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What Can Animal Hair Do to My AC Filter?

Pets are an important part of many people’s lives. In fact, pets are usually considered part of the family, and we want to keep them well-cared for.

However, pet hair can adversely affect your air conditioning system. With proper maintenance, you can ensure adequate 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. Your air filter captures airborne contaminants, 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. Your filter’s effectiveness can be illustrated with its minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), which ranges from 1 to 20, with higher ratings indicating better filtration.

An air filter’s key purpose is the protection of the evaporator coil, blower motor and other delicate hardware from dirt and debris that could lead to problems. 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 Can Pet Hair Impact an HVAC System’s Air 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 can build up on the evaporator coil, blower motor, fan blades and other components, slowing them down and reducing efficiency. Hair can also mix with condensation formed during air conditioning, creating a breeding ground for microorganisms, which can produce foul odors and lower indoor air quality.

Even when the filter is already in place, pet hair can still lead to problems. When return airflow draws it toward the HVAC system, the filter captures the hair as it passes, keeping it from landing on sensitive cooling components. That being said, eventually the filter will clog, putting extra strain on the HVAC system. Without maintenance, high energy bills and frequent breakdowns may be right behind.

What About Animal Dander?

Pet dander, made up of microscopic skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common cause of 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

You can take steps to maintain the efficiency of your air conditioner, even with pets living in your home. Here’s how:

  • Stick to a regular schedule when cleaning or replacing the filter: Depending on the number of pets and the filter’s specific design, you should try to replace it after 30 to 90 days. Check it every month and replace it when it starts to appear clogged.
  • Keep ventilation clear: Pet hair can accumulate on air registers and grilles, limiting circulation. You can clean them with the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner as often as needed. Then, call a professional for cleaning out the collected pet hair, dander and dust in the air ducts every few years.
  • Groom your pets: Regular brushing and bathing reduces the hair and dander your pets generate. Brush your pets outside when possible and sweep the area when you’re done to stop hair from just drifting back inside.
  • Consistently vacuum and dust: Not all pet hair ends up in the HVAC system. A lot of it settles on surfaces around the house. Proper cleaning should include vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and washing any pet beds.
  • Don’t let debris collect near the outdoor unit: Central HVAC systems need an outdoor unit secured to a concrete slab somewhere along an exterior wall of the home. Clear away any accumulated debris, such as pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and other forms of yard waste. This encourages normal heat transfer for more efficient operation.
  • Schedule regular maintenance: Ideally, your local HVAC professional will inspect and maintain your air conditioning system every year, preferably in the spring. They’ll know how to find and resolve any small issues, clean internal components and provide recommendations about how to keep your air conditioner running efficiently with pets.

Get in Touch with 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 personalized recommendations on the best solution. We sell and service many quality indoor air quality products designed to minimize 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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