Indoor Plants vs Air Purifiers: Which is Better?

The quality of the air in your home and office is essential to your well-being. It helps you breathe easier, sleep better, and reduce the chances of illness… if it’s clean. However, if the air that you breathe is polluted, a number of health complications can follow.

This is indeed a problem for us. For example, sure enough, studies have indicated that the air quality in six out of 10 classrooms is worse than outside air quality. Why? Well, various factors have increased the concentration of indoor air pollutants, thus affecting indoor air quality. 

For starters, there are pollutants from outdoor activities, like construction and renovations. Environmental conditions like wildfires and radon are also a threat. Sources within the indoor environment — like pets, dust, mold, cigarettes, candles, and cleaning products — can have a further impact. Plus, changes in humidity and temperature, poor ventilation, and how often you clean (in addition to the methods) have the potential to diminish the quality of your breathing air.

What’s the big deal, though? Startlingly, exposure to indoor air pollution may lead to health complications like fatigue, dizziness, eye problems, respiratory diseases, and heart ailments. Therefore, the need to improve indoor air quality is real.

You might’ve heard of two methods for cleaning and purifying the air you breathe. You can use air purifiers and houseplants to improve indoor air quality. However, there have been debates about which method is more effective. Do indoor plants clean the air inside your house? Are air purifiers effective?

In this article, we’ll discuss indoor plants' effectiveness and see how air purifiers work.

Indoor Air Plants: Can They Really Purify the Air?

Plants are significant to human life. They help to eliminate contaminants from the air we breathe and convert carbon dioxide from the air we exhale to oxygen.

NASA conducted a study in 1989 to see if indoor plants can reduce air pollutants in enclosed places. They evaluated the leaves, roots, and microorganisms of potted plants.

They discovered that the leaves could absorb volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air, like formaldehyde and benzene. Bill Wolverton, one of the NASA researchers, also concluded that the bigger the leaf, the faster the air purification.

Besides that, the study discovered that root microbes removed contaminants from air and water. This study became a model for other researchers to study the effectiveness of indoor air plant purification. Indoor plants that people like to use to purify air can include spider plants, English ivy, peace lily, golden pothos, and dracaenas.

So, are houseplants the solution to indoor air pollution? Maybe, but maybe not. Despite the intensive research by NASA, recent studies have shown that houseplants cannot purify the air effectively enough to make a real difference.

According to the aforementioned study, NASA experimented in a lab, where they controlled light, temperature, and humidity. Besides that, the surface area was small, thus allowing the plants to absorb volatile organic compounds faster. 

In a typical indoor environment, the outside air constantly penetrates inside the room and mixes with the indoor air, further increasing pollutants. Also, there’s not enough light, and the temperature and humidity continually change, making plants absorb impurities at a slower rate.

A typical house will need about 10 to 1000 plants per square meter for this method to be effective, making it less than feasible, to say the least. Plants don’t absorb enough carbon dioxide to significantly help in air purification. And while they do produce more oxygen, it’s not enough to offset pollution. This is more of a myth.

Scientific studies indicate that during the day, plants release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. However, this process stops at night, and plants instead release carbon dioxide. An indoor environment that undergoes constant changes in temperature and humidity and has poor lighting may make it difficult for plants to purify the air.

What About Air Purifiers?

Another approach to improving your indoor air quality is using an air purifier. Over and over again, we’re witnessing the power of a quality purification system in keeping the air we breathe clean.

But, not all air purifiers are created equal. For a purifier to effectively clean the air, it needs multiple layers of defense. But what exactly does that look like?

The Sans air purifier has a three-stage filtration process: the pre-filter, a medical-grade HEPA 13 filter, and an activated carbon filter. It also has UV-C light - internal LED UV-C bulb, ensuring adequate air purification in your house, classroom, or office.

Pre-filter: This is the first in the line of defense in our air purifier. It captures bigger particles, like dust, hair, and pollen, before the particles reach the other layers. Doing this allows the different layers to do their work more efficiently.

HEPA 13 filter: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are mechanical filters that capture harmful microscopic particles by forcing air through a tight web of fibers.

This type of HEPA filtration is medically graded and thus very powerful in trapping toxic and minute airborne particles, better protecting your home. Moreover, the filter removes microscopic particles: 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns and 99.95% of particles down to 0.1 microns.

Activated carbon filter: Volatile organic compounds and other harmful gasses still float in the air after the pre-filter and HEPA-13 filters have captured other particles. In this stage, the activated carbon filter neutralizes the gaseous pollutants still lingering in the air. The filter is also effective in removing unpleasant odors.

UV-C light: Internal LED UV-C bulb

These types of filters hold tremendous potential. Ensure that your purifier uses them!

What’s the Bottom Line?

Can indoor plants help clean the air you breathe? Very minimally, possibly. However, a quality air purifier is your best line of defense, hands down. Be sure to pay close attention to the inner workings of the purifiers you’re considering. They make a big difference in how well the system is able to function. If you’re ready to breathe easier and protect your health, shop with Sans today.