News of the energy-saving benefits of carpet is tempting many money-conscious homeowners to carpet their home, creating a shift away from the wood and laminate flooring that has been on trend in recent years. Although wooden flooring provides a sleek aesthetic favored in modern homes, the bare boards are undeniably cold and hard under foot, with little additional warmth or protection provided by rugs or runners. In contrast, the soft comfort of luxurious carpet provides additional luxury to homes.

The potential for such significant savings may come as a surprise to many homeowners. Revealed in a recent survey by carpet retailer United Carpets and Beds who carried out an independent survey asking what people looked for in a carpet, over a third of respondents cited softness as the most desirable feature of carpet. However, only one in five considered to the additional warmth that carpets would bring to the home. This highlights that insulation barely figures in the decision making process when choosing flooring.

Although the word luxurious may be associated with inflated prices, research suggests this is not the case when it comes to carpets. In reality, households can recoup the initial cost of a good-quality carpet through the significant energy savings that this insulating flooring type presents.

According to the U.S Department of Energy, heating accounts for almost half of the average household utility bill. Further studies show that a home can lose 10-20% of its heat through uninsulated flooring. These facts alone highlight that hundreds of dollars worth of energy are escaping down through the floorboards.

This significant energy loss can be addressed by simply installing a good-quality carpet, complete with pad. Carpet serves as a natural insulator by trapping air within its fibers. An average carpet carries an R-value of around 0.18 per cm.

The trick to ensuring that carpet provides as much heat insulation as possible is to combine it with an energy-efficient pad such as bonded urethane, which can prevent 15 times as much heat escaping as the same thickness of standard fiberglass insulation. This brings the R-value of the combination of carpet and bonded urethane to around 2.27 per cm, as opposed to the 0.22 per cm provided by fiberglass insulation.

Homeowners can start to witness the energy-saving benefits from the moment the carpet is fitted. So much so that the average household can expect to see a 4-5% reductions on heating costs, rising to as much as 10% during harsh winters.

Even if only selected rooms are carpeted, there will still be a noticeable difference in the warmth retained within the space. With this in mind, it may be worth considering installing carpet in downstairs rooms where the heat will simply escape out beneath the house or in larger rooms that are naturally drafty.

As a society, we are resigned to handing out large percentages of our paychecks to cover utility bills. With the overall cost of living rising and the list of household expenses growing, we simply pay extortionate sums for our heating bills without even questioning why these bills are escalating.

Knowing that there are practical measures that can be taken to actively reduce these expenses will come as welcome news to households. Even more so when the money saving solution comes hand in hand with the added benefit of a sumptuously soft new carpet that will rapidly pay for itself in the money it saves by reducing wasted energy.

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