What Can Animal Hair Do to My AC Filter?

Pets can be found in millions of homes. You probably consider your dog or cat a beloved family member and want to have them around for many years-->

How Does an AC Filter Work, and Why is It So Important?

Your air filter is a key component of the HVAC system. It captures airborne particles, such as dust, pollen and pet hair, preventing these contaminants from circulating in your home. Various designs can be used effectively, including fiberglass, pleated and electrostatic. The overall effectiveness of an air filter can be measured with its minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), which is rated on a scale from 1 to 20, with higher ratings corresponding to stronger filtration.

An air filter’s key purpose is the protection of 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 can cause 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 accumulates within the evaporator coil, blower motor, fan blades and other components, potentially stopping them from working efficiently. Hair can also mix with condensation formed during air conditioning, 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, limiting airflow and placing additional strain on the HVAC system. Without maintenance, high energy bills and frequent breakdowns may be right behind.

What About Animal Dander?

Pet dander, made up of tiny skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common cause of respiratory problems in people with allergies or asthma. Filters with higher MERV ratings are more likely 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 total number of pets as well as the filter’s efficiency, you may need a new filter every 30 to 90 days. Take a look at the filter each 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, call a professional for cleaning out the collected pet hair, dander and dust inside your ductwork every few years.
  • Bathe or brush away excess pet hair: Regular brushing and bathing is a great strategy for reducing pet hair. Make sure to handle brushing outside and sweep the area after you’ve finished to keep any hair from getting back inside.
  • Consistently vacuum and dust: Not all pet hair ends up in the HVAC system. A lot of it settles on surfaces around the house. Proper cleaning should include vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and washing any pet beds.
  • Clear the area around the outdoor unit: Central air conditioning systems come with an outdoor unit fixed to a concrete slab outside your home. Keep the area around this unit free of debris, including pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and other forms of yard waste. This encourages normal heat transfer for more efficient operation.
  • Schedule regular maintenance: An HVAC technician should inspect and maintain the air conditioner annually, preferably in the spring. They’ll know how to find and resolve any small issues, keep internal components clean and share advice on keeping your air conditioning running efficiently with pets.

Get in Touch with for Indoor Air Quality Services

If you want to minimize the impact your pets have on your HVAC system and indoor air quality, turn to for tailored solutions and top-notch customer service. We sell and service many quality indoor air quality products best suited for combating pet hair and dander, such as advanced air filtration, whole-house ventilation and air duct cleaning. We’ll do whatever it takes to keep getting the most from your air conditioning. You can rest easy with the knowledge 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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