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Working Toward Cleaner Indoor Air: How Houseplants Can Help You Do the Job

October 22, 2013 | Blog

Houseplants aren’t just for decoration anymore. A NASA study covering 15 common houseplants found that they do far more than look pretty while absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. They also fight indoor-air pollution.

The study showed that formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene were absorbed by the soil system of these plants. These three compounds are the most common volatile organic compounds found in indoor environments.

VOCs weren’t a big problem 30 years ago, when builders weren’t concerned with creating ultra-efficient homes. The trend toward energy-efficient homes has resulted in airtight environments (except when ventilation systems have been incorporated). This means that gases from building materials, paint, laminate flooring, furniture fabrics, carpets and the like get trapped in the home. Ventilating systems and air cleaners with HEPA filtration can remove many of these contaminants. But surprisingly, houseplants can also assist with the job.

The NASA study used an 1,800-square-foot house and found that 15 to 18 6-inch to 8-inch potted plants significantly reduced the amount of VOCs in the air. It also found that when the lower leaves were removed, and more soil was in contact with the air, the plants did even better.

Some of the plants that performed well included English ivy, spider plants, dracaena, philodendrons and aloe vera. Unfortunately, all houseplants weren’t equal when it came to cleaning the air. Plants with showy flowers didn’t perform as well.

For more information on ways to achieve cleaner indoor air, contact the experts at CCAC in Corpus Christi. Our techs have been delivering topnotch HVAC services to homeowners throughout the area for more than 35 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about cleaner indoor air and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


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