5 Important HVAC Tips All Pet Owners Should Know
Owning a dog or cat is one of life’s greatest joys and can bring a huge amount of happiness and love into your life. Unfortunately, not everything about owning a pet is so positive, especially when it comes to your heating and air conditioning systems. Pet hair and dander can easily clog up your system and lead to higher energy costs. Your unit may also not work as effectively. All that hair can damage various HVAC components and potentially lead to expensive repairs and a shorter lifespan for your furnace, air conditioner, and HVAC blower. Luckily, preventing your pets from having a major impact on your HVAC system is quite easy as long as you remember to always follow these five important tips.
1. Replace Your Air Filter Regularly
An HVAC air filter is designed to trap dust, hair, and other particles to ensure they can’t get inside the system and damage or clog up its components. Under normal conditions, you can usually get by with only replacing your air filter every two to three months. However, pet owners should always change their air filters more frequently since all of the hair will cause it to clog up much more quickly. You’ll also want to make sure you brush your pets regularly, as this will help to limit the amount of hair floating around your home.
A clogged air filter can be a serious issue that will limit how much hot or cold air your HVAC system produces. It can also lead to your furnace overheating or your air conditioner’s evaporator coil freezing up, both of which have the potential to cause major damage if left unchecked. The easiest way to prevent all that hair from becoming an issue is to check your air filter regularly and replace it at least once every four to six weeks.
2. Consider Using a Higher-Rated Filter
We would also recommend that all pet owners use a higher-rated, more efficient filter. Most HVAC air filters are rated using the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) scale, which measures how efficient the filter is at trapping particles of varying sizes. Residential air filters typically range from MERV 5 to MERV 13, with the higher number equaling higher efficiency. While a MERV 5 filter may be fine in some situations, we always recommend using at least a MERV 8 to MERV 10 filter if you have pets in the home since it will more effectively trap both hair and pet dander.
3. Clean Your Supply and Return Vents Regularly
Pet hair can also quickly clog up both your supply and return air vents, which is why you should always vacuum or clean them every week or two. The return air vents are at the highest risk of clogging since this is where air is drawn into the system.
Clogged return vents will cause much less air to come into the system, which results in your furnace producing less heat and your AC unit not cooling as effectively. If your supply vents are clogged, then that room will always stay much cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer since less air will be able to flow out of the vents. Clogged vents also put extra strain on the blower motor and can potentially cause it to wear out more quickly.
4. Protect Your Outdoor Air Conditioner From Urine and Hair
If your outdoor AC unit is in your backyard or anywhere else where your dog could get near it, we recommend building a fence around it to keep the dog out. If you have a dog that likes to pee on things, then the urine could put the AC condenser coil at risk. Urine is quite acidic and has the potential to start to corrode the condenser coil and lead to a refrigerant leak. Hair can also easily get sucked into the unit, which can prevent it from dispersing heat properly and potentially cause the condenser motor to burn out.
5. Make Sure to Have Your System Inspected and Maintained Twice a Year
The most important thing you can do to limit the effect your pets have on your HVAC system is to make sure you have it maintained regularly. This means scheduling a heating tune-up every fall and an AC tune-up every spring. Even if you follow all of the other tips, some pet hair will still always get inside of your HVAC system. As such, you’ll need to have everything cleaned regularly to prevent the pet hair from causing damage or leading to other issues.
At Air Care Heating & Cooling, we specialize in preventative HVAC maintenance and will do everything it takes to ensure your pets don’t become a problem. We maintain and service all types of heating and cooling units, and we also specialize in HVAC installation for both residential and commercial customers. If you need to schedule a heating or cooling tune-up or any other HVAC service in the Shawnee area, give us a call today.