Not Just Pretty: Houseplants Work to Improve Your Home's Air Quality

Not Just Pretty: Houseplants Work to Improve Your Home’s Air Quality

May 13, 2014

While tightly insulated homes increase energy efficiency, they also have the downside of effectively trapping pollution, creating indoor air pollution levels often far higher than outdoor air.

Sources of indoor pollution include:

  • Carpet, furniture, building materials, etc.
  • Personal care products, household cleaners, etc.
  • Tobacco and other sources of smoke
  • Pet dander, mold, etc.

Eliminating or reducing the sources of indoor pollution can be difficult to impossible, but ventilation and filtration of indoor air can reduce pollution levels.

Keeping houseplants is one method of improving indoor air quality (IAQ) while adding beauty to your home.

All plants need carbon dioxide in the air to survive, yet they also “breathe” in other gases, including the class of pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOC’s).

A portion of these pollutants are then trapped in the leaves and roots of your houseplants as well as within the microorganisms that live in their soil; fresh air is returned into your room as your plants exhale oxygen without the VOC’s.

Some of the plants most effective in improving IAQ are also some of the most lovely; a few include:

  • Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) is a sun loving plant which produces bright orange flowers; it will remove benzene, often present in inks, glues, paints, etc., as well as trichloroethylene from dry cleaned articles.
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium) is another sun lover which produces eye catching blooms to lighten the energy of a room while simultaneously filtering benzene from your home.
  • Azalea (Rhododendron simsii) is a stunning flowering shrub which needs cooler conditions and bright light and will reduce formaldehyde levels from building materials, carpets, etc.
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema crispum ‘Deborah’) will produce blooms and red berries even in low light conditions while removing a variety of common VOC’s.
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum) needs shady conditions to produce large white flowers and is one of the very best houseplants to reduce levels of formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.

If you are in the Orlando area and would like to learn more about how to improve your IAQ, the professionals at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions would be happy to help you!

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about indoor air quality and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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