With the chilly weather here once again, and threatening to only get colder. Whether you’ve already taken the plunge and stuck the central heating on or you're one of those “No, we won’t feel the benefit in November if we turn it on now!” types you are probably looking into ways to make your home warmer before winter. If you’ve done all of the obvious things such as installed double glazing, checked your central heating’s working properly and installed insulation you may have run out of ideas outside of stocking up on woolly jumpers.
A fast and cost effective home improvement, which you may have not considered, is installing a carpet. Carpets have both insulating and sound dampening properties which makes them ideal for landings, staircases, bedrooms and living rooms.
While many of us do prefer exposed floorboards, stone flagging or ceramic tiles in our homes. Carpets come in such a diverse range of aesthetics and materials, that if you are serious about increasing your home’s heat efficiency it may be worth looking into what carpets are available, as you may find a product that’s perfect for your home.
Natural or synthetic fibre
When selecting a carpet you’ll find they are typically grouped into natural or manmade fibres, although as with clothing you can purchase hybrids of the two, e.g. a carpet composed of 80% wool 20% nylon.
As a general rule, wool carpets are the most expensive type you’ll find. However, wool does have many advantages over other materials, in addition to being a natural and sustainable material, wool carpets are deeper and richer in colour, offer the best heat and sound insulation, are naturally fire-resistant and have extremely strong life spans — so long in fact, that some people see them as investments that will save them money in the longer run. It’s robust and easy to clean making it a great choice for both low and high traffic areas.
Sisal, a textile derived from a type of succulent plant grown in South America, makes strong, modern looking carpets with a characteristic appearance. Unfortunately it is prone to water damage, so is not the best choice for places such as entrance halls, where it is likely that wet shoes will be stomping over.
On the manmade fibre side of things, polypropylene is the most commonly used material, it’s inexpensive, hardwearing and easy to clean, so as with wool can be used in most rooms of the home. It’s not as insulating as wool, nor does it feel or look quite as luxurious. It is however a great choice for homes with young children or lots of pets, as for particularly bad stains you can use a thin bleach on the material without worry.
Another artificial option is nylon, which shares may of the same properties as polypropylene, but is more resistant to flattening over time, making it a better choice for high traffic areas.
Things to remember when purchasing a carpet
You should view carpet as an investment, spending more on a better quality product and spending a little on maintaining the carpet will ensure a vastly longer lifespan of the carpet, saving you money in the long run both from your energy bills and replacement costs.
Although it can be tempting to go for a particular trend of the month when buying acarpet, or opting for one with a very current pattern on it, it is better to go for a carpet with a classic, timeless aesthetic — as a carpet that could be considered very trendy at the moment, may look incredibly dated in about 15 years time.
Throughout the early 2000s there was somewhat of a backlash against carpets, which had historically always been popular. As people started to believe they aggravated symptoms in asthma and eczema sufferers. However, a 2005 study from the German Asthma and Allergy Society found, that fitted carpets actually reduce the amount of airborne allergen particles in the air, suggesting that with proper carpet cleaning, it could even improve air quality.