Man enjoying plants and AC in summer

Do Houseplants Improve Air Quality in Your Home?

The air quality in your home effects a lot—your comfort, allergies and even the aromas in your house. Taking care of it is important, but hard. In fact, studies have indicated that indoor air pollution can be even higher than outdoor air pollution. Knowing that, it only makes sense that homeowners continue to search for ways to purify the air they breathe all the time. One of the most common ideas is houseplants. In theory, it makes sense that a living thing producing oxygen in your home would improve air quality. But does it make a difference?

What’s the Real Impact of Houseplants on Air Quality?

In the 1980s, scientists at NASA reviewed the impact common houseplants had on air quality in a closed chamber. Within that closed chamber, they discovered the plants had a positive effect on air quality. In 2009, more research was completed by the University of Georgia to look at the impact houseplants had on toxins in the air. Again, it was discovered that—in a closed setting—the plants studied eliminated toxins.

While research indicates plants can have a significant impact on a closed space, there’s one issue when it comes to translating that to your house. Your home is not a closed research room. So, it’s hard to say what—if any impact—houseplants have on your home’s air quality. According to Time Magazine, the air in your home changes frequently and depends a lot on the outdoor air quality surrounding your home.

Outside of that challenge, the things that plants can impact are fairly limited. According to the American Lung Association, studies have shown that plants can remove harmful gases found in homes, like formaldehyde. However, gases aren’t the only pollutants in your home affecting your air quality. Particles like pet hair, dust, mold or pollen are also moving around your home—and there isn’t much plants can do about those.

Other Solutions

While houseplants probably can’t fix all the indoor air quality issues in your home, there are HVAC-centered solutions that can help.

  • Keep Your System Clean. If you want to keep pollutants from floating around your home, start with your HVAC system. Sustaining a clean system is one of the best ways to keep your air clean. Check your air filter often and change it when it appears dirty. Stopping particles with your air filter is your first and easiest defense against poor air quality. Schedule annual maintenance to have a technician check out your system. In addition to regular tune-ups, they’ll make sure your system is clean.
  • Consider an Air Purifier. If you want to get even the smallest pollutants in your house, consider an air purifier. A few models can capture allergens and bacteria as small as .01 micron. That is pretty small at one-thousandth of a millimeter. The experts at Heartland Heating & Cooling can help you select a system that works for your home.
  • Try a Humidifier. The humidity in your home also affects your air quality. Make sure your home stays comfortable and as irritant-free as possible by keeping a humidity level between 30 and 50 percent. You can select from portable or whole home humidifiers to help.

While houseplants can’t make a huge difference in your air quality, there’s no harm in keeping them around. If you’re ready to improve the quality of the air in your home, Heartland Heating & Cooling can help. Give us a call at 515-344-3579 or book an appointment online to get started. We’ll help you figure out all your options.

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