Moldy Carpets Might Mean Poor Air Quality
LESLIE: Micki in South Carolina is having a flooring situation. What’s going on?MICKI: Yes, hi. Thanks for taking my call. I have a problem with the carpeting and several of my bedrooms; mostly on the outside walls where the carpet meets up with the molding.TOM: OK.MICKI: There is a black substance of some kind that is along that perimeter and sometimes, in different areas, it’ll come into the carpets about two, three inches. I have had this cleaned prior but it keeps coming back and I don’t know whether there’s an air gap that air is coming in or whether it’s a problem with mold.TOM: I suspect, Micki, that it’s not a problem with mold. I suspect what you’re seeing is dirt and it’s being deposited there because of the forces of convection. You have a cold exterior wall. You may have some windows about that. What happens is that the warm air in your house strikes that cold wall and then, as it’s chilled, it falls. And it tends to repeat that convective loop and, as it does so, it takes any dirt that’s in the air and deposits it on the wall; very frequently right above the carpet or right above the baseboard molding.What I would suggest you do is two things. First of all, a very good carpet cleaning; maybe shampoo the carpets. And secondly, I would look to the air filter system that you have inside your house. Do you have a forced air heating system? You have ducts? You have ducts? OK.MICKI: (overlapping voices) We have gas. We have ducts. We have gas.TOM: OK, what you should probably have on that system is an electronic air cleaner. They are very, very efficient and far more efficient than the fiberglass filters. And you will see a big difference in the amount of dirt and debris and dust that gets in the air of your house.MICKI: OK. Is there anyone that can come in and check the air to make sure that, you know, there’s not a problem with my air?TOM: Well, an HVAC contractor can do that and I would definitely think about installing a better air cleaner. Because most HVAC systems just have fiberglass filters.MICKI: Yes.TOM: You put an electronic air cleaner in, a really good-quality one – like Aprilaire makes a good one that was ranked tops by Consumer Reports for many years – and that’s going to make a big difference in the air quality in your house.MICKI: OK. Well, thanks for that help and I will definitely look into that and see what I can do about it.TOM: Good luck, Micki. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.