Do House Plants Improve Indoor Air Quality?
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There’s an age old belief that those who have indoor house plants will benefit from better indoor air quality (IAQ). IAQ is referring to the quality of the air within a building and how this relates to the comfort and health of those occupying the building. Mold, Carbon Dioxide, and other contaminants can negatively affect IAQ to the point where it is harmful to humans and can cause serious health problems.
There are a few ways to improve indoor air quality, such as opening windows and blinds to let both air and light pass through a building, or using a dehumidifier to remove any humidity which may cause mold. But what can plants do to contribute to the improvement of IAQ?
Unfortunately, plants do very little to help and in some cases can make matters worse.
How Plants Function
Photosynthesis, a naturally-occurring phenomenon which allows plants to live and grow, works to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOC); a cause of poor IAQ. CO2 is one of these types of compounds, and plants work to remove this from the air while in turn releasing oxygen and water.
Although plants work to remove CO2 from the air, the amount they remove does very little to improve the IAQ of a home or building with multiple occupants. According to a recent NASA study, they determined that indoor house plants remove CO2 from the air at a slower rate than a building with low ventilation. “Therefore, air leakage in most homes, and in non-residential buildings too, will generally remove the chemicals faster than the researchers reported for the plants tested by NASA.”
Yet just because plants aren’t as effective as other IAQ solutions, this doesn’t mean that homeowners should opt out of indoor plants. In fact, aloe vera, English ivy and the Boston fern are the most effective when it comes to removing indoor chemicals and VOCs.
If you believe that the indoor air quality of your home could use improvement, it’s best to contact a professional so that they can test to determine what types of compounds are in the air. Contact BGS Environmental Services Inc today for an air quality analysis and solutions!