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For Better Air Quality, Real Tree or Artificial?

Posted on December 03, 2013
by Wendy Stackhouse

Live Christmas Trees

Did you get your holiday tree last weekend? You may be putting it off a little while longer, but I’m starting to see photos on Facebook. Do you always get a real tree? Or do you have an artificial tree in the basement that you bring out every December? Indoor air quality issues can arise from either option:

Pros for real trees:

  • That lovely pine smell in the house
  • Recyclable
  • Can support a local grower or charity
  • A live tree can be planted after the holidays and actually improves the air in your home.

Cons for real trees:

  • Messy
  • Cut trees can’t be replanted
  • Can bring mold, other contaminants or insect pests into your home
  • Fire hazard

Pros for artificial trees:

  • Buy it once, use for many years
  • No need for disposal after the holidays
  • Don’t bring in outside contaminants
  • More design choices

Cons for artificial trees:

  • Manufacturing and shipping have a large carbon footprint
  • Storage space
  • Less traditional
  • May be made from allergenic materials

I am partial to real trees and last year found a company from which you can rent a live tree and those trees can be used again and again. If you choose a real tree, make sure to keep it well watered. Most house fires related to holiday trees occur because the tree has been allowed to dry out. It’s also recommended that you hose off the tree outside before bringing it in to remove any mold. Use of LED lights is also recommended for real trees, as they generate less heat than traditional bulbs as well as use less energy.

So which is better, real or artificial? The answer is it depends!

Happy tree shopping!

Wendy Stackhouse has been the Online Community Manager for AirTek and our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, which offers residential and commercial cleaning, pest control, demolition, structural pasteurization and many other environmental services, since October of 2011. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more updates on indoor air challenges!

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