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 house. Taking care of it is important, but hard. 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 research ways to purify the air they breathe each day. One of the most common ideas 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 studied the influence common houseplants had on air quality in a closed chamber. Within that closed chamber, they found the plants had a positive effect on air quality. In 2009, further 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 removed 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 residence. Your home is not a closed research space. So, it’s difficult 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 heavily on the outdoor air quality around your home.

Outside of that challenge, the elements 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 affecting your air quality. Particles like pet hair, dust, mold or pollen are also floating around your home—and there’s nothing plants can do about those.

Other Solutions

While houseplants likely won’t 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. Sustaining a clean system is one of the greatest ways to keep your air clean. Check your air filter frequently and change it when it looks dirty. Catching particles with your air filter is your first and simplest defense against poor air quality. Schedule annual maintenance to have an expert check out your system. In addition to regular tune-ups, they’ll make sure your system is clean.
  • Consider an Air Purifier. If you want to capture even the smallest pollutants in your space, consider an air purifier. A few models can capture allergens and bacteria as small as .01 micron. That’s one-thousandth of a millimeter. The pros at Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating can help you select a system that works for your home.
  • Try a Humidifier. The humidity in your home also affects your air quality. Make sure your home stays comfortable and as irritant-free as possible by keeping 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 huge 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, Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating can help. Give us a call at 641-628-3621 or arrange an appointment online to get started. We’ll help you review all your options.

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