You may not realize it, but the air inside your home might be more polluted than the air outside. In fact, indoor air pollution is one of the top environmental health risks.
Factors like poor ventilation, emissions from household-cleaning products and chemicals and off-gassing from carpets and furniture can all contribute to poor indoor air quality. And when allergens, like pet dander and dust mites, are added to the mix, it can create an environment that’s downright unhealthy to breathe.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to improve the air quality in your home. One option that’s gained traction in recent years is the use of houseplants to purify the air. But is this really an effective option? Let’s explore this further so you can make the right decision for your family’s health.
How Plants May Improve Indoor Air Quality
Proponents of plants for indoor air quality claim that plants act as natural air purifiers by absorbing small amounts of pollutants, like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and benzene. These are all common chemicals found in the home and can be harmful to your health if you’re exposed to them for too long.
This mechanism is possible because of the small pores, or stomata, on the underside of the leaves. These stomata open and close to regulate the plant’s water and gas exchange, but they also act as a filter for the air around them. This means that as the plant breathes in, it’s also pulling in small particles of pollutants.
As a result, plants may help improve indoor air quality by reducing the levels of harmful toxins and chemicals circulating in the air. And they do it all while producing the oxygen we breathe.
It’s important to keep in mind that plants can only filter out small amounts of these pollutants. They’re not a complete solution for poor indoor air quality, but they may help reduce the levels of harmful toxins in your home.
Which Plants Are Most Effective at Reducing Toxin Levels in the Air?
Not all plants are equally effective at filtering out toxins and chemicals. Here is a close look at some of the best plants for improving the air in your home.
1. Spider Plant
Often recommended as one of the best plants for beginners, the spider plant is also a relatively effective air-purifying plant. Spider plants may be particularly good at helping filter out formaldehyde, which is commonly found in cleaning products, paint and carpets. Some also claim that they reduce levels of carbon monoxide and xylene in the air.
2. Aloe Vera
You’re probably most familiar with aloe vera as a natural remedy for sunburns. But this miracle plant may also help filter out formaldehyde and benzene from the air. It’s also believed to be effective at improving air quality by increasing humidity.
3. Snake Plant
Also known as the mother-in-law’s tongue, the snake plant is a tough and adaptable plant that’s virtually impossible to kill. It is also believed to filter out formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and trichloroethylene from the air. Adding to these air-purifying qualities, these plants also release oxygen at night, making them a great plant to have in your bedroom.
Bromeliads are a type of tropical plant that comes in a wide range of colors and sizes. These houseplants may be effective at reducing indoor levels of formaldehyde. They may also help increase the humidity in your home.
5. Golden Pothos
Also known as the devil’s ivy, the golden pothos is a fast-growing vine that’s easy to care for. These plants may help remove a wide range of toxins and chemicals from the air, including formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.
The ficus is a popular type of houseplant that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. While they’re often sold as indoor plants, they can also be grown outdoors. It’s claimed that these plants help reduce indoor levels of formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.
Are Plants Really the Best Option?
While plants offer a natural, low-cost indoor-air-quality improvement option, plants alone will not be able to completely remove all toxins, chemicals and allergens from the air. As a result, they are not a cure-all for air-quality issues. There is some evidence supporting the use of plants to boost air quality in the home, but it’s best to use plants as an accompaniment to more effective solutions.
Take allergens, for instance; if you’re allergic to pollen or your pet’s dander, having a few potted plants around isn’t going to make much of a difference. However, if you use plants in combination with other solutions, like air purifiers and HEPA filters, you can create a much more effective system for reducing allergens in the home.
The same is true for other pollutants and toxins. Plants can help slightly reduce levels of some pollutants, but they’re not going to completely eliminate them. If you have a smoker in your home, for example, adding a few plants is not going to make the smoke go away. Secondhand smoke is a complex mixture of chemicals that can be removed only with specialized filtration systems. These chemicals can build up quickly when a smoker lives in the home, so it’s vital to have a complete filtration system in place.
If you’re concerned about the air quality in your home, it’s essential to take a comprehensive approach. In addition to plants, you may want to consider other solutions, like air purifiers, ventilation systems and humidifiers. By taking a multipronged approach, you can ensure that your home has the cleanest air possible.
Signs That Your Home’s Air Quality Is Poor
There are a few signs that can indicate that the air quality in your home is poor. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be time to take action with the help of an experienced professional:
- Allergies or asthma flare-ups that seem to be triggered by being indoors
- A feeling of fatigue or lethargy
- Frequent headaches
- Dry eyes, nose or throat
- Itchy skin
- Nausea or dizziness
These symptoms can be caused by a wide range of indoor air contaminants, including dust mites, mold, bacteria and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to seek medical attention and have your home tested for indoor air pollutants. A professional can help you identify the source of the problem and recommend the best solution.
When you turn to Sun City Mechanical, LLC, you can be confident that you’re getting the best possible service. Our team of qualified professionals in Buckeye, Arizona has the knowledge and experience necessary to identify the source of your indoor-air-quality problem and recommend the best solution. We offer a wide range of services, including air purification, humidity control, filters, ventilation and more. We also provide comprehensive cooling, heating and plumbing services to meet all of your home maintenance needs.
When it comes to your home, don’t settle for anything less than the best. Contact Sun City Mechanical, LLC, today to begin the road to better breathing.