Carpet and Indoor Air Quality: The Research May Surprise You
You’ve likely heard that carpet is the worst type of flooring to have in your home if you suffer from asthma or allergies. This is a common misconception many people have. However, it has been shown with research that carpet may actually be the best flooring to minimize dust and allergens in your home.
Gravity causes common household particles, such as dust, pollen and pet dander to fall to the floor. Carpet traps these particles, removing them from the breathing zone and reducing their circulation in the air. Regular vacuuming effectively removes dust and allergens from the carpet and helps remove them from the air you breathe. Whereas, hardwood, vinyl and laminate floors do not have fibers to trap the dust and allergens. Therefore, even when they settle on the floor, they can still be redistributed into the air and thus your lungs.
Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer and a leading flooring provider, commissioned a series of scientific studies to show the correlation between carpet and indoor air quality. The studies were conducted by Airmid Healthgroup limited, a leading biomedical research organization that conducts health-based research. The data was presented at the 2012 annual meetings of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (AAAAI).
Studies were conducted by installing carpet in a stainless steel test chamber room. The room with the carpet was allowed to stabilize in the environment. Then a known amount of dust-containing allergens was introduced into the test chamber. Measurements were taken with sophisticated electronic equipment that has the capability to quantify the amount and size of the particles in the air. After the dust with allergens were introduced into the test room, the room was left with no disturbance for a period of time with measurements monitoring the time it took for the dust to settle out of the air.
Later, a person disturbed the test environment with the following methods: opening the door, walking around the room, sitting in a chair and bouncing a ball. Measurements were taken during and after each disturbance.
Results of Studies
The conclusion from the above test and measurements showed that carpet trapped allergens to a greater extent than hard surface floors, resulting in fewer particles escaping into the air. Allergens trapped by carpet did not return to the carpet’s surface or the air, even when the carpet was disturbed by walking or other activities.
In addition, further studies showed that vacuuming with a high efficiency filter and hot water extraction reduced both surface allergens and airborne particle counts, helping to maintain indoor air quality.
Other previous studies have been done that reinforced these findings. One study tested foot traffic over carpet and hard surface flooring. Following 16 minutes of foot traffic over both surfaces, the particulate concentration over the hard surface flooring was four times that of carpet.
If you suffer from asthma or allergies, don’t be scared away from having carpet in your home. You may actually find that carpet provides more relief of your symptoms as compared to a hard surface floor. The most important thing to remember for carpet or hard surface flooring, is to clean it regularly. This will eliminate excess dust and allergens from getting into the air.
If you are ready to get new carpet or flooring for your home or would like more information about the affects carpet has on indoor air quality, stop by our showroom in Hopkins or give us a call at 952-933-8944.