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 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. 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. The overall effectiveness of an air filter can be measured with its minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), which ranges from 1 to 20, with higher ratings corresponding to stronger filtration. 

An air filter’s key purpose is the protection of the evaporator coil, blower motor and other cooling system components from dirt and debris that could lead to problems. At sufficient efficiency, the air filter also improves indoor air quality by reducing particulates in the air, which often contribute to allergies, asthma attacks and other respiratory issues in sensitive individuals. 

How Does Pet Hair Affect Your HVAC System and Filter? 

As pets shed, their hair becomes airborne and may gradually reach the HVAC system through the return air ducts. If there isn’t a filter in place, pet hair accumulates within 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 microbes like mold, which give off 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 captures the hair as it passes, keeping it from landing on vulnerable cooling components. That being said, eventually the filter will clog, decreasing airflow and increasing strain on the HVAC system. Without exchanging or cleaning the filter, you may experience higher energy bills and more frequent breakdowns. 

What About Animal Dander? 

Pet dander, which consists of small 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 

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 number of pets and the filter’s specific design, you might need to replace it every 30 to 90 days. Keep an eye on it every month and replace it when a clog appears. 
  • Clean your air vents and ductwork: Pet hair can accumulate on air registers and grilles, reducing airflow. You can clean them with 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 reduces the hair and dander your pets generate. Keep the brushing outdoors 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 or under furniture. Keep up a regular cleaning routine that includes vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and washing any pet beds. 
  • Don’t let debris collect near the outdoor unit: Central air conditioners feature an outdoor unit fixed to a concrete slab just outside the home. Keep the area around this unit free of debris, including pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and other objects. This encourages normal 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. This professional can find and resolve any small issues, keep internal components clean and offer tips to keep 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, choose for expert advice and solutions. We offer a range of indoor air quality products to help keep pet hair and dander at bay, including high-end 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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