The Christmas Tree Association reports that 95 million households celebrate the holidays each year with a live Christmas tree. If you’re one of them, you may not know that such a tree makes an impact on your indoor air quality (IAQ) that isn’t always good.
The Christmas tree itself isn’t a problem. It’s the mold and mold spores, along with the pollen, that harm your indoor air quality. Since Christmas trees grow outdoors, they’re exposed to all the plants that grow nearby. It’s natural for some of airborne particulates to land in the trees and then come indoors when you bring the tree home. A sudden outbreak of sneezing, wheezing or skin reactions might point to problems with the tree.
Precautions to Take
Whatever pollens were near the trees as they grew could conceivably tag along to the tree lot. When harvested, the trees are tightly wrapped and even though they’re transported on open truck beds, they’re so compacted that little air can reach inside them.
Although the type of pollen will vary based on harvest location, there are three primary types of mold spores they carry regardless of the tree’s origin:
- Aspergillus, which is most dangerous for people with compromised immune systems.
- Penicillium, which may irritate those with penicillin allergies.
- Cladosporium, one of the most common that may irritate skin and respiratory tissues
What to Do
The best thing to do before bringing in the Christmas tree is to hose it off with a stream of water strong enough to disengage the pollen and mold spores from the tree. Wipe the trunk down with a mixture of water and bleach to kill the mold and spores or douse the tree with vinegar. Let it dry completely before bringing inside. Next, take the tree down right after Christmas.
Pollen and mold spores do come in with Christmas trees, but if you have problems with indoor air quality throughout the year, contact the experts at CCAC. We provide HVAC for Coastal Bend homeowners.
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 your HVAC system, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 361-678-2495.