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 keep them well-cared for.

Annoyingly, pet hair can be a constant struggle as it affects your air conditioning system. But if you keep up with maintenance, you can ensure adequate airflow and protect the cooling equipment from harm.

How Does an AC Filter Work, and Why is It So 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 is rated on a scale from 1 to 20, with higher ratings corresponding to stronger filtration.

The primary purpose of an AC filter is to protect the evaporator coil, blower motor and other delicate hardware from dirt and debris that could cause damage. An efficient enough filter also improves indoor air quality by minimizing particulate matter, which could lead to allergies, asthma attacks and other breathing problems.

How Does Pet Hair Affect the Air Filter of My HVAC System?

When pets shed, their hair becomes airborne and is drawn into the HVAC system through the return air ducts. If there isn’t a filter in place, 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 encourage clogs if it interacts with the moisture inside your cooling, 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 arrives at the HVAC system, the filter captures the hair as it passes, keeping it from landing on sensitive cooling components. However, this clogs the filter more quickly than usual, putting extra strain on the HVAC system. Without maintenance, you may experience higher energy bills and more frequent breakdowns.

What About Animal Dander?

Pet dander, made up of small skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common cause of respiratory problems in people with 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

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 number of pets and the filter’s specific design, you should try to replace it after 30 to 90 days. Take a look at the filter each month and replace it when a clog appears.
  • Clean your air vents and ductwork: Pet hair gradually piles up against the air registers and grilles, preventing proper ventilation. 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.
  • Bathe or brush away excess pet hair: Regular brushing and bathing minimizes the hair your pet leaves behind. Make sure to handle brushing outside and sweep the area when you’re done to stop hair from just drifting back 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 under furniture. Proper cleaning should include vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and laundering your pet’s bedding.
  • Keep the area around the outdoor unit clear: Central air conditioners feature an outdoor unit secured to a concrete slab outside your home. Clear away any accumulated debris, including pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and similar materials. This helps maintain consistent heat transfer for more efficient operation.
  • Don’t ignore preventive maintenance: Ideally, your local HVAC professional will inspect and maintain your cooling system once a year, preferably in the spring. They can find and resolve any small issues, clean internal components and share advice on keeping 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, consider for personalized recommendations on the best solution. We can direct you to the right indoor air quality products designed to minimize pet hair and dander, including high-end 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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