Is My HVAC System Causing Black Lines on My Carpet?

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Over time when living in a new home or newly carpeted home, some may notice black lines/areas forming around the perimeter of carpeted rooms. The black lines on the edge of your carpet are a result of filtration soil.

How Your HVAC System Plays a Role in Filtration Soil:

The general rule is, warm air moves up and cool air drops down.

The circulation of air in your home causes the carpet to act like a filter. Your carpet traps small airborne dirt, dust, oil, and carbon (pollutants) between the wall and carpet under doorways. One fact is that warm air likes cool surfaces, meaning that as air is warmed (typically while the furnace is running) the air goes up and searches out cooler surfaces. As the air moves to the cooler area, it will push its way through carpeted surfaces to “clean itself” from the pollutants.

How Can You Prevent Filtration Soil Through Your HVAC System?

Filtration soil lines are found in many homes. While, vacuuming your carpets often may assist you a slight bit, it may not be very effective in this situation as vacuums aren’t too successful when cleaning the edge of carpets. You have a better chance of avoiding these lines by making sure that the air in your home is clean. You can do so by cleaning or replacing your HVAC unit’s air filter in a timely manner. A suggested time to change your filter is when seasons are changing.  Not only does replacing your air filter keep the air in your home clean, it also makes your HVAC unit more efficient. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “the most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters.”

To learn more about the importance of changing your air filters and how to change them, check out the following links:

Suggestions for Cleaning Filtration Lines:

Start out with your standard carpet cleaning protocol.  If that isn’t effective you may need to be more aggressive, but be careful not to use too much force or too many chemicals. Doing so may harm the carpet or baseboard/wall.

  1. Start out with a mild cleaning solution or solvent.
  2. While cleaning, protect the wall/baseboard with a spare/scrap piece of wood, plastic, or cardboard.
  3. Aggressively work in the solution, as much as you can, with a small brush.
  4. As debris starts to come to the surface, blot it up with a towel.
  5. Rinse with clean, clear water.
  6. Repeat as needed until there is no more debris.

Because this filtration soil is not just on the surface, but goes deep into the carpet, it is recommended to contact a professional carpet cleaner if the steps above do not help.

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