What Can Animal Hair Do to My AC Filter?

Pets are an important part of many people’s lives. To be honest, our pets are usually considered a beloved member of the family and we want to keep them well-cared for.

Annoyingly, pet hair can adversely affect your air conditioning system. With proper maintenance, you can ensure adequate airflow and protect your cooling system from harm.

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. 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. There is lots of variety in the materials they use to accomplish this, including fiberglass, pleated and electrostatic. A filter’s effectiveness depends on its minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), which ranges 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 important parts from dirt and debris that could lead to problems. An efficient enough 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 the Air Filter of My HVAC System?

When 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 collects inside the evaporator coil, blower motor, fan blades and other components, slowing them down and reducing efficiency. 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 with a filter in place, pet hair isn’t harmless. When return airflow reaches the main HVAC system, the filter traps the hair and prevents it from landing on vulnerable cooling components. At the same time, this quickly clogs the filter up, 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. You need a filter with a high MERV rating to 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 type of filter and how many pets you have, you might need to replace it every 30 to 90 days. Keep an eye on it every month and replace it when it starts to appear clogged.
  • Keep ventilation clear: Pet hair gradually piles up against the 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 in the air ducts 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 when you’re done to stop hair from just drifting back 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 around the house. Keep up a regular cleaning routine that includes vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and laundering your pet’s bedding.
  • Clear the area around the outdoor unit: Central air conditioning systems come with an outdoor unit mounted to a concrete slab outside your home. Clear away any accumulated debris, like pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and similar materials. This encourages normal heat transfer for more efficient operation.
  • Keep up with routine AC maintenance: Ideally, your local HVAC professional will inspect and maintain your cooling system once a year, preferably in the spring. This professional can identify and fix small issues, clean internal components and provide recommendations about how to keep your air conditioner running efficiently with pets.

Get in Touch with for Indoor Air Quality Services

If you’re concerned about how your pets are affecting your HVAC system and indoor air quality, look to for expert advice and solutions. 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 our best to maintain your HVAC system’s performance and energy 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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