What Can Animal Hair Do to My AC Filter?

A family pet is part of millions of families. In fact, pets are usually considered part of the family, and we want to have them around for many years-->

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

Your air filter is a key component of the 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 could be anywhere from 1 to 20, with higher ratings corresponding to stronger filtration.

Your filter is primarily responsible for protecting the evaporator coil, blower motor and other important parts from dirt and debris that could cause damage. An efficient enough filter also improves indoor air quality by reducing particulates in the air, which can cause allergies, asthma attacks and similar conditions.

How Does Pet Hair Affect Your HVAC System and Filter?

As pets shed, their hair becomes airborne and is drawn into 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, slowing them down and reducing efficiency. Hair can also encourage clogs if it interacts with the moisture inside your cooling, creating a breeding ground for microbes like mold, which give off 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. At the same time, this quickly clogs the filter up, 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, which consists of microscopic skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common allergen that causes respiratory problems for those suffering from allergies or asthma. You need a filter with a high MERV rating 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:

  • Change the filter regularly: Depending on the number of pets and the filter’s specific design, 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 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 in the air ducts every few years.
  • Bathe or brush away excess pet hair: Regular brushing and bathing minimizes the hair your pet leaves behind. Brush your pets outside when possible 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.
  • Don’t let debris collect near the outdoor unit: Central HVAC systems need an outdoor unit fixed to a concrete slab outside your 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.
  • Keep up with routine AC maintenance: Ideally, your local HVAC professional will inspect and maintain your cooling system once a year, preferably in the spring. They can find and resolve any small issues, clean internal components and share advice on keeping your air conditioner running efficiently with pets.

Contact for Indoor Air Quality Services

When you’re tired of excess pet hair affecting your HVAC system and indoor air quality, look to for tailored solutions and top-notch customer service. We offer a range of indoor air quality products best suited for combating pet hair and dander, like high-efficiency air filtration, whole-house ventilation and air duct cleaning. We can also maintain your HVAC system for maximum performance and efficiency. Enjoy the peace of mind 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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