Man enjoying plants and AC in summer

Do Houseplants Improve Air Quality in Your Home?

The air quality in your home effects a lot—your comfort, allergies and even the smells in your house. Taking care of it is important, but challenging. In fact, studies have indicated that indoor air pollution can be even worse than outdoor air pollution. Knowing that, it only makes sense that homeowners continue to research ways to purify the air they breathe every day. One of the most common solution is houseplants. In theory, it makes sense that a living thing producing oxygen in your home would positively impact air quality. But does it make a difference?

What’s the Real Impact of Houseplants on Air Quality?

In the 1980s, scientists at NASA assessed the influence common houseplants had on air quality in a closed chamber. Within that closed chamber, they discovered the plants had a positive effect on air quality. In 2009, more research was completed by the University of Georgia to look at the impact houseplants had on toxins in the air. Again, it was found that—in a closed setting—the plants studied eliminated toxins.

While research suggests plants can have a substantial impact on a closed space, there’s one issue when it comes to translating that to your house. Your home is not a closed research room. So, it’s hard to say what—if any impact—houseplants have on your home’s air quality. According to Time Magazine, the air in your home changes often and depends heavily on the outdoor air quality surrounding your home.

Outside of that challenge, the things that plants can impact are somewhat limited. According to the American Lung Association, studies have shown that plants can remove harmful gases found in homes, like formaldehyde. However, gases aren’t the only pollutants in your home harming your air quality. Particles like pet hair, dust, mold or pollen are also hovering around your home—and there’s nothing plants can do about those.

Other Solutions

While houseplants might not be able to fix all the indoor air quality issues in your house, there are HVAC-centered solutions that can help.

  • Keep Your System Clean. If you want to keep pollutants from making their way around your home, begin with your HVAC system. Maintaining a clean system is one of the greatest ways to keep your air clean. Check your air filter often and change it when it looks dirty. Stopping particles with your air filter is your first and best defense against poor air quality. Arrange annual maintenance to have a technician check out your system. In addition to regular tune-ups, they’ll make sure your system is clean.
  • Think About an Air Purifier. If you want to get even the smallest pollutants in your home, consider an air purifier. Select models can capture allergens and bacteria as small as .01 micron. That’s one-thousandth of a millimeter. The pros at Air-Right Energy Design, Inc. can help you choose a system that works for your home.
  • Try a Humidifier. The humidity in your home also contributes to your air quality. Make sure your home stays comfortable and as irritant-free as possible by holding a humidity level between 30 and 50 percent. You can pick from portable or whole home humidifiers to help.

While houseplants can’t make a significant difference in your air quality, there’s no harm in keeping them around. If you’re ready to enhance the quality of the air in your home, Air-Right Energy Design, Inc. can help. Give us a call at 703-260-1148 or book an appointment online to get started. We’ll help you review all your options.

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