What Can Animal Hair Do to My AC Filter?

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-->

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, keeping them from reaching other rooms or areas of the property. There is lots of variety in the materials they use to accomplish this, 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 illustrating maximum efficiency. 

Your filter is primarily responsible for protecting the evaporator coil, blower motor and other delicate hardware from dirt and debris that could cause damage. An efficient enough filter also improves indoor air quality by reducing particulates in the air, which could lead to allergies, asthma attacks and other breathing problems. 

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

While animals are shedding, their hair becomes airborne and is drawn 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, 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 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 captures the hair as it passes, keeping 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 maintenance, higher energy bills and more repair visits could be likely. 

What About Animal Dander? 

Pet dander, which consists of small skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common cause of 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 

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 total number of pets as well as the filter’s efficiency, you may need a new filter every 30 to 90 days. Take a look at the filter each month and replace it when a clog appears. 
  • Clean your air vents and ductwork: Pet hair gradually piles up against the 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 minimizes the hair your pet leaves behind. Brush your pets outside when possible and sweep the area afterward to prevent the hair from getting tracked 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. 
  • Keep the area around the outdoor unit clear: Central air conditioners feature an outdoor unit secured to a concrete slab outside your home. Keep the area around this unit free of debris, like pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and similar materials. This helps maintain consistent heat transfer for more efficient operation. 
  • Don’t ignore preventive maintenance: An HVAC technician should inspect and maintain your air conditioning system every year, preferably in the spring. They can identify and fix small issues, clean internal components and provide recommendations about how to keep your cooling system running efficiently with pets. 

Contact for Indoor Air Quality Services 

If you’re concerned about how your pets are affecting 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 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 today

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