Black Lines along the Edge of My Carpets…Recently a customer asked me “Does my furnace cause the black lines on the edge of my carpets?” The ugly black lines along the wall on your carpet are Filtration Soil. Filtration Soiling occurs as air being forced into the room a higher rate than it can escape from the same area through the ventilation system. The air then seeks alternative escape routes, being the gap between the carpet and the wall trim.
Long story short, a dirty furnace filter contributes to the black edge of your carpet along with other negative home issues. Here is an article from Mary Hunt that dives into the problem of Filtration Soil and dirty furnace filters, how to remove Filtration Soil and ways to prevent Filtration Soil.
Black Lines along the Edge of My Carpets
The Problem of High-energy Bills. When the heat, ventilation or air conditioning is running, 100 percent of the air in your home passes through a filter, typically twice every hour. When the filter is clean, the air passes through easily. When the filter gets clogged up with all the stuff it’s filtering out, the system has to work harder to keep the air moving. The dirtier the filter, the less efficient the system. According to the Department of Energy regular filter changes can cut 5 percent to 10 percent off your energy bill.
Family Health. A quality filter captures the harmful bacteria typically found in sneezes, coughs, viruses and molds, as well as pollutants like dust and car fumes. If you have allergies or asthma, indoor air pollution can trigger your symptoms. Most people don’t realize that indoor air pollution levels are higher than outdoor levels — two to five times higher, according to Dr. Julie McNairn, allergist and immunologist in private practice in Middletown, Ohio. When particles become airborne, you can breathe them in and experience an allergic reaction. The HVAC system can harbor and spread mold and other allergens.
Grimy Carpet Stains. It’s called “Filtration Soiling,” and it shows up as dark, shadowy lines on the carpet, along the baseboard, under the doors, beneath the draperies, and along the edges and crevices of carpeted stairs. Filtration soil is as ugly as it is gross. It comes from airborne pollutants passing through the carpet as the air is drawn through the crack between the carpet and the baseboard, around the drapes or under closed doors. It’s an accumulation of soot from dirty ducts; smoke from candles and the fireplace; tobacco; kitchen grease from the oven and cooktop; smog, auto emissions; and outdoor pollutants. The air filter traps all of this stuff. Once the filter is full, the system will send the pollutants back into the house through the ducts, where the icky mess gets lodged into corners and crevices.
The Solution Change the filter(s) often. Check your filter every month, especially during months of heavy use (winter and summer). Keep in mind that some systems have multiple filters. Take some time to research your system to know exactly what you have. If the filter(s) look(s) dirty after a month, change them. Homes with pets and multiple occupants, or homes in regions with general air pollution may require more frequent changes. A clean furnace filter is one of the cheapest ways to prevent Black Lines along the Edge of My Carpet and save money in the process.
How to Remove Black Lines along the Edge of My Carpet
- Using the vacuum crevice tool, vigorously vacuum the areas suffering with filtration soil to remove any loose debris and dust from the crevices.
- Use a specific cleaning product for this kind of soil like Prochem Filter Out, specially formulated to remove filtration soil lines, soot and other electrically-charged particles. (About $17). Apply it undiluted so that it saturates the fibers in the stained areas. Allow to sit for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Scrub the lines of filtration soil with a good, strong brush that can get down into the crevices.
- Extract completely using hot water or All Fiber Rinse—not absolutely necessary, but an excellent product that will assure a good, clean rinse. (About $36). Use a wet dry vacuum to do this if you have one available, or blot well with a clean white cloth.
- Repeat as needed depending on the severity of the problem.
How to Prevent Black Lines along the Edge of My Carpet
- Have your air ducts cleaned professionally, ideally once a year.
- Change the filter(s) on your HVAC system once every three months without fail.
- Thoroughly clean the filter in the range hood, weekly.
- Use the range hood fan and vent every time you use the oven or cooktop. You want all of that smoke, cooking oil and airborne residue to leave the house immediately.
- Keep doors and windows closed if you live on a busy street or in an area with a lot of pollutants.
- Make your home a smoke-free zone. All smoking should be taken outdoors and away from open windows and doors.
- As lovely as candles and aromatherapy are, these contribute to a filtration soil problem. Switch to flameless LED candles, which create a lovely, realistic ambience. Some even have fragrance.
- If you use a fireplace make sure the system is clean and the pollutants it creates are being properly removed from the house. Clean the chimney and filter (if any) regularly as well as any filters.
Thanks to Mary Hunt for her research on the issue of Black Lines along the Edge of My Carpets.