A family pet is part of millions of families. To be honest, our pets are usually considered a beloved member of the family and we want to have them around for many years.
Unfortunately, pet hair can be a constant struggle as it affects your air conditioning system. But with routine maintenance, you'll help preserve steady airflow and protect the cooling equipment from harm.
How Does an AC Filter Work, and Why is It So Important?
Your air filter is a key component of the HVAC system. Your air filter captures airborne contaminants, such as dust, pollen and pet hair, preventing these contaminants from circulating in your home. There is lots of variety in the materials they use to accomplish this, including fiberglass, pleated and electrostatic. The overall effectiveness of an air filter can be measured with its minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), which is rated on a scale from 1 to 20, with higher ratings illustrating maximum efficiency.
The primary purpose of an AC filter is to protect 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 minimizing particulate matter, which often contribute to allergies, asthma attacks and other respiratory issues in sensitive individuals.
How Does Pet Hair Affect the Air Filter of My HVAC System?
As pets shed, their hair becomes airborne and can eventually get into the HVAC system through the return air ducts. When the filter is missing, pet hair collects inside 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 mold and bacteria that can generate foul odors and lower indoor air quality.
Even with a filter in place, pet hair can still lead to problems. When return airflow draws it toward the HVAC system, the filter traps the hair and prevents it from landing on delicate cooling components. However, this clogs the filter more quickly than usual, 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 small skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common allergen that causes 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
Maintaining an efficient, properly functioning air conditioner is certainly possible, even with pets living in your home. Here’s how:
- Change the filter regularly: Depending on the type of filter and how many pets you have, you may need a new filter every 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, preventing proper ventilation. 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 in the air ducts every few years.
- Groom your pets: Regular brushing and bathing reduces the hair and dander your pets generate. Keep the brushing outdoors 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 or in corners. 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. Keep the area around this unit free of debris, such as pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves and other objects. This ensures effective heat transfer for more efficient operation.
- Schedule regular maintenance: For best results, have a trusted HVAC technician inspect and maintain your cooling system once a year, preferably in the spring. They can identify and fix small issues, clean key components and share advice on keeping your cooling system running efficiently with pets.
Contact [companyname] for Indoor Air Quality Services
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