Understanding Pet Ownership and HVAC Maintenance

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These days, pets are essentially family members, with over 85 million families (or 68% of all households) in America having a pet. Certain pets—mainly cats and dogs—pose a problem on your heating and air conditioning unit, and this is because of their fur.

Pets shed their fur and dander occasionally, which can trigger allergies in people. Furthermore, these pet hair and microscopic flecks of skin can clog air vents and filters, making them inefficient. This only results in high power bills and may even put you at risk for fires. To avoid these problems, it’s your duty as a responsible pet owner to engage in pet-friendly HVAC maintenance.

Here are a few ways to make the air in your home breathable even if you have a lot of furry friends around:

Mind Your Filters

One of the biggest impacts of pet ownership in the context of HVAC operation is on your air filters. These filters trap contaminants in the ambient air that you would otherwise inhale, and a clogged filter will not be able to catch pollutants as clean one can. Your maintenance cycles for your filter will increase with the number of pets; for example, in a household with three or more pets, you will need you to replace or wash your filter every 30-45 days. In any case, no matter how many pets you have, it’s a good idea to inspect your filter every month.

HEPA filters can indeed help, but you may have to ask help from professional HVAC contractors. Salt Lake City has several and can advise you on filter modification. They may also suggest washable or reusable filters instead of throwing one out every four weeks or so.

Clean Your Ducts

In a centralized air conditioning system, pet dander will invariably find its way into the ducts and clog it. This is an even more significant concern than dirty filters, as dander that finds its way into your ducts will get recirculated all over your home. People who report allergies to dogs are not allergic to their fur or hair but their dander, so it’s a bad idea to let dander sit in your ducts for too long. Inspect your ductwork every couple of years and have it cleaned by a professional HVAC contractor.

Vacuum Away

Do you know the best way to keep fur and dander away from filters and ducts? Vacuum them. Pay special attention to your pet’s favorite spots, especially your carpet. Choose a portable or cordless vacuum cleaner that can get the worst of the culprits or at least one with special fittings that can reach into every nook and cranny. Whatever you choose, though, buy a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter if you have pets; this requirement is non-negotiable.

Groom Your Pets

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Finally and even better than vacuuming stray hair around is to keep your pets groomed. Trim their fur once in a while. If you have a dog, it’s advisable to brush them outdoors. Not only do you reduce dog hair, but you also help them have a healthy coat. That said, only bathe dogs once every 2-3 months, unless they have gotten into something filthy, and remember to blow-dry them afterward to remove loose hairs.

You don’t have to choose between an HVAC unit and a pet. Just follow these pieces of advice, and you and your pet can enjoy a more comfortable life indoors.