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 aromas in your home. Taking care of it is important, but hard. In fact, studies have shown that indoor air pollution can be even higher than outdoor air pollution. Knowing that, it only makes sense that homeowners continue to search for ways to purify the air they breathe all the time. One of the most common thoughts is houseplants. In theory, it makes sense that a living thing producing oxygen in your home would help air quality. But does it work in practice?

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

In the 1980s, scientists at NASA studied the affect 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, more research was completed by the University of Georgia to determine the impact houseplants had on toxins in the air. Again, it was discovered that—in a closed setting—the plants studied removed toxins.

While research indicates plants can have a significant 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 area. 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 frequently and depends a lot on the outdoor air quality surrounding your home.

Outside of that challenge, the elements that plants can impact are somewhat limited. According to the American Lung Association, studies have shown that plants can eliminate harmful gases found in homes, like formaldehyde. However, gases aren’t the only pollutants in your home hurting your air quality. Particles like pet hair, dust, mold or pollen are also moving 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 space, there are HVAC-centered solutions that can help.

  • Keep Your System Clean. If you want to keep pollutants from floating around your home, kick it off with your HVAC system. Keeping a clean system is one of the smartest ways to keep your air clean. Check your air filter regularly and change it when it gets dirty. Catching particles with your air filter is your first and best defense against poor air quality. Arrange annual maintenance to have an expert check out your system. In addition to regular tune-ups, they’ll ensure your system is clean.
  • Consider an Air Purifier. If you want to get even the smallest pollutants in your space, consider an air purifier. Some models can capture allergens and bacteria as small as .01 micron. That is pretty small at one-thousandth of a millimeter. The pros at Street Heating and Cooling can help you find 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 holding a humidity level between 30 and 50 percent. You can select 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, Street Heating and Cooling can help. Give us a call at 605-206-3915 or arrange an appointment online to get started. We’ll help you assess all your options.

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