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What Can Animal Hair Do to My AC Filter?

A family pet is part of millions of families. You probably consider your dog or cat a beloved family member and want to have them around for many years-->

How Does an AC Filter Work, and Why is It So Important?

A filter is an important part of any forced-air HVAC system. The filter is the primary solution to capture 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. The overall effectiveness of an air filter can be measured with 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 delicate hardware from dirt and debris that could cause damage. At sufficient efficiency, the air filter also improves indoor air quality by minimizing particulate matter, which often contribute to allergies, asthma attacks and other respiratory issues in sensitive individuals.

How Can Pet Hair Impact an HVAC System’s Air Filter?

When pets shed, their hair becomes airborne and can eventually get into the HVAC system through the return air ducts. When the filter is missing, 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.

Even with a filter in place, pet hair isn’t harmless. When return airflow arrives at the HVAC system, the filter traps the hair and prevents it from landing on sensitive cooling components. That being said, eventually the filter will clog, putting extra 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 cause of respiratory problems for those suffering from allergies or asthma. You may benefit from a higher efficiency filter to ensure it can 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. Take a look at the filter each month and replace it when it starts to appear clogged.
  • Periodically clean the return air ducts: Pet hair collects on the air registers and grilles, limiting circulation. Clean these 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 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 afterward to prevent the hair from getting tracked 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 under furniture. 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 mounted to a concrete slab outside your home. Keep the area around this unit free of debris, such as pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and other objects. This ensures effective heat transfer for more efficient operation.
  • Keep up with routine AC maintenance: For best results, have a trusted HVAC technician inspect and maintain your cooling system once a year, preferably in the spring. They’ll know how to find and resolve any small issues, keep internal components clean and share advice on keeping your air conditioning running efficiently with pets.

Get in Touch with for Indoor Air Quality Services

If you want to minimize the impact your pets have on your HVAC system and indoor air quality, turn to for tailored solutions and top-notch customer service. We sell and service many quality indoor air quality products to help keep pet hair and dander at bay, such as advanced 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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