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Frequently Asked Questions

Indoor Air Quality

Particulate Matters (PM) are mix of very small solid particles/liquid droplets in the air, varying in sizes. They are one of the most dangerous air pollutants and can cause death, severe respiratory diseases, asthma, lung cancer, etc.

Coarse dust particles (PM10) are 2.5 to 10 micrometers in diameter. These tiny particles which are about 30 times smaller than the width of a hair on your head are small enough to get inhaled past our defensive nose hairs and into our lungs.
Fine particles (PM2.5) are 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller. While PM10’s story ends at the lungs, PM2.5 can pass from our lungs into our blood supply and be carried throughout our bodies thereby making them “the invisible killer”.
CO2 is a by-product of combustion, as well as a result of the metabolic process in living organisms. At room temperature, carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless, faintly acidic-tasting, non-flammable gas.
O3 is a widespread outdoor air pollutant. It reacts with VOC and Nox to form a chemical reaction affecting indoor air quality.
VOCs are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. They are carcinogenic and are mostly found indoors. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to 10 times more) than outdoors. VOCs include a variety of chemicals like formaldehyde, Toluene, Acetone, Benzene, Trichloroethylene.
CH2O gas is colorless flammable and highly reactive at room temperature. Formaldehyde poses a great health threat because of the out gassing that occurs in new products and persists for many years. Formaldehyde settles in small cavities within the products. Over time the harmful vapors are discharged into the air. Formaldehyde irritates the mucous membranes of human beings, and high concentrations are intolerable.
CO is a colourless, non-irritant, odourless and tasteless toxic gas. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of carbonaceous fuels such as wood, petrol, coal, natural gas and kerosene. It is emitted by motor vehicles, heating and cooking appliances, and cigarette smoke.

ppm: parts per million

ppb: parts per billion

µg/m3: is micrograms of gaseous pollutant per cubic meter of ambient air

mg/m3: one milligram per cubic meter

µg versus mg

A milligram is generally abbreviated as mg.

One microgram is one millionth of a gram and one thousandth of a milligram. It is usually abbreviated as mcg or ug. Mcg and ug are the same

Conversion factors

At 760 mmHg and 20 oC, 1ppm = 1.165 mg/m3 and 1 mg/m3 = 0.858 ppm;

at 25 oC, 1 ppm = 1.145 mg/m3 and 1 mg/m3 = 0.873 ppm.

Indoor Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are one of the best ways to remove indoor air pollutants & clean your indoor air quality.
Passive filtration technology and Active filtration technology.
Passive filtration technology is age old and one of the safest technologies used in an air purifier. Air purifiers with good particulate filtration ensure that no particles come through in the air that is released from the purifier. These are more expensive because the filters need to be changed regularly. These machine filters simply block pollutants in the filters and allow the passage of clean air.
Active Purifier technology is primarily used these days. The filters here send out charged ions in the air i.e. chemically, change the molecular structure of the pollutants in the air, in the process, creating by-products of the very pollutants they are removing. Simply put, this technology plays with nature. Quite a lot of these cost effective air purifiers use some type of active filteration technology. These remove basic odours well, but are not capable of removing harmful gases like nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde & other VOCs.
Ideally air purifiers for homes should be bought having passive filteration technology.
Ideal parameter and features to be looked at are:
  1. Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) at a medium spead, where the noise level is acceptable and not high – it should be able to provide for atleast 2 air changes in one hour.
  2. HEPA filter quality: A good quality hepa filter is an important factor to consider. A true Hepa filter should be of H12 or H13 grade.
  3. Carbon filter: A good quality carbon filter weighing 500 grams or above.
  4. Pre-filter: a good washable pre-filter to take care of larger particles.
  5. Noise levels: Below 50 dB, at medium speed, should be acceptable.
  6. Indicator for filter change.
  7. Air quality indicator (PM2.5 / PM 10, CO2, etc).
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) can be calculated by measuring the volume of air of the room and dividing by CADR at medium spead. Ideally it should be minimum 2.
HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters capture particulate polluttants like PM 2.5, dirt, dust, pollen, viruses, moisture, bacteria. HEPA filters are the most important part of any air purifier and a key to clean air.
Carbon filters are used to remove odours & gases. They combat Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), like formardehyde. These are hazardous gases that normally pass through a HEPA. Activated carbon filters react with these hazardous gases to remove them from the air.
An activated carbon filter is effective at removing odours. They remove smells from tobacco smoke, pets, food, garbage etc.
On average, your air purifier would take 20 to 40 minutes to purify the air in a room. You should notice a difference in the room air quality after 20 minutes with a running air purifier.
The higher the speed of your air purifier, the more air it will take in and clean, because the speed of the fan inside the machine decides how many cubic feet of air per minute goes in through the machine or how much air it is able to clean. Once the air if clean, you can turn it to medium or low with reasonable noise levels.
Yes. When you have an air purifier running, it is essential that you keep your doors and windows closed just like when the air conditioner is running.
The best air purifier for someone with asthma is one with both a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. An air purifier with both filter types will remove particles and gaseous pollutants that can cause asthma.
No. Air purifiers prevent asthma symptoms and allergies by filtering out airborne allergens like pollen, dust, and animal dander. Purifiers are more of a preventive measure.

