There’s nothing like the scent of a natural pine, spruce, or fir tree at Christmas. If you always have a real tree, and usually buy one that’s pre-cut, it’s wise to consider its effect on your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ).
Allergens, Air Quality and Christmas Trees
The trees available in most commercial tree lots are often cut, baled and bundled into refrigerated transport trucks weeks in advance. When you purchase one, you may be unwittingly exposing your family to allergens like:
- Mold that began to flourish while the tree is being transported. The packed conditions and humidity inside a transport truck provide an ideal environment for mold growth. After you take one of these trees home, the growth of molds like Penicillium, Cladosporium and Aspergillus can rapidly reach unhealthy levels.
- Grass and ragweed pollen that lands on the branches while a tree is still at the farm. Once a tree starts to dry out inside your home, that pollen becomes airborne again and causes misery for allergy sufferers.
Minimizing the Effect of a Christmas Tree on Your IAQ
If you feel that having a real tree to decorate is an essential part of your family’s Christmas, you can follow these steps to help minimize its adverse effects on your air quality:
- Before you take your tree indoors, use a leaf blower to lower the risk of pollen particles trapped in the branches. A mixture of bleach and water may also be used to wipe down the trunk.
- Rather than buy a pre-cut tree that probably harbors lots of mold spores, visit a local tree farm and cut your own fresh one.
- Have an air purifier added to your HVAC system to trap mold and pollen. As a bonus, it will also get rid of contaminants like VOCs, dust mites and pet dander.
- Dispose of the tree soon after Christmas to limit your exposure, since mold counts get higher over time.
- If you’re still concerned about preserving your air quality, there’s always the artificial tree option.
For more solutions to improve your home’s indoor air quality, contact us at Jackson & Sons.