The study, conducted by the Pasco County Steering Committee (PCSC), tested five cleaning methods at one of its elementary schools. Each method was conducted by a manufacturer representative. Methods tested included high-flow wet extraction, portable wet extraction, low-moisture encapsulation, low-moisture dry extraction (absorption) and truck-mount wet extraction.
At the conclusion of the four-week testing period, Pasco County Schools’ representatives determined the low-moisture, dry-extraction absorption system best accommodated the school system’s maintenance program. The system was selected based on its reduced cost, the immediate availability of carpet, limited time and resources required, its positive contribution to indoor air quality and its ease of training and operation.
“Some schools are implementing vinyl-composition tile (VCT) and alternative hard floor surface coverings because it is believed hard floor surfaces have a better impact on IAQ and cost less to maintain over the life of the floor,” said Edward Flicker, Custodial Services Coordinator at PCSD. “Our study found that by using the HOST Dry Carpet Cleaning System, we were able to retain the carpet and maintain an optimal learning environment for students without compromising appearance, cost — or IAQ.”
Using low-moisture, dry-extraction absorption maintenance methods, the PCSC was able to restore its 10-year-old, vinyl-backed, nylon-faced carpet to like-new appearance levels, eliminating replacement costs and enabling the school to retain its carpet rather than replace it with alternative floor coverings such as VCT.
Considering that initial purchase costs of carpet with installation are typically higher than VCT, the PCSC still found that the savings from the system were a better value. Overall costs of the low-moisture, dry-extraction maintenance strategy resulted in the following savings:
In a new school construction setting, it would take 4.3 years to recover the cost difference from savings on carpet maintenance compared to VCT maintenance. It would take 9.2 years to recover the total lifecycle cost of carpet with maintenance savings alone compared to VCT.
“Carpet is the primary floor covering in 45 schools throughout our school system,” added Flicker. “Inadequate maintenance practices resulted in compromises to the appearance of the carpet, downtime, training and budget. With the results from this study, we have been able to find the best floor surface covering and maintenance program to fit our needs.”