Particularly during the winter period, when we spend more time inside, indoor air quality is a big consideration for many homeowners. Even some of our most common household products contain various compounds, some of which may be harmful to humans in large enough amounts, and limiting our exposure to these along with dust, dirt, pollution and other contaminants can make a huge difference in overall health and wellness.
At All Hours Plumbing, we’re here to help with all air quality issues as part of our furnace and heating services. We have highly efficient furnace models and filters to go with them, and we also invite homeowners to supplement their HVAC system with smart air quality helpers. One common household item that you may not have realized fell into this category? Houseplants, and two plants in particular. Let’s look at a famous study that helped us realize how beneficial plants were to air quality, plus how these might help in your home if pure air is a top priority for you.
In 1989, NASA carried out a well-known study to determine if houseplants were effective for cleaning out various compounds from the air. Their primary goal for this study was finding a more natural way to keep air clean in their space stations, a vital task. The study examined five compounds that are very common in our air, and that may lead to health risks:
- Formaldehyde: Found in everything from furniture and paper to cigarettes, this material can cause irritation of the nose, mouth and throat.
- Benzene: This compound causes eye irritation along with dizziness and headaches, and is often found in paint, plastic products and various detergents.
- Xylene: A material often found in rubber or leather, xylene can cause throat irritation, headaches, and significant issues with the heart, liver or kidneys.
- Trichloroethylene: A cause of headaches, nausea and vomiting, this substance is found in varnishes and many adhesive products.
- Ammonia: One of the most common household irritants is ammonia, which is found in many cleaners and fertilizers and may cause coughing, sore throat and eye irritation.
How Filters Help
The primary combatants to these and other contaminants in your home are your furnace filters. These items are designed to catch contaminants of various size ranges as they pass through the system, and need to be changed regularly to ensure they do so.
However, the study also determined that two particular houseplants had a high value when it comes to eliminating all five of the compounds above:
- Peace Lily: A simple plant that’s easy to care for and sits in shady spots, the Peace Lily has become one of the most popular houseplants in large part due to its air quality benefits.
- Florist’s Chrysanthemum: A plant with bright blooms that requires a bit more care than the Peace Lily – the chrysanthemum sits in the sun and does not rebloom each year, meaning you’ll need a new one each year.
There are other plans that have had limited success in air purification, as well. The red-edged dracaena and the English ivy, for instance, all filter every element above besides ammonia. If ammonia itself is your issue, consider the flamingo lily or the broadleaf lady palm.
For more on how plants may benefit your air quality, or to learn about how our HVAC pros can help, speak to the staff at All Hours Plumbing today.