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Understanding the Tog Rating and R Value of carpets

The main aim for many this winter is to stay warm, yet not spend too much on their heating bills, and by understanding the Tog rating and R-Value of carpets can help us achieve this.

We’ve all been Googling cost-effective ways to keep warm and the best ways to be energy efficient, but if you have carpet within your home or residential settings you have already taken one of the best steps to keep your interiors warm this winter.

The millions of soft fibres in the pile of your carpet trap pockets of air creating an insulating barrier and restricting the flow of air through the pile and therefore reducing heat loss. Research by the Wools of New Zealand found that hard surface floors account for 10-20% of heat loss in a home and that carpet provides around 10 times more insulation than hard floor coverings.

The research went on to discuss the energy savings and good health benefits produced by carpets and mentioned two studies; one in Japan where they compared energy bills of two almost identical homes. The only difference between the two homes is that one had installed carpets and the other hadn’t. The energy savings of the carpeted home were between 8-13%. The other study was in America where a school with carpet reduced fuel consumption by 5-13% compared to a very similar un-carpeted school. 

However not all carpets are the same and how they’re installed can also affect their insulation benefits, so it’s important to be able to understand the information provided by manufacturers in terms of the carpet's Tog rating or R-value.

Understanding Tog Rating and R Values

If a carpet specification presents you with an R-value this number tells you how good that carpet is at resisting the flow of heat. If it resists the flow of heat well it will have a higher R-value which indicates it is a good insulating option. 

R-values are calculated by dividing the thickness of the material (in meters) by its thermal conductivity (in W/mk). There are many tables online to view the R-Value of various materials but in summary, according to here are a few values:

MaterialAverage R-Value
Vinyl Composition Tile0.2
Wool Carpet1.575 -2.100

Carpets may also come with a tog rating, a little like a duvet. The tog rating is a measure of how much heat can pass through the material, effectively an indication of how insulating it will be. Carpet togs range from around 0.7 to 3.0. The higher the tog rating, the more insulating it is.

The Carpet Foundation and the Underfloor Heating Manufacturing Association state that if you are using underfloor heating a combined tog rating of the carpet and any underlay that you may be using must not exceed 2.5 tog to ensure the efficiency of the heating system.

In summary

Is been proven that carpets are an effective insulating material for your home, helping you to stay warm and reduce energy consumption and bills.

Comfort is also increased by carpets as it helps to reduce the loss of heat from the feet by conduction. Carpets trap a layer of still air just above their surface, thereby reducing drafts and making feet feel warmer.

Perceived temperatures in rooms with textile floor coverings are approximately 1-2 degrees higher than in rooms using a hard floor covering, which can result in energy-saving costs of approximately 6%.

The World Health Organisation for Europe has recognized the importance of maintaining a healthy indoor temperature as a priority as a small number of housing studies have shown that cold homes are a major contributor to cardiovascular, respiratory and other health problems.


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