Carpets contribute to better indoor air quality

A co-worker of mine recently told me about a radio program he listened to which declared that rooms with carpet installed actually have better indoor air quality than rooms with hard surfaces.

This prompted me to do a little research as I have always believed the opposite, this is what I have found.

What I have discovered is that indoor air quality is actually healthier in homes with carpets because carpet fibres act like filters which trap pollutants. When you walk on a carpet, allergens which are on the floor are not stirred up and thrown back into the air as they are on a hard surface floor.

Allergic reactions to dust and mould spores decreased in a carpeted room compared with other flooring surfaces. Asthma sufferers may benefit from the filtering properties of carpet if it is maintained.

Carpets have cleaned up their act and now claim to be the lowest emitter of fumes of almost any flooring product. They require fewer chemicals to clean than hard surface and have not contained formaldehyde since the 1980s.

The catch to this is that you must keep the carpet clean, regular vacuuming and regular professional steam cleaning is required to remove the allergens trapped in carpet fibres.

Since most carpet fibres are synthetic and non-porous, it is nearly impossible for mould to grow on carpet fibres. The mould growth typically occurs on the flooring beneath the carpet.

Indoor air quality is a hot topic in the design industry and clients are constantly asking us for products that will improve air quality in their homes. Here are a few points to consider:

When shopping for your home, look for products that are green friendly. Carpet Colour Centre is now carrying a full line of ‘Green Select’ carpets and pads – these products have significantly lower VOC emissions. Low emission paints are also available which provide less offensive smells and lower VOC (Volatile Organic Chemical) emanation.

When you have had new flooring installed or have painted, make sure to ventilate your home well, open windows and use fans to purge the air quickly.

Not only does off gassing irritate some people, the fibres floating in the air from new carpet can be bothersome.

Vacuum your carpet several times in the days immediately following installation; this will help pull loose fibres out of your new floor.

After a renovation, it is a good practice to have your ducting cleaned as they are probably holding dust and debris that waft back into your rooms when the furnace is turned on. This is also a good time to change your furnace filter.

Check out indoor friendly installation systems like our Healthier Living carpet installation which gives your carpet installation a fresh clean and bacteria free start.

Often a small change can make a significant difference in the feel of our homes, a fresh paint colour or new area carpet in a clean room may be the perfect face-lift for your home this summer.

A new layer of low VOC paint and a fresh clean carpet may lift your spirits and improve your air quality at the same time.

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext. 227 or email her at klewis@carpetcolourcentre.com.

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