How To Maintain Your HVAC System If You Own Pets

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Pet Hair in your Living Environment

Billions of people around world are happy owners of furry friends. Whether the pet is small or large, they provide warm comfort and love you unconditionally. They also produce an enormous amount of pet hair in your living environment whenever you play with them. When you clean your pet’s cage or sleep area, pet dander and hair get airborne. The debris lands on your curtains and furniture and creates a layer of dust on surfaces. Whenever you move about, these particles are disturbed and they become airborne again, eventually getting into your HVAC system.

This is a big problem especially if there is someone in your household with allergies. The pet dander is in the air everywhere and it does not go away by vacuuming. Your HVAC system does help in capturing this contaminated air and returns filtered air. However, due to the amount of shedding from your pets, you must diligently take proper care of your HVAC system so it can continue to perform well in improving your air quality.

warm home

Below are some tips on how you can take care of your pet, your HVAC system, and your home’s air quality at the same time.

Treat Your Pet to Regular Brushing Sessions

Experts agree that the most effective way to minimize pet hair in your ventilation system is by brushing your pet frequently. Brushing your pet can be an enjoyable time to bond with your pet. The brush catches the hair or discards it onto the floor which you can vacuum up. A small amount of hair might still get airborne, but the amount is far less than what comes off of your dog or cat’s body when it moves around in your home. The more you brush, the more loose fur strands you can pick up and discard. That means less fur gets into the air and into your vents.

For your pet grooming, pick a spot where you have a hard floor or take your pet to your porch. As you brush, you can see the fur fall to the ground. You can clean up fur debris from a hard surface easily. In addition, if you groom your pet outdoors, the loose fur will float away into the wind and not be trapped inside your house.

Replace Your HVAC Filters Regularly

Pet hair and dander can accumulate in your filters and clog them quickly. Because of that, pet owners should change their air filters more frequently than households that do not own pets. Filter manufacturers have recommendations on how frequently you should change an air filter, but that is usually for normal interior environments without the added contaminants like pet fur and dander. As a rule of thumb, pet owners should replace their filter a couple of weeks sooner than the recommended interval. Do a visual check of your filters regularly. If you see it covered with pet hair, change it, and mark the date on your calendar. After a few changes, you will get an idea of how long a filter lasts in your home.

Adjust the Filter Change Frequency to the Amount of Shedding

It is common for pets to shed more during spring because animals naturally shed their winter coats. That means changing your filters more often in the spring. When you brush your pet, notice how much fur comes off. In the spring, your brushing sessions need to be longer and more often in order to get all of the loose fur.

clean air filter

Upgrade Your Air Filter

The most common allergen in the air is pet dander. Among all of the people who have allergies, 20% of them are affected by pet dander. These people need an air filter with a higher MERV rating.

MERV is an acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This is a measure of how efficient the air filter is. The higher the rating, the better filtration the air filter provides. Filters for a standard house are rated 5 to 8 on the MERV scale. If you want one that captures allergens, get filters rated at 10 to 12. The higher quality filters are able to capture tiny particulates like pet dander and hang on to them so they cannot circulate back into the air as dust.

Put a Fence Around Your AC Unit Outside

If your backyard is a play area for your dog, protect your AC unit at the side of your house. Dogs are curious about this structure and often like to play around it. However, this brings up two concerns around your AC unit. First, dog hair can get into the AC unit vents. The AC condenser sucks in air from the outside and circulates it to the indoor environment. When your dog or cat rubs against it, they leave their fur on the unit which gets sucked in. This will clog the unit. The dander will get transported into the house through the HVAC system.

The second concern is that the dog might mark your AC unit by urinating on it. Dogs like to mark things that stand upright like trees, telephone poles, and AC condensers. Overtime, the acid in the urine can eat through the metal fins. To prevent this, it is a good idea to construct a fence a couple of feet around the AC unit or train the pet to know this area is off limits.

Give Your House a Thorough Vacuuming Regularly

Your HVAC system is designed with intake vents that suck in the air inside your house so it can filter out allergens, dust, hairs, and particulates before returning clean air. However, the filter can get clogged very quickly. You can extend the life of your filters by vacuuming up as much pet hair as possible from your HVAC vents. Every time you brush your furry friend, fur and dander float into the air and land on your furniture and carpet. You must follow up with a thorough vacuuming so the fur and dander that landed on your furniture and carpet will not accumulate and get airborne again when you move around in your space.

Pay special attention to the edges and corners of each room because the vacuum rollers cannot get to those areas. Use your vacuum’s edge tool to get into the nooks. Use an extension to vacuum under furniture. The more thorough you are in vacuuming your house, the less debris will get airborne and end up in your HVAC system. This is another way to prolong the life of your filter.

dog in bed

Schedule an HVAC Maintenance Appointment Every Six Months

Your pet has an important role in your household, but they also cause more issues for your HVAC system through no fault of their own. Scheduling an HVAC maintenance check every six months is just something that you should do to keep your system running efficiently. The technician will inspect the system and do any necessary tune-ups. When the technician comes for the first time, make sure you tell him that you have a pet in the house so he can check for excessive pet hair in the system.

The technician will inspect the interior system as well as the AC unit outside. They will clean the parts and make any adjustments as needed. They will recommend what you need to do prevent pet hair from becoming a bigger problem, or they can reaffirm what you are doing if you have been keeping your system in great condition.

Your furry friend does not have to be a danger to your HVAC system if you maintain it properly, change your filters regularly, and brush your pet and vacuum often. Don’t let loose fur and pet dander spoil your enjoyment of your pet. By paying extra attention to your HVAC’s upkeep and scheduling regular maintenance visits every six months, you can enjoy your pet and clean air at home.

Contact us today for more advice on air filtration solutions for your home or to schedule your HVAC maintenance appointment.

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