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What Can Animal Hair Do to My AC Filter?

Pets can be found in millions of homes. You probably consider your dog or cat a beloved family member and want to keep them well-cared for.

Unfortunately, pet hair usually has a negative impact on the efficiency of your air conditioning system. But with routine maintenance, you’ll help preserve steady airflow and protect your cooling system from harm.

How Does an AC Filter Work, and Why is It So Important?

A filter is an important part of any forced-air HVAC system. The filter is the primary solution to capture airborne particles, such as dust, pollen and pet hair, keeping them from reaching other rooms or areas of the property. Various designs can be used effectively, including fiberglass, pleated and electrostatic. A filter’s effectiveness depends on its minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), which is rated on a scale from 1 to 20, with higher ratings illustrating maximum efficiency.

An air filter’s key purpose is the protection of the evaporator coil, blower motor and other cooling system components from dirt and debris that could cause damage. At sufficient efficiency, the air filter also improves indoor air quality by reducing particulates in the air, which could lead to allergies, asthma attacks and similar conditions.

How Can Pet Hair Impact an HVAC System’s Air Filter?

When pets shed, their hair becomes airborne and may gradually reach the HVAC system through the return air ducts. Without a filter installed, pet hair collects inside the evaporator coil, blower motor, fan blades and other components, potentially stopping them from working efficiently. Hair can also encourage clogs if it interacts with the moisture inside your cooling, creating a breeding ground for microorganisms, which can produce foul odors and lower indoor air quality.

Even with a filter in place, pet hair can still lead to problems. When return airflow arrives at the HVAC system, the filter traps the hair and prevents it from landing on sensitive cooling components. At the same time, this quickly clogs the filter up, putting extra strain on the HVAC system. Without intervention, high energy bills and frequent breakdowns may be right behind.

What About Animal Dander?

Pet dander, consisting of microscopic skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common allergen that causes respiratory problems in people with 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

Maintaining an efficient, properly functioning air conditioner is certainly possible, even with pets living in your home. Here’s how:

  • Stick to a regular schedule when cleaning or replacing the filter: Depending on the total number of pets as well as the filter’s efficiency, you should try to replace it after 30 to 90 days. Check it every month and replace it when it starts to appear clogged.
  • Clean your air vents and ductwork: Pet hair can accumulate on air registers and grilles, limiting circulation. Trying cleaning these using the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner as often as needed. Then, hire a professional to remove built-up pet hair, dander and dust inside your ductwork every few years.
  • Bathe or brush away excess pet hair: Regular brushing and bathing is a great strategy for reducing pet hair. Keep the brushing outdoors and sweep the area after you’ve finished to keep any hair from getting back inside.
  • Consistently vacuum and dust: Pet hair can be found in pretty much every room of a house. A lot of it settles on surfaces around the house. Keep up a regular cleaning routine that includes vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and laundering your pet’s bedding.
  • Clear the area around the outdoor unit: Central air conditioners feature an outdoor unit mounted to a concrete slab just outside the home. Clear away any accumulated debris, such as pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and similar materials. This encourages normal heat transfer for more efficient operation.
  • Schedule regular maintenance: For best results, have a trusted HVAC technician inspect and maintain the air conditioner annually, preferably in the spring. They can identify and fix small issues, keep internal components clean and share advice on keeping your air conditioner running efficiently with pets.

Call for Indoor Air Quality Services

If you want to minimize the impact your pets have on your HVAC system and indoor air quality, choose for expert advice and solutions. We sell and service many quality 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 whatever it takes to keep getting the most from your air conditioning. Rest assured that everything we do is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To request indoor air quality services in North America, please contact today.

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