Dust or dirt causes most marks on carpets, and will wash out quite easily. Staining caused by carbon soot can come from inside or outside the house and often permanently marks the carpet. |
Soot staining on carpets is permanent, dark staining near baseboards, air registers, under doorways and in other areas where moving air may filter throughout rug fibres. Two factors cause soot staining: a source of carbon soot, and air movement causing carbon particles to move through the carpet. Carbon soot sources
Carbon soot is particulate matter — it is made up of very small particles.
Research shows that houses near exhaust from vehicles, trains or airplanes can be affected by carbon soot stains. Leaky furnaces, gas ranges, fireplaces and cigarette smoke can also cause carbon soot stains.
However, recent studies show that a common cause of carbon soot stains is the use of candles in the house.
Some candles — particularly those made of low-quality paraffin wax and those using oils for scent — produce more soot than others.
Wick length and the amount of oxygen a candle gets can also cause overproduction of carbon soot.
To find out if a candle produces carbon soot, burn it on top of a turned-on television. After several hours, wipe the screen with a clean, white cloth or tissue. If there is soot on the cloth, switch to another make of candle.
Several candle manufacturers print warning labels about carbon soot on their packages. Air movement
Carpets act as filters for airborne particles. For example, if a bedroom door is usually kept closed, positive pressure caused by the supply register blowing air into the room will force the air underneath the door. As the air moves underneath the door, the carpet fibres trap the particles. Over time, the carpeting begins to darken. Staining can become quite noticeable, especially in light-coloured carpeting. How to avoid the problem
Prevention is the best way to reduce or avoid soot staining.
* avoid light-coloured carpet, * keep soot sources out of the house — choose your candles wisely, * prevent pollutants from entering the house, * prevent air from passing through the carpet.
Keeping soot from entering your house requires a fairly complicated ventilation system. Preventing air from moving in your carpet requires some thought, good design and quality construction.
Air movement in a house requires a pressure difference and an opening. Air can not pass through a carpet if the floor underneath is continuous. It will move where there are cracks and discontinuities, which can occur at the floor-wall junction, stairs, near registers or where the subfloor panels join. A continuous air barrier (such as plastic sheeting or sealed subfloor) will prevent air moving through carpet.
A tightly built house, with few or no air leaks, will not have air leaking into the house through exterior walls.
But rooms with supply ducts and no returns could have a problem if the doors are kept closed. Unsealed duct runs, or return air ducts that use the floor joists, are apt to cause pressure differences.
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