You may have been hearing a lot of buzz about indoor air quality. Indoor air quality is a measure of a variety of factors, such as how comfortable your home’s temperature feels and what kind of toxins might be in the environment. Since your home is mostly sealed from the outdoors, what gets in the air can stay there a long time. Some plants can clean the air inside your home to improve indoor air quality. They purify the air so it’s healthier for your lungs and smells clean and fresh. Here’s what you need to know.
How Plants Help
All plants absorb gases in the atmosphere. They create their own food by changing carbon dioxide and sunlight into chemical energy. Some plants absorb other gases besides carbon dioxide.
Many household chemicals release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, internal organ damage, even cancer. VOCs are found in cleaning supplies, paint, automotive products and more. Indoor levels average between two and five times higher than those outdoors.
Some plants absorb VOCs such as benzene from cigarette smoke and formaldehyde from cosmetics and detergents. Choosing these plants can remove harmful chemicals from your environment.
Which Plants to Choose
Visit your local garden center and ask about these varieties.
- English ivy. This vine does well with little space and limited sunlight. It helps absorb formaldehyde, the most common VOC.
- Peace lily. This potted plant has glossy leaves and pale blooms. It absorbs the carcinogen benzene and soaks up acetone. Avoid peace lily if you have pets, because it’s toxic when ingested.
- Lady palm. This small tree has fan-shaped leaves that spread out to soften any corner of your home. It eliminates ammonia from cleaners and dyes.
- Boston fern. Ferns are extremely efficient at removing formaldehyde. It also might remove toxic metals such as mercury and arsenic from the soil in which it is planted. Ferns require constant moisture and high humidity, so they might be difficult to maintain in cold, dry climates.
- Snake plant. This low-light potted plant has long, curved leaves with emerald green centers and bright yellow edges. It removes carbon dioxide, formaldehyde and benzene.
- Golden pathos. This vine works well in hanging baskets or on trellises. It has glossy green leaves sometimes streaked with gold that soak up carbon monoxide, benzene and formaldehyde.
How Many Plants Do You Need
One plant might not be enough to make a difference. Concentrate plants in the rooms you use most. Environmental scientist Dr. Bill Wolverton recommends a minimum of two 10- to 12-inch pots per 100 square feet.
Make sure you don’t water too much or too often. Excess moisture can lead to mold growth, which actually hurts indoor air quality.
Other Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Make your home more comfortable by improving energy efficiency. Replace old windows to reduce drafts and keep outside toxins from entering your home. Insulate your attic to keep moisture from resulting in mold and mildew that irritates allergies and threatens respiratory health. Contact Able Roof today to find out what energy-efficient upgrades can improve the comfort of your home.