Pets can be found in millions of homes. You probably consider your dog or cat a beloved family member and want to have them around for many years.
Annoyingly, pet hair usually has a negative impact on the efficiency of your air conditioning system. But with routine maintenance, you can ensure adequate airflow and protect your air conditioner from harm.
How Do AC Air Filters Work, and Why Are They Important?
Your air filter is a key component of the HVAC system. It captures airborne particles, such as dust, pollen and pet hair, preventing these contaminants from circulating in your home. AC filters come in many different versions, including fiberglass, pleated and electrostatic. A filter’s effectiveness depends os its minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), which could be anywhere from 1 to 20, with higher ratings corresponding to stronger filtration.
Your filter is primarily responsible for protecting the evaporator coil, blower motor and other cooling system components from dirt and debris that could cause damage. An efficient enough filter also improves indoor air quality by minimizing particulate matter, which could lead to allergies, asthma attacks and other respiratory issues in sensitive individuals.
How Does Pet Hair Affect Your HVAC System and Filter?
When pets shed, their hair becomes airborne and is drawn into the HVAC system through the return air ducts. If there isn't a filter in place, pet hair accumulates within the evaporator coil, blower motor, fan blades and other components, reducing their efficiency and life span. Hair can also mix with condensation formed during air conditioning, creating a breeding ground for microbes like mold, which give off foul odors and lower indoor air quality.
But even if you have an air filter installed, pet hair can still lead to problems. When return airflow reaches the main HVAC system, the filter traps the hair and prevents it from landing on vulnerable cooling components. However, this clogs the filter more quickly than usual, putting extra strain on the HVAC system. Without exchanging or cleaning the filter, higher energy bills and more repair visits could be likely.
What About Animal Dander?
Pet dander, which consists of tiny skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common cause of respiratory problems for those suffering from allergies or asthma. You may benefit from a higher efficiency filter to ensure it can effectively capture and remove dander, which is much smaller than pet hair.
How to Care for Your AC System and Filter with Pets
You can take steps to maintain the efficiency of your air conditioner, even with pets living in your home. Here’s how:
- Change the filter regularly: Depending on the total number of pets as well as the filter's efficiency, you may need a new filter every 30 to 90 days. Keep an eye on it every month and replace it when a clog appears.
- Clean your air vents and ductwork: Pet hair gradually piles up against the air registers and grilles, reducing airflow. Clean these with the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner as often as needed. Then, hire a professional to remove built-up pet hair, dander and dust in the air ducts every few years.
- Keep pets well-groomed: Regular brushing and bathing reduces the hair and dander your pets generate. Brush your pets outside when possible and sweep the area afterward to prevent the hair from getting tracked inside.
- Consistently vacuum and dust: Not all pet hair ends up in the HVAC system. A lot of it settles on surfaces or under furniture. Proper cleaning should include vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and laundering your pet’s bedding.
- Keep the area around the outdoor unit clear: Central air conditioning systems come with an outdoor unit fixed to a concrete slab just outside the home. Clear away any accumulated debris, including pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves and similar materials. This helps maintain consistent heat transfer for more efficient operation.
- Don't ignore preventive maintenance: Ideally, your local HVAC professional will inspect and maintain your air conditioning system every year, preferably in the spring. They can find and resolve any small issues, clean key components and offer tips to keep your cooling system running efficiently with pets.
Call [companyname] for Indoor Air Quality Services
If you want to minimize the impact your pets have on your HVAC system and indoor air quality, choose [companyname] for expert advice and solutions. We can direct you to the right indoor air quality products best suited for combating pet hair and dander, including high-end air filtration, whole-house ventilation and air duct cleaning. We'll do our best to maintain your HVAC system's performance and energy efficiency. You can rest easy with the knowledge that everything we do is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To request indoor air quality services in North America, please contact [companyname] today.