What Can Animal Hair Do to My AC Filter?

A family pet is part of millions of families. In fact, pets are usually considered part of the family, and we want to keep them well-cared for.  

Annoyingly, pet hair can adversely affect your air conditioning system. But if you keep up with maintenance, you’ll help preserve steady airflow and protect the cooling equipment 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. It captures airborne particles, such as dust, pollen and pet hair, keeping them from reaching other rooms or areas of the property. 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 could be anywhere 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 capable of damaging them. An efficient enough filter also improves indoor air quality by minimizing particulate matter, which could lead to allergies, asthma attacks and similar conditions. 

How Does Pet Hair Affect Your HVAC System and Filter? 

When pets shed, their hair becomes airborne and can eventually get 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, reducing their efficiency and life span. Hair can also become clogged with moisture found in the cooling system, creating a breeding ground for microbes like mold, which give off 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 draws it toward the HVAC system, the filter traps the hair and prevents it from landing on sensitive cooling components. That being said, eventually the filter will clog, 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, made up of small skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common cause of respiratory problems for those suffering from allergies or asthma. You may benefit from a higher efficiency filter to ensure it can effectively capture and remove dander, which is much smaller than pet hair. 

How to Care for Your AC System and Filter with Pets 

Maintaining an efficient, properly functioning air conditioner is certainly possible, even with pets living in your home. Here’s how: 

  • Stick to a regular schedule when cleaning or replacing the filter: Depending on the type of filter and how many pets you have, 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. 
  • Keep ventilation clear: Pet hair gradually piles up against the air registers and grilles, reducing airflow. Clean these 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: While it affects your HVAC system, pet hair can be found all throughout your home. A lot of it settles on surfaces or under furniture. Keep up a regular cleaning routine that includes vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and washing any pet beds. 
  • Keep the area around the outdoor unit clear: Central air conditioning systems come with an outdoor unit secured to a concrete slab just outside the home. Keep the area around this unit free of debris, like pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and similar materials. This helps maintain consistent heat transfer for more efficient operation. 
  • Don’t ignore preventive maintenance: For best results, have a trusted HVAC technician inspect and maintain your cooling system once a year, preferably in the spring. This professional can find and resolve any small issues, clean key components and share advice on keeping your air conditioner running efficiently with pets. 

Call for Indoor Air Quality Services 

When you’re tired of excess pet hair affecting your HVAC system and indoor air quality, look to for personalized recommendations on the best solution. We offer a range of indoor air quality products designed to minimize pet hair and dander, including high-end air filtration, whole-house ventilation and air duct cleaning. We can also maintain your HVAC system for maximum performance and 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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