What Can Animal Hair Do to My AC Filter?

Pets are an important part of many people’s lives. 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. With proper maintenance, you can ensure adequate airflow and protect the cooling equipment from harm.

How Do AC Air Filters Work, and Why Are They Important?

Air filters are one of the most important parts of any forced-air HVAC system. It captures airborne particles, such as dust, pollen and pet hair, preventing these contaminants from circulating in your home. 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 could be anywhere from 1 to 20, with higher ratings corresponding to stronger filtration.

The primary purpose of an AC filter is to protect 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 keeping particles out of your indoor air, which can cause allergies, asthma attacks and similar conditions.

How Does Pet Hair Affect the Air Filter of My HVAC System?

When pets shed, their hair becomes airborne and may gradually reach the HVAC system through the return air ducts. When the filter is missing, pet hair can build up on the evaporator coil, blower motor, fan blades and other components, potentially stopping them from working efficiently. Hair can also become clogged with moisture found in the cooling system, creating a breeding ground for microorganisms which can produce 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 draws it toward the HVAC system, the filter does its job by trapping the hair and preventing it from landing on sensitive cooling components. That being said, eventually the filter will clog, limiting airflow and placing additional strain on the HVAC system. Without maintenance, 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 for those suffering from allergies or asthma. Filters with higher MERV ratings are more likely to effectively capture and remove dander, which is much smaller than pet hair.

How to Care for Your AC System and Filter with Pets

Fortunately, it isn't hard to protect the efficiency of your AC, 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 may need a new filter every 30 to 90 days. Keep an eye on it every month and replace it if you notice weaker airflow or can see evidence of a clog.
  • Keep ventilation clear: Pet hair collects on the air registers and grilles, reducing airflow. Trying cleaning these using 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 inside your ductwork every few years.
  • Groom your pets: Regular brushing and bathing minimizes the hair your pet leaves behind. 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: While it affects your HVAC system, pet hair can be found all throughout your home. A lot of it settles on surfaces or in corners. Proper cleaning should include vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and washing any pet beds.
  • Clear the area around the outdoor unit: Central air conditioning systems come with an outdoor unit secured to a concrete slab just outside the home. Keep the area around this unit free of debris, like pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves and other forms of yard waste. This ensures effective heat transfer for more efficient operation.
  • Don't ignore preventive maintenance: For best results, have a trusted HVAC technician inspect and maintain your cooling system once a year, preferably in the spring. They can find and resolve any small issues, clean key components and share advice on keeping your cooling system running efficiently with pets.

Contact [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 personalized recommendations on the best solution. We can direct you to the right indoor air quality products designed to minimize pet hair and dander, such as advanced 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.

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