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.

Regrettably, pet hair usually has a negative impact on the efficiency of your air conditioning system. With proper maintenance, you can ensure adequate airflow and protect your air conditioner from harm.

How Do AC Air Filters Work, and Why Are They Important?

Your air filter is a key component of the HVAC system. Your air filter captures airborne contaminants, 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 could be anywhere from 1 to 20, with higher ratings corresponding to stronger filtration.

Your filter is primarily responsible for protecting the evaporator coil, blower motor and other cooling system components from dirt and debris capable of damaging them. At sufficient efficiency, the air filter also improves indoor air quality by keeping particles out of your indoor air, which can cause allergies, asthma attacks and similar conditions.

How Can Pet Hair Impact an HVAC System’s Air Filter?

While animals are shedding, their hair becomes airborne and is drawn into the HVAC system through the return air ducts. Without a filter installed, pet hair collects inside the evaporator coil, blower motor, fan blades and other components, potentially stopping them from working efficiently. Hair can also become clogged with moisture found in the cooling system, creating a breeding ground for microorganisms, which can produce foul odors and lower indoor air quality.

But even if you have an air filter installed, pet hair can still lead to problems. When return airflow arrives at the HVAC system, the filter does its job by trapping the hair and preventing it from landing on delicate cooling components. However, this clogs the filter more quickly than usual, limiting airflow and placing additional strain on the HVAC system. Without intervention, high energy bills and frequent breakdowns may be right behind.

What About Animal Dander?

Pet dander, consisting of small skin flakes and saliva particles, commonly exacerbates 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:

  • Change the filter regularly: Depending on the total number of pets as well as the filter’s efficiency, you should try to replace it after 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. 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 minimizes the hair your pet leaves behind. Keep the brushing outdoors 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 in corners. Proper cleaning should include vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and laundering your pet’s bedding.
  • Clear the area around the outdoor unit: Central HVAC systems need an outdoor unit secured to a concrete slab somewhere along an exterior wall of the home. Clear away any accumulated debris, like pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and other objects. This ensures effective heat transfer for more efficient operation.
  • Keep up with routine AC maintenance: Ideally, your local HVAC professional will inspect and maintain your air conditioning system every year, preferably in the spring. