Many of us are guilty of picking up the corner of a large area rug and sweeping a small amount of dirt under it to save time or perhaps to hide it from an unexpected guest.
- In the literal sense “sweeping it under the rug” is a minor sin.
It has, however, become a euphemism for hiding an unpleasant truth. It can be a denial of an embarrassing political scandal or ignoring that a fancy handbag was manufactured in a third world sweatshop. One of the worst offenders of literally sweeping dirt under the rug is a home’s HVAC system. One culprit is filtration soil that forms those black dusty lines around the perimeter of a carpet. Another is a basic rule of nature, that warm air rises and cool air sinks. As the HVAC system circulates air, the carpet becomes a filter. Air passes through it from above or below depending on the relative temperature trapping dust, dirt, organic carbon-based pollutants, pet hair and dander, and anything else that would normally be trapped by the HVAC filters. Vacuuming is one method commonly used to minimize the filtration soil if you don’t cheat and sweep that last bit of it under the rug. Homeowners must also be diligent about changing those HVAC filters or keeping reusable ones clean and fresh. A good time to change this is when a qualified HVAC serviceperson visits to get your HVAC system ready for the changing seasons. If you are lucky, maybe he doubles as a carpet cleaner. One fact that cannot be swept under the rug comes from the U.S. Department of Energy who advises that “the most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters.”