For any air purifier to be effective, it has to move the air. As such, there is no way to do this silently. However, with most air purifiers, there is a noise level setting that can be adjusted based on preference.

Indoor Air Plants

Bark is the outermost layers of stems and roots.
It is the part that is found above the leaves but below the flower. When the flower is budding, the bracts are folded up around it to protect it.
Multiple plants that have had their trunks woven together during growth, while they’re flexible.
It is a method in which plants are maintained at a small size and often set in miniature landscapes.
A type of storage root that includes cells that grow into leaves and flowers. Most bulbs are made of layered scales, like an onion’s. Leaves and flowering stems comes out from the centre of the top of a bulb.
A container, usually more attractive, in which a slightly smaller container in which the plants grow, can be placed. It usually do not have drainage holes, or sometimes also have matching saucer.
Callus are those cells that form over a plant’s wound or cut plant surface. Callus prevents the loss of plant while saving it from fungi, and bacteria.
Yellowing of leaves, due to lack of chlorophyll, this may be caused due to poor drainage, high alkalinity, or by nutritional deficiencies, environmental issue, or plant’s old age.
Coir is a natural fibre extracted from the outer husk of the coconut. It is used as a good substrate for soil less cultivation.
Distilled water is a purified water achieved by boiling the water. This can be used for watering plants as it is an impurity free source of irrigation.
Plant leaves collectively.
A frond is a large, divided leaf. (Leaf or leaf-like part of a palm, fern, or similar plant.)
A white mold growing over the surface of the plant and is usually a parasite, drawing nutrients from a plant. Overwatering is the main reason for mold growth in container pots.
Hydroponics or Hydroculture technique is also growing in popularity. A good number of plants can be grown through this system. This involves growing indoor plants in a watertight container filled with support substrate (without the use of soil). Water and nutrients are supplied below the surface of the substrate. The purpose of the substrate is not only to act as a support media for the plant, but also to assist the movement of water and nutrients to plant roots. Commonly used medium include expanded clay aggregates, coir, perlite, Vermiculite. Introduce water & nutrients through a water filled tube. Watering from the top may result in formation of salt crystals on the top layer of substrate. Hydroponics is much less messy since no soil is involved. Less frequent application of fertilizer is required and pest infestations is also greatly reduced.
Area that receives 5 or more hours of direct sunlight daily. It is the brightest category of light for plants.
Area that receive only couple of hours of direct sunlight in winter. Balance time it receives indirect or reflected light.
Area that mostly receives good, bright, indirect light without any direct sun.
Area that receives no direct sunlight; is mostly a bit dark even during afternoon.
Loam is soil made with a balance of the three main types of soil: sand, silt, and clay soil. As a general rule, loam soil should consist of equal parts of all three soil types. This combination of soil types creates the perfect soil texture for plant growth.
fertilizers contains micronutrients. Micronutrient includes elements like Boron (B), Chlorine (Cl), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Molybdenum (Mo), Nickel (Ni), Zinc (Zn).
A palmate compound leaf has its leaflets radiating outwards from the end of the petiole, like fingers off the palm of a hand. Petiole is a leaf stalk that attaches a leaf to the plant stem.
It is a dark brown, fibrous, acidic, organic matter that decomposes in peat bogs. The decomposition happens in a very long time. Peat moss can absorb water very well. Peat moss is mixed with other growing media and can be a good growing medium for soilless culture.
A plant that re-grows every 1-2 years through its natural life span after dying back and becoming dormant (or semi-dormant) for several weeks, or sometimes months.
Plantlets are young or small plants. Many plants such as spider plants naturally create stolons (stems) with plantlets on the ends as a form of asexual reproduction.
A leaf is a common organ of any plant. There are two main types of leaves: a simple leaf and a compound leaf. A simple leaf is the standard common leaf that grows on a branch or a stem. A leaflet refers to a small leaf or a leaf-like part of a compound leaf.
The place where leaves attach to stems. When cuttings are set to root, new roots usually emerge from the nodes.
The most common insects that affect indoor houseplants are mealybugs, scale insects, spider mites and aphids.
Trimming (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to encourage growth.
Main mass of roots located directly beneath the plants’ stem.
Transpiration is the evaporation of water from plant leaves.
Higher Transpiration rates help in the movement of toxin-filled air to the root zone where microbes in the soil can breakdown the gases into a source of food and energy.
Spathe leaf looks like a large flower petal, but it is actually a bract that surrounds a spike of tiny flowers.
Plants that store water in leaves, stems, or both.
Plant leaves, stem, fruit or flowers which appears to be white, cream or red or multi colour.
Many garden or soil mix do not have necessary constituents for proper growth of plant. So Vermiculite can be used as a substrate for growing seedlings. Mica-like material made from naturally occurring mineral deposits that lighten the texture of potting soil and improves its ability of moisture retention and drainage.
Plant whose stem requires support and that climbs by tendrils or twining or creeps along the ground, or the stem of such a plant. A vine is any plant with a growth habit of trailing or climbing stems, lianas or runners.
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Know Your Home Air

Gas heating systems, leaking chimneys, fire places emits carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other harmful pollutants. Plastics and common household cleaners, paints, paint thinner often placed under the kitchen sink, release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), when used and stored. Overheating of non-stick cookware releases toxic fumes. Pesticides we use in and around the home also release various chemical and semi-volatile compounds.


Harmful effects
Carbon monoxide causes headache, dizziness and fatigue. These often cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea, and can also damage the liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Fine particles are produced during all kinds of combustion which lead to acute and chronic effects to respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Pet dander and hair, carpet, rugs, upholstery furniture are main source of dust mites, fungus, and bacteria. A dirty filter of air conditioners acts as a reservoir for dirt, dust and other airborne contaminants that are continuously circulated back into your breathing air. Secondhand smoke from cigarettes, other tobacco products and mosquito coil emits VOC’s and formaldehyde and various particulate matters. CO2 released from our lungs is exhaled in the air which pollutes the air if the place is too crowded or there is less ventilation.


Harmful effects
All these can trigger coughing, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, dry mouth, vomiting,
digestive tract problems, depression, allergy and asthma attacks, and other respiratory illness.

Shower, faucets and other water sources are main cause of humidity and mold. Bathroom cleaners and personal care products like toothpaste, soaps, facial tissues, detergent, fabric softeners, air fresheners, deodorizers, hair sprays, disinfectants, are full of VOC’s and chemicals which emits harmful pollutants.


Harmful effects
Mold can cause allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory ailments. VOC’s and toxic chemicals released in the bathroom can causes eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea and respiratory problems. All these products release harmful pollutants while they are used also when they are stored.

A bedroom contains many sources of indoor air pollution. Mattress, pillow and blankets, soft toys, are the reservoirs of dust mites, fungi and bacteria. Furniture, carpets, paints and beauty product like hairspray, nail polishes, perfumes, deodorants etc off gas VOC, formaldehyde and toxic gases into the air.


Harmful effects
These pollutants make the air unhealthy which leads to allergy, asthma attacks, dizziness, headache, fatigue and other respiratory ailments.

Second-hand smoke
Second hand Smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning of tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars or pipes and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Passive smoking can lead to coughing, excess phlegm, and chest discomfort. NCI (National Cancer Institute) also notes that spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), cervical cancer, sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight, nasal sinus cancer, decreased lung function, exacerbation of cystic fibrosis, and negative cognitive and behavioral effects in children have been linked to ETS. Secondhand smoke exposure commonly occurs indoors, particularly in homes and cars. Secondhand smoke can move between rooms of a home and between apartment units.

Guest Bathroom

Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
The air filter in your HVAC system is the front line of defense against poor indoor air quality. A typical central heating and cooling system circulates over 1,000 cubic feet per minute of air through the filter. This means the entire air volume in your house passes through the filter multiple times every day. A dirty filter, however, can actually make indoor air quality worse by acting as a reservoir for dirt, dust and other airborne contaminants that are continuously circulated back into your breathing air. In addition to driving up your utility bill, a clogged air filter will allow all that dust and debris that should be filtered out to be re-circulated back into your home. This can cause chronic allergies and especially be dangerous for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

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