Man enjoying plants and AC in summer

Do Houseplants Improve Air Quality in Your Home?

The air quality in your home influences a lot—your comfort, allergies and even the odors in your indoor space. Taking care of it is important, but difficult. In fact, studies have indicated that indoor air pollution can be even harsher than outdoor air pollution. Knowing that, it only makes sense that homeowners continue to search for ways to purify the air they breathe every day. One of the most common ideas is houseplants. In theory, it makes sense that a living thing producing oxygen in your home would improve air quality. But does it work in practice?

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

In the 1980s, scientists at NASA reviewed the influence common houseplants had on air quality in a closed chamber. Within that closed chamber, they realized the plants had a positive effect on air quality. In 2009, additional 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 tough to say what—if any impact—houseplants have on your home’s air quality. According to Time Magazine, the air in your home changes regularly and depends a lot on the outdoor air quality near your home.

Outside of that challenge, the things that plants can impact are fairly limited. According to the American Lung Association, studies have shown that plants can get rid of 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 this isn’t anything 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 floating around your home, start with your HVAC system. Sustaining a clean system is one of the best ways to keep your air clean. Check your air filter frequently and change it when it looks dirty. Stopping particles with your air filter is your first and easiest defense against poor air quality. Arrange annual maintenance to have a professional check out your system. In addition to regular tune-ups, they’ll confirm your system is clean.
  • Consider an Air Purifier. If you want to capture even the smallest pollutants in your house, consider an air purifier. A few models can capture allergens and bacteria as small as .01 micron. That is pretty small at one-thousandth of a millimeter. The team at B & B Heating & Cooling can help you choose a system that works for your home.
  • Try a Humidifier. The humidity in your home also impacts 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 choose from portable or whole home humidifiers to help.

While houseplants can’t make a large difference in your air quality, there’s no harm in keeping them around. If you’re ready to increase the quality of the air in your home, B & B Heating & Cooling can help. Give us a call at 314-325-7552 or arrange an appointment online to get started. We’ll help you assess all your options.

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