Working Toward Cleaner Indoor Air? Let Houseplants Handle Part of the JobAir pollution is often thought of as an outside issue. However, your indoor air could be as much as 10 times more polluted than the air just outside your front door. You likely know about asbestos, but there are a number of other industrial and construction byproducts that can be found in the indoor air of your Arizona home, as well as various naturally appearing airborne particulates. While energy-efficient air sealing can make it tough for these pollutants to be ventilated out of your house, an effective natural approach to improving your indoor air quality is using house plants.In school, you probably learned that plants absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and release oxygen as byproduct. The Amazon rainforest is often referred to as the “lungs of the world,” supplying as much as 20 percent of the Earth’s clean oxygen. In addition to this process, scientists have discovered that houseplants are effective at filtering out harmful gasses that are common in home environments, including formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, trichloroethylene and more.

Formaldehyde is often released from pressed wood and similar construction materials. Benzene, one of the United States’ 20 most commonly used chemicals, is often utilized as a solvent. Other common household items such as synthetic carpeting, fabric, plastic coated wallpaper, and laminated counters are known to “off-gas” pollutants into the air. Houseplants have been found to be especially adept at filtering out and/or neutralizing some of these unwanted materials.

NASA scientist studied a variety of houseplants and their air-purifying abilities. They recommend that homeowners and residents utilize from 15 to 18 good-sized plants for the average 1,800-square-foot home. The best plants to use in the Central Arizona climate are aloe vera and the spider plant, though many other options are available.

Aloe vera is especially easy to grow. It needs minimal light and water, and acts as an effective natural humidifier, in addition to its air-purifying abilities. Spider plants are great as a hanging plant, and need little light and only the occasional watering. Yet, a spider plant will help filter out formaldehyde, toluene and  xylene from your household air. As with any houseplant, make sure you check to see a specific variety’s toxicity to cats and other pets in your home.

For more information on houseplants and improving your indoor air, please contact us at Wolff Mechanical. We provide quality services to the Scottsdale and Phoenix areas.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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