of when the air is full of dust and if there is anything triggering it like traffic outside. For example ours used to fire up every time our dogs walked past it.

    Wake me up when it's all over.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,468 ✭✭✭Markcheese


    I'd be intrigued to know what insulation was used in the house when it was refurbed ,

    Sealing around light fittings, and possibly around switches / plugs could be a good start ,

    I bet you'll find the more you look the More you'll find covered up ,

    Slava ukraini 🇺🇦



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  • Registered Users Posts: 199 ✭✭Granolite


    I would suggest looking into the downlight fittings area also (Assuming these are installed in your apartment and you have loft insulation overlying the ceiling).

    When I moved into my new house we observed similar fine dust settling in the main bathroom (only room in house with downlighting) in the house. i repeatedly hoovered up the stuff but within a few days to a week it would build up again. I never really suspected it was coming out of the attic until we installed hats over the downlight fittings inside the attic space. These hats enclose the light fittings and block off contact with the mineral wool layered attic insulation. Once the hats went in we stopped seeing the build up of this fine dust on all of our bathroom surfaces.


    Even if you don't have downlights fitted check for any other possible openings/gaps into a similar mineral wool laden space - attic, underfloor, wall cavity insulation?

    5.6kWp - SW (220 degrees) - North Sligo



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,846 ✭✭✭passatman86


    Do your neighbours have the same problem



  • Registered Users Posts: 509 ✭✭✭HazeDoll


    This is a very good question. Ask other people in the building if they have a similar build-up of dust.

    Does it appear on all surfaces, or just the floor? For example, is it collecting on top of ceiling light shades or the top shelf of bookshelves?

    The dust looks 'fluffy' and fibrous. Could it be fibers from some sort of underlay that are forced upwards when you walk around your apartment?



  • Registered Users Posts: 11 mdbur9


    Thank you all who are trying to help. I have read all your suggestions. I have summarized all the things which we have done since we moved in here to try to find the source of this dust. It has been a problem, which, for over a year we have been trying to solve. We have asked neighbours, but they say they don't have this. As suggested, we have burned some of this dust, the results we got were..... it did not go up in flames, instead the top burned and turned brown and on burning again it turned black. There was no particular smell except 'burning'.

    Would anyone know what is causing grey dust which is all over the apt? We clean it up every day and its back again the next day. We have tried everything to try to find the source. We had thought it was coming in from outside, but, after blocking all vents etc. the problem persists. It is very excessive, about a side plate full in every room. Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

    The development was build in 2003. It is away from the main road with a green in front. It is a two story building (the red brick type). There is an outside steps leading to the townhouse over ours. Both apts. are independently accessed with no apparent way that any 'gravel' etc could come down into ours.

    We cannot find the source. We tried taping all plugs, light fittings and vents, every opening where it could come from,but, it's still there. So, the dust problem is originating from inside.

    It's there every day. We clean it up and it's back again the next day. We closed and taped all vents etc in order to see if it was coming in from outside, it wasn't. Then we caulked the bottom of the walls under the skirting boards, to see if it was originating from the townhouse above us, as someone thought it was , but, it still continued. We have ruled out everything we can think of, without success.

    Would someone know anywhere I can get this dust tested to see what it is. 

    Nobody seems able to answer WHAT it is. We moved here over a year ago and have had this problem since. The walls were already painted when we moved in, so, don't know what type of paint it is. Have no idea what to do about it, as I said, we sweep floors and wipe down surfaces only to have it all back the next day!.

    We are worried about what this is doing to our health.

    We have noticed a 'mouldy' smell coming from behind cabinets in kitchen, someone suggested to us, that this could be 'mould dust' spreading from this and blowing around the apt.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thank you all.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,793 ✭✭✭The Continental Op


    I'm thinking this is cellulose from cellulose insulation. Its treated with boric acid which stops it from burning and creates a charred surface which helps stop it burning.

    Wake me up when it's all over.



  • Registered Users Posts: 11 mdbur9



    Thank you so much for getting back to me. Can you please tell me how you think this cellulose could be coming into my apartment, as I have sealed off every entry point that I can think off, to sort this problem, but to no avail.



  • Registered Users Posts: 11,788 ✭✭✭✭BattleCorp


    If you've loads of money you could hire an occupational hygiene consultant such as to survey your house. They'll identify the dust but you'll pay a pretty penny.

    www.wes.ie



  • Registered Users Posts: 11 mdbur9


    Thank you, but I'm afraid a lot of money is not an option. That's why I'm hoping to get answers here



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,793 ✭✭✭The Continental Op


    I really don't know how to explain it except to say that fine particles will find their way through any gap. If you have old or poorly installed cellulose insulation every air movement will disturb it and it will probably sit in the air for a long time before you see it as "dust". You are breathing and still alive therefore fresh air mush be moving around the house and I suspect this dust is moving with it.

    An air filter might give you some handle on how much you have floating in the air.

    Wake me up when it's all over.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,139 ✭✭✭10-10-20


    I don't think we're fully confident that it's cellulose yet though.


    OP, Do you have downlighters in the ceiling? Where does the accumulate the most and in what parts of the app does it not accumulate? Does it collect high-up or only low down? Do you see dust in the air at all?



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