Pets are beloved family members but they can have negative impacts on the quality of your indoor air quality. Around 80 million Americans have at least one pet in their household, and these pets offer owners a measure of joy that can’t be replaced. Pet owners know that it takes work to care for their pets but the sacrifice is worth it. Beyond daily feeding and watering, positive attention, and cleaning, pet owners should be aware that having a pet comes with unforeseen responsibilities, such as maintaining the quality of their indoor air. Proud pet owners have to put up with a lot in order to keep their furry friends around. Pet hair on furniture and dander floating in the air are among the most irritating downsides of sharing your home with a dog or cat. But if those hairs and particles are being scattered around your home, you can bet they’re ending up in your HVAC filter — and that’s just one way owning a pet can affect your climate control system. There are special considerations for pet owners when it comes to maintaining an HVAC system and controlling energy use.
Change Your Air Filters
If you have one or more shedding pets in the home, you should check your HVAC filter before it’s due for replacement. It’s not uncommon for it to be matted with hair, skin cells, and other particles your pet produces may also prematurely clog the filter. Make sure to use air filters built to catch pet dander. Your normal HEPA or ionic filters may not be heavy-duty enough to capture pet dander. Check with your local HVAC services to find out which air filter will work best in your home. If your filters are clogging up quickly, it might be wise to switch to a reusable filter that can be cleaned with a garden hose.
Keep Your Home Vaccuumed
One of the keys to avoiding those filter clogs is preventing most hair and dander from reaching the filter. A lightweight cordless vacuum can make it fairly easy to suck up pet hair around the home every other day.
Bathe and Brush Your Pet
One of the most important steps you can take to protect your home’s heating and cooling system is to take care of your pet’s hygiene. As your pet moves throughout the day, it can accumulate substances on its fur that can eventually end up being circulated through the home’s system. Once in the system, it can be circulated to other areas of the home. Brushes designed specifically for pet hair removal make this DIY job much easier, or you can just take your pet to the groomer every few weeks. Caring for your pet’s hygiene starts with ensuring it has a good bath. In addition to bathing, you can:
- Brush the pet outdoors for a few minutes daily
- Use grooming tools to get rid of excess hair
- Blow dry after bathing to remove loose hairs
Clean Your Home’s Ductwork
Dander can settle within the HVAC ductwork of your home. It’s important to maintain your home’s air conditioner and heater yearly. For pet owners, that might include having an AC repair company clean your air ducts. Small particles will inevitably circulate throughout your entire system, including your ducts. And with a pet in the home, there will be more of them. Every few years, have your HVAC technician inspect your ductwork to determine if duct cleaning is warranted.
Adjust Your Thermostat When Pets Are Home Alone
People with dogs and cats shouldn’t worry too much about regulating the temperatures to accommodate your pet. Dogs are well equipped to deal with hot or cold temperatures. On days of extreme heat, make sure your dog has plenty of water and a cool place to relax (either indoors or in shade). On days with freezing temperatures, allow your dog to come indoors or provide them with a dry shelter that blocks the wind. You might like to keep the thermostat set at 72 degrees year-round, but your pets can remain safe and comfortable with a much wider temperature range. You could save energy and money by setting your temperature as low as 65 degrees in the winter and as high as 80 degrees in the summer when only pets are home.
Fence Off Your Outdoor AC Unit
A dog can cause your AC unit to deteriorate from urinating on it over many years. Keep your dog away by building a small fence. If you leave your pets unattended in the yard, you can help keep them and your air conditioner safe by creating a breathable barrier around your outdoor unit. That’s right. When unsupervised, your dog can be a threat to your air conditioner—and, inevitably, your home’s comfort! It’s safe for pets to be around these units, but restricting access will make sure cats don’t claw at the fins and dogs don’t chew on the cables.
Even if you take preventative measures throughout the year to protect your heating and cooling system, you still need to have regular professional inspections performed. A regular inspection and tune-up will help to prevent the spread of pet dander throughout your home. Contacting a technician could also help to lower your energy bills and extend the lifespan of your heating and cooling system.
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About Phoenix Comfort Systems
Phoenix Comfort provides a full range of air conditioning and heating repair, installation, and maintenance services for residential and commercial customers. We keep your air conditioning and heating systems in their best condition and ready to go when you need them most, following the industry’s “best practice” methods and standards. Phoenix Comfort carries a full line of quiet, energy-efficient air conditioning and heating equipment.
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