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?

A filter is an important part of any forced-air HVAC system. It captures airborne particles, 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 ranges from 1 to 20, with higher ratings indicating better filtration.

Your filter is primarily responsible for protecting the evaporator coil, blower motor and other delicate hardware from dirt and debris capable of damaging them. 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 breathing problems.

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. Without a filter installed, pet hair can build up on the evaporator coil, blower motor, fan blades and other components, potentially stopping them from working efficiently. Hair can also become clogged with moisture found in the cooling system, creating a breeding ground for mold and bacteria that can generate foul odors and lower indoor air quality.

Even when the filter is already in place, pet hair can still lead to problems. When return airflow reaches the main HVAC system, the filter traps the hair and prevents it from landing on sensitive cooling components. At the same time, this quickly clogs the filter up, limiting airflow and placing additional strain on the HVAC system. Without maintenance, you may experience higher energy bills and more frequent breakdowns.

What About Animal Dander?

Pet dander, consisting of small skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common allergen that causes 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

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 type of filter and how many pets you have, you may need a new filter every 30 to 90 days. Check 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, preventing proper ventilation. 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 inside your ductwork every few years.
  • Keep pets well-groomed: Regular brushing and bathing is a great strategy for reducing pet hair. 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 conditioning systems come with an outdoor unit secured to a concrete slab outside your home. Keep the area around this unit free of debris, including pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and similar materials. This encourages normal heat transfer for more efficient operation.
  • Schedule regular maintenance: Ideally, your local HVAC professional will inspect and maintain your air conditioning system every year, preferably in the spring. This professional can 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

If you want to minimize the impact your pets have on your HVAC system and indoor air quality, turn to for personalized recommendations on the best solution. We can direct you to the right 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 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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