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Plants can provide healthier indoor air quality

Posted in Air Quality, on March 23, 2015

Indoor air quality can be negatively affected by a variety of things. Building materials, contents, furniture, toys, decorating materials, smoking, candles, incense, the list goes on. To combat poor indoor air quality, some people choose to mask issues with air fresheners or other scented or perfumed products. In many cases using these off the shelf scented products can add to the poor indoor air quality in the home.

Poor indoor air quality can be measured in a variety of ways. There could be an increase of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), sewer gases, combustible gases, or VOC’s which are chemicals that can come from adhesives, paints, building materials, furniture or cabinetry. The use of indoor scented products can also add to the chemical load of the indoor environment.

There is a much more natural solution to all of this. Plants! In nature plants convert an immense concentration of air pollution into oxygen. Indoors, plants can do the same. Keeping plants in the living area as well as the bedroom areas of the home is key. Most plants can convert carbon dioxide (CO2) that we exhale back into oxygen. The lower the CO2 levels in the home, the better the air quality will be.

Most homes also have VOC issues or formaldehyde concentrations over and above normal outdoor levels. Indoor plants can absorb these chemicals and produce more oxygen. Here are a few key plants to have indoors.

  1. The Aloe Vera plant: Aloe vera is excellent when dealing with burns or skin rashes. However, this type of plant can also lower or remove the formaldehyde levels in your home.
  2. The Boston Fern: This type of plant adds a tropical feel to any bathroom or kitchen and can effectively remove formaldehyde as well as xylene.
  3. The Spider Plant: This plant is easy to grow and maintain and can clean a variety of VOC’s out of the air your breathe.
  4. The Snake Plant: These are usually seen in public buildings because they don’t need a lot of care or light. Benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene can be removed from the air.
  5. The Peace Lily: This plant likes to be in the shade. It is very good at removing ammonia, benzene and formaldehyde.
  6. Garden Mums: These inexpensive plants remove a variety of VOC’s
  7. The Ficus Plant: This plants also removes formaldehyde and other chemicals.
  8. The Bamboo Palm: This plant needs a lot of sun but works great at removing chemicals like formaldehyde.

Basically any indoor plant can improve the indoor air quality of the home or office. Be careful to make sure the plant remains healthy and that the soil is well taken care of. Also make sure that the pots are water proof so water does not drip onto the floor or carpet which could lead to water damage and mould growth.

Many clients ask us about mould growth in the soil. For the most part there is not enough soil in house plant pots for this to be an issue. In addition, mould in soil is a natural environment and is not to be compared or confused with a mould growth infestation.

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