Many people have pets that are part of the family, and they need plenty of daily maintenance to keep them happy and healthy. Most of the pets that we have in our homes are covered in hair and fur, and this can lead to a great deal of pet hair and dander circulating in the air. This is a small price to pay for the companionship that we receive, but it can trigger allergic reactions and exacerbate breathing conditions. In this article, we will look at some steps that you can take to protect your HVAC system and improve the indoor air quality (IAQ) for everyone in the home.
The HVAC Filters Need to be Replaced Regularly
The HVAC filter is not designed to purify the air in your home unless you have a very high SEER rating. The real purpose of the HVAC filter is to prevent materials from entering your air conditioning equipment, where it could damage sensitive components. We have a lot of material circulating in the air in our homes, such as skin, hair, pollen, mold spores, and pet dander.
This air passes through the HVAC filter multiple times each and every day, and a lot of this airborne debris is trapped there. So, when you examine your filter, you may notice a layer of dirt, dust, hair, and other assorted debris. This material clogs the filter over time, and as a result, it becomes less effective at letting the air pass through. An air conditioning system requires a sufficient level of airflow to work correctly, or it becomes less efficient.
Different HVAC systems can have different filters, some are replaceable, and others are removed, cleaned, and placed back in the system. The filter type that you need and full instructions for cleaning or replacing them are in the owner’s manual. The filter should be changed on a monthly basis, but if you have shedding pets, it may be better to change the filter at least twice per month.
Cleaning the Pet Hair Helps
The best way to prevent the pet hair from getting into the HVAC filter in the first place is to clean it away. Regular vacuuming can really help to remove the pet hair from the air circulating throughout your home. The frequency of cleaning will depend on the number of pets that you own, and if you have a lot of pets, you may want to vacuum once per day. Once you begin a regular vacuuming routine, you may notice that your HVAC filter has less material on the surface.
Grooming Pets Remove Loose Hair
Many pets undergo shedding on a fairly regular basis, and this is a natural process. Of course, any loose hair can easily end up on your furniture and floor coverings. Vacuuming, as discussed earlier, is important, but you can remove a lot of this hair at the source with regular pet grooming. When you bathe and brush your pet, you can keep the shedding under control, and you will have less pet hair to clean up. Grooming is also pleasurable for your pet, and it helps you to form closer bonds with your animal.
Cleaning the Vents and Ductwork
Cleaning the filter, vacuuming, and grooming your pet are all fantastic ways to protect your HVAC system, but no matter how meticulous you are, some particulates will enter your system. Gradually, small quantities of pet hair, skin, and other materials will build up on the surfaces of your HVAC vents and inside the ductwork system. Over time these materials could cause a larger clog inside the system, and they will certainly lower the IAQ. Cleaning the surface of the vents and a little way into the ductwork is easy, but there are deeper deposits of dirt that are impossible to reach without specialized tools. For this reason, it’s a great idea to schedule some annual cleaning and maintenance for your ductwork. A local HVAC professional can inspect the state of your ducts and sanitize them thoroughly to remove pet hair and other contaminants. Many people are surprised at how clean their air is after this process, the home is deodorized naturally, and the IAQ is significantly improved.
Place Barriers Around Outdoor HVAC Units
The outdoor HVAC unit houses the compressor, and it’s an essential part of your home cooling system. This box needs to be protected from unaware pets that may want to chew on a stray wire or urinate on the unit itself. Some pets are more prone to chewing, and many grow out of this phase, but if they chew the wrong wire, they could be injured. Not to mention the expensive HVAC repair bill or even an entire replacement in extreme cases. For these reasons, you may want to consider installing some kind of pet proof barrier around your exterior HVAC equipment. This has to be a breathable barrier because air needs to circulate around this unit.
Pet Friendly Thermostat Adjustments
A human is happiest when the temperature is in the high 60’s to the low to mid 70’s. The exact temperature can vary a little depending on a number of factors, and women typically enjoy higher temperatures than men. But, pets have very different needs, they are adaptable, but many have thicker coats that allow them to thrive in colder temperatures. So, in winter, you can leave your home and set the temperature to the low to mid 60’s and your pets will be happy. If you’re out of the house in summer, set the temperature in the low to mid 70’s and the pets will be cool enough. This is a great way to keep your pets happy, give your HVAC system a well earned break, and save energy at the same time.
Install an Air Purifier
If you suffer from a poor IAQ from airborne contaminants, a standard HVAC filter will not offer much in the way of relief. A better option is an air purifier that can clean the air and help it to stay cleaner for longer. This is a great option for allergy sufferers and people with pre-existing breathing conditions. Consult your local HVAC specialist and ask them about an air purifier system for your home today.