Front Range HVAC specializes in all things heating, air conditioning, and ventilation for homes and businesses throughout Colorado. When our customers ask us about the best ways to improve their indoor air quality, they can be a little surprised to learn that adding plants to their interior space is a fantastic way to achieve this.
To best explain why plants help so much with indoor air quality, we need to look no further than a NASA study that was conducted in 1989. This study conclusively showed that certain plant species are especially good at removing many harmful organic chemicals from the air. These chemicals include:
- Exposure to high levels of benzene can result in drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, and even unconsciousness.
- This colorless, volatile liquid can be carried by the air we breath, and too much of it can cause coma or even death.
- This common byproduct of material manufacturing is most inert in lower quantities. However, when formaldehyde concentrations in the air reach a critical point, the result can be irritation of the eyes, nose and throat.
- Carbon Monoxide. Carbon monoxide is literally all around us. It is most commonly emitted by internal combustion engines contained in cars, buses, and diesel trucks. High amounts of carbon monoxide can cause nausea, headaches, confusion, and even carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal.
Not all indoor plants are ideal for tackling the challenge of improving the air you breathe every day. So, to help you make informed decisions about which plants to buy on your next trip to the nursery, here are a few of the best indoor plants to help improve the quality of your indoor air.
Air-Scrubbing Plant #1: English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
English Ivy is a fantastic addition to any indoor space, and not just because it’s a powerful air cleanser. This plant is striking in its appearance, with white-bordered leaves that grow from long, undulating vines. It can even be grown in areas where sunlight is sparse, and when taken care of, English Ivy plants can live for many years.
Air-Scrubbing Plant #2: Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Modestum)
Want a dash of color in your living space while also improving air quality? Get a Chinese Evergreen plant. This bold-looking plant sports broad, thick leaves that are red, green, and pink in color. This plant is very low maintenance, requiring only occasional watering and medium light exposure.
However, if you are a pet owner, take caution: the Chinese Evergreen plant does contain an alkaloid that can be harmful to pets if it is ingested.
Air-Scrubbing Plant #3: The Dragon Tree (Dracaena Marginata)
What’s not to love about this fun, funky-looking plant? The leaves range in color from deep green to purple, and Dragon Trees tolerate lower light conditions, making them an ideal fit for offices or rooms with few or no windows (fluorescent lighting can suffice for many indoor plants like the Dragon Tree).
Air-Scrubbing Plant #4: Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria Trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
We quite like the name of this plant, because the leaves on the Mother-in-Law’s Tongue are sharp and pointed, as the commentary from some mothers-in-law can be! When it comes to maintenance, this plant does especially well when it’s pretty much left alone—most Mother-in-Law’s Tongue plants need very little watering, if any, and they’re fine with low to medium light exposure.
Air-Scrubbing Plant #5: The Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’)
We saved the Peace Lily for last because it’s not the best fit for every home or business. There are two main reasons for this:
- The leaves and stem of this plant can be mildly toxic to some individuals or pets with certain pollen allergies.
- Unlike succulents or some of the other plants on this list, the Peace Lily does need to be monitored for signs of dehydration. The good news is that this plant will ‘tell’ you when it needs to be watered—its leaves will ‘droop’, a sign that it’s time to add some H2O.
A small investment in a few air quality-boosting indoor plants can mean a world of difference for the air you breathe every day. Why not make it a point to stop by your local Home Depot or Walmart to see about picking up a plant or two from this list?
As always, if you have air quality questions, the HVAC professionals at Front Range HVAC are happy to help. Call us today at (303) 942-1372, and we’ll be happy to assist you in any way we can.