Using Plants to Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
A lot of people put a lot of attention on the quality of the air outside. While it’s vitally important to limit outdoor air pollution, the quality of the air inside your home is even more important. The good news is that there are some allies to help you keep your home’s air clean and fresh here in San Marcos. These allies come in the form of indoor plants. At Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning, we love being able to help our customers live happy and healthy lives. That’s why we want to share some insights into the benefits of having indoor plants in your home.
Indoor Air Pollutants
Many people are surprised to learn of the different pollutants that are often present in indoor air. Among other things, you may have lead, formaldehyde, benzene, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon dioxide in the air in your home. That can be a frightening and hazardous combination.
Indoor pollutants come from paint, furniture finishes, household cleaners, tobacco smoke, stoves, furnaces, and other common household items. Although you can take steps to limit the release of pollutants in your home, it’s almost impossible to stop introducing new pollutants altogether. That’s why it’s more effective to work to remove the pollutants that are already there so you can be sure to give your family clean air to breathe.
Alternate Ways of Cleaning Indoor Air
It’s worth mentioning some alternative methods of cleaning indoor air. In many cases, these methods can be quite effective, especially when combined with a range of indoor plants. A whole-home air purifier is the most complete way to clean your home’s air. This unit uses three-stage filtration to remove various contaminants from your home’s indoor air. You can also use a smaller air purifier that you can move from room to room to help you fight trouble spots around your home. Of course, something as simple as opening a window when the outdoor air is clean can help reduce the levels of indoor air pollutants in your home.
How Plants Clean the Air
You’ll likely recall from grade-school science lessons that plants use photosynthesis to create food for themselves. To perform photosynthesis, plants need carbon dioxide. Plants are able to draw in carbon dioxide through their leaves. A convenient property of photosynthesis is that plants don’t discriminate when drawing in gases to perform photosynthesis. If other gases are mixed in with the carbon dioxide, they will draw those gases in along with the gases they need to survive.
Then, rather than releasing these gases back into the air, plants store these gases in their cellular structures. In your home, this helps remove the pollutants from the air. As if that wasn’t enough, plants release pure oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis, meaning you receive benefits on both ends of a plant’s natural processes.
Great Plants for Indoor Environments
At Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning, we want to make sure that you make wise choices when deciding which plants to buy for your home. Ideally, an indoor plant will be easy to care for, tolerant of varying temperatures, and able to survive in low light levels, at least for short periods. When shopping for plants, some good plants to start with are English Ivy, Chinese Evergreens, Dragon Trees, Mother-in-Law’s Tongues, Spider Plants, and more. To maintain clean air at all times, it’s best to purchase a variety of plants so that you can account for the natural photosynthetic cycles of each plant. Plus, adding plants with different colors, shapes, and sizes will help to enhance visual interest to your various living areas.
Proper Indoor Plant Care
The most common mistake that owners of indoor plants make is watering them too frequently. In many cases, you’ll only need to water indoor plants once or twice a month. If you have a variety of plants, make sure to look up the proper watering schedule, and then set reminders for yourself so that you don’t forget when the plants will be parched.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure that you upgrade your indoor plants to larger pots as they grow. If a plant becomes rootbound, it won’t be able to thrive and provide the same level of air purification.
Regular dusting is another care task that many indoor plant owners often overlook. Since there is no wind in an indoor environment, plant leaves can become quite dusty, resulting in unhealthy plants. Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning recommends dusting your plants every two months.
A Few Words of Caution
When choosing plants to help clean your home’s indoor air, it’s important to think about your home’s other residents. Many species of plants can be poisonous to humans and animals when ingested. To help prevent accidental poisoning, make sure to put indoor plants on elevated surfaces if you have children or pets. If you have pets that like to climb onto elevated surfaces, Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning recommends researching non-poisonous plant species to ensure you don’t put your furry friends at risk.
Additionally, it’s important to check new plants for any type of parasites or other pests. You don’t want to bring bugs into your home and provide them with a comfortable environment to multiply. If you do notice a problem, there are indoor-safe insecticides that you can apply to indoor plants.
Measuring Indoor Air Quality
After you have your new indoor plants in place, you’ll want to be sure that they’re actually working to improve your home’s indoor air quality. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in one or more air quality monitors so that you can watch the levels of indoor pollutants fall over time.
Many types of monitors allow you to check for multiple types of pollutants and access the readings from your phone. Another important way to monitor indoor air quality is to always have a radon detector and carbon monoxide detector installed in a location that allows you to easily view the current readings.
Maximizing Plant Benefits
Caring for indoor plants requires an investment of time and resources. Ideally, you want to make sure the air in your home circulates well. When your HVAC system operates, air will circulate while the system works to move conditioned air to the rooms in your home. If you desire further air circulation, you can run the fan in your HVAC system without heating or cooling the air. This will ensure that the pure air that your plants create will make its way to every corner of your house, even if you only have plants in one or two rooms.
Our Customers Come First
At Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning, our customers always come first. That’s why we provide top-notch air conditioner maintenance and furnace replacement services. We can also take care of whole-house fan installation, smart thermostat installation, indoor air quality testing, and much more. As a company with over 20 years of experience, you can be sure that you’ll receive top-notch service whenever you give us a call. To learn more about keeping your home’s air clean, contact us at Oak Island Heating and Air Conditioning today!