Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Nephrolepis exaltata

Nephrolepis exaltata aka Boston fern is the best plant for removing Formaldehyde from the air and removed significantly more per hour than the rest of plants examined. Apart from Formaldehyde it can aslo remove xylene and toluene. It is an non toxic plant, so it’s baby and pet friendly.

It requires moisture and humidity to thrive, so the first thing you need to do is to make sure that it is in the right kind of environment. Boston fern needs a cool place with high humidity. If your house is dry add some extra humidity by setting your pant’s pot on a tray of pebbles filled with water. The best light conditions to provide is indirect sunlight, also filtered sunlight through net curtains works well too.

The Boston fern will grow fast in temperatures of 16-30°C (60- 86°F). No lower than 13ºC (55ºF).

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Build a Low cost PM Monitor

ourairquality

Low cost and quite precise DIY Particulate Matter Monitor. This DIY device will allow to measure PMs, Temperature, Humidity and Barometric Pressure for less than US $30.

I am not going to describe the whole process of building the device because it is well explained by the author at ourairquality.org. You can find a ton of information about the sensors and the electronics on his article.

  • It uses the Plantower PMS5003 which is a low cost laser particle counter ∼US $18.5
  • ESP8266 Nodemcu is a WiFi enabled computer board US $3.2
  • BME280 is a Temperature, Humidity and Barometric Pressure Sensor US $4.9
  • DS3231 is a Precision RTC Clock Module Memory US $2

  • It is Micro USB Powered

 

For more info visit: https://ourairquality.org/index.php/build-an-air-quality-monitor/

Review: Vogmask

mainvogmask

One more time I had the opportunity of getting a half face mask this time by Vogmask and of course I couldn’t resist not writing a review on my blog.

As I have already mentioned in my preview article effectiveness and elegance are the key points of my evaluation.

Many people are spending a lot of time during the day travelling from one destination to an other on foot or by bike or by car/public transportation. There are 1.25 Billion Vehicles on World’s Roads right now and they increase steadily. (There is an estimation of 2 Billion Vehicles by 2035).

What kind of pollutants do we face everyday: Particulate matter (PM), Hydrocarbons (HC), Nitrogen oxides (NOx), Carbon monoxide (CO), Carbon dioxide (CO2), Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and other air pollutants/toxics such as Benzene, acetaldehyde, and 1,3-butadiene.

Characteristics

Vogmask offers the N99 respirators (Not oil resistant), with options of a carbon filter layer (C), and an exhale valve (V). I have the N99CV.  These respirators are made to seal tightly around the mouth and nose and they are made of material certified to block 99% of particles 0.3 μm or larger in diameter including PM2.5.

  • Outer layer Faceblank of non woven microfiber
  • Filter media of Nanofiber PP Filtering Textile middle layer
  • Filter layer of Active Carbon coconut shell derived charcoal bonded to textile 
  • Exhalation Valve of ABS Resin with silicone stopper
  • Nosebridge of coated aluminum wire
  • Trim and ear loops of latex-free spandex
  • Inner layer Faceblank (comfort inner layer closest to lips) of woven microfiber

Design

They have a huge collection of print designs which meet everyone’s taste. Of course all face masks are noticeable. The materials are soft to the touch and face. The mask doesn’t touch your lips and mouth.

Effectiveness

The exhale valve is quite big and helps a lot with the moist that may build while you are breathing, in my case I will rate the valve at 85% efficient. I have a beard and facial hair is enough to break the seal and let in particles and gases. They have a solution for that. The Head Strap Accessory which snaps onto the ear loops of the Vogmask for a tighter seal and more security. I have been wearing the mask during three weeks now while I am riding my bike or motorcycle and I have noticed that I don’t smell anymore some of the gasses that come out of the cars or buses.

The mask is CE Certified reusable which means that you can rinse it with water and liquid soap. Although it may work with the Nanofiber PP Filtering, I think the Active Charcoal filter won’t work as well as a new one, because a lot of the nano pores that trap gases will clog up by the impurities and minerals of the water.

It is designed to last up to 3 years but it is recommended to replaced it after 4 months when a sudden increase in inhalation resistance is noticeable. In this case the middle filtering layer is saturated with particles and the mask needs to be replaced.

Conclusions

All in all it doesn’t require extra effort to breathe with the mask and the exhale valve helps a lot with the moist. The maintenance is minimum but recommended after a while. Good filtration against street air pollutants.

Quick update: Cooking without extractor hood

This is what happens when you cook without extractor hood. In the graph below you can see a huge spike on the PM sensor, this is because my extractor hood in the kitchen has broken and I had to cook without it. Immediately the air quality went down.

The air quality monitor was 2 rooms away from the kitchen, so always ventilate the kitchen by using an extractor hood. Tip by closing the lid of the pot/pan you decrease dramatically the release of PMs into the atmosphere.

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4 Plants to reduce indoor Humidity

humidityplants

When indoor relative humidity is higher than RH:65% this will allow bacteria and mold to grow. You can always purchase a dehumidifier and it works like charm but it will cost you a lot on electricity, so plants come to the rescue. Some plants are capable of absorbing indoor humidity and use this kind of moist for their own good.

Tropical plants called epiphytes like Tillandsia, Boston Fern, English Ivy and Peace Lily are plants that get some or all their water from the air instead their roots.

Tillandsia: A plant that can survive without roots, so it can absorb water from the air.

English Ivy: It can remove the airborne mold typically found in humid areas.

Boston Fern: Thrives in more moist climates, so it will naturally absorb some of the humidity in your home.

Peace Lily: The least potent plant for humidity because it is a watered plant, but it will also absorb moisture from the air through its leaves.

A few plants won’t solve the problem of too much humidity in your house, but they can help and alleviate some. Please don’t over do it on the other hand, and try to find a balance between them.