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 keep them well-cared for.

Unfortunately, pet hair usually has a negative impact on the efficiency of your air conditioning system. But with routine maintenance, you can ensure adequate airflow and protect your cooling system from harm.

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

A filter is an important part 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. AC filters come in many different versions, 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 indicating better filtration.

The primary purpose of an AC filter is to protect the evaporator coil, blower motor and other important parts from dirt and debris that could cause damage. At sufficient efficiency, the air filter also improves indoor air quality by keeping particles out of your indoor air, which often contribute to allergies, asthma attacks and similar conditions.

How Does Pet Hair Affect Your HVAC System and Filter?

While animals are shedding, their hair becomes airborne and can eventually get 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 mix with condensation formed during air conditioning, 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 arrives at the HVAC system, the filter does its job by trapping the hair and preventing it from landing on vulnerable cooling components. However, this clogs the filter more quickly than usual, decreasing airflow and increasing strain on the HVAC system. Without intervention, higher energy bills and more repair visits could be likely.

What About Animal Dander?

Pet dander, made up of microscopic skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common allergen that causes respiratory problems in people with 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

Maintaining an efficient, properly functioning air conditioner is certainly possible, even with pets living in your home. Here’s how:

    • Stick to a regular schedule when cleaning or replacing the filter: Depending on the type of filter and how many pets you have, you might need to replace it every 30 to 90 days. Check it every month and replace it if you notice weaker airflow or can see evidence of a clog.
    • Clean your air vents and ductwork: Pet hair can accumulate on air registers and grilles, reducing airflow. Clean these 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 inside your ductwork every few years.
    • Keep pets well-groomed: Regular brushing and bathing minimizes the hair your pet leaves behind. Keep the brushing outdoors and sweep the area afterward to prevent the hair from getting tracked 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 or in corners. 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 somewhere along an exterior wall of the home. Keep the area around this unit free of debris, like pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and other objects. This ensures effective heat transfer for more efficient operation.
    • Keep up with routine AC maintenance: An HVAC technician should inspect and maintain the air conditioner annually, preferably in the spring. They’ll know how to identify and fix small issues, clean key components and provide recommendations about how to keep your cooling system running efficiently with pets.

Call for Indoor Air Quality Services

When you’re tired of excess pet hair affecting your HVAC system and indoor air quality, choose for personalized recommendations on the best solution. We can direct you to the right 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’ll do whatever it takes to keep getting the most from your air conditioning. 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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