Decorating with houseplants creates natural beauty indoors, along with enhancing indoor air quality (IAQ). Some plants are natural air cleaners and remove stubborn volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that could degrade your health. VOCs come from many common household products and are one of the most difficult indoor pollutants to neutralize.
These plants offer the best protection against a buildup of VOCs indoors:
- Spider plants
- Ficus trees or weeping figs
- Peace lily
- Boston fern
- Snake plant (mother-in-law’s tongue)
- Aloe vera
- Bamboo palm, lady palm,
- Golden pothos
- English ivy
- Wax begonia
These plants are among the most common used indoors and are readily available at local nurseries, in the garden centers of home improvement stores and at flower shops. Although each of these is easy to grow, they have individual needs for light exposure and moisture requirements.
To achieve higher IAQ using plants, you’ll need two plants every 100 square feet, whose pot diameter is 10 to 12 inches. Some are also toxic to children and pets, so before choosing, check with your veterinarian or look it up on a reputable website to learn if it’s safe.
The gases from chemicals that these houseplants remove include benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and trichloroethylene. These VOCs come from new furniture, flooring, carpeting, paints and finishes, along with cleaning supplies. You’ll also find them in air fresheners, cosmetics, anything perfumed and many household cleaners.
VOCs lower IAQ as they concentrate, primarily because of the lack of fresh air ventilation. You can, however, use ultraviolet lights inside the ductwork or the air handler for your HVAC system to lessen the impact VOCs make on your health.
An energy recovery ventilator (ERVs) dilutes the concentration of VOCs by exchanging stale indoor air with fresh, outside air. ERVs are an energy efficient option for better IAQ since they use heat exchange technology to keep cooling and heating bills low.
While houseplants are a solution for removing harmful VOCs, you can also use your home’s HVAC system to improve the overall air quality. To learn more, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing trusted HVAC services for Portland-area homeowners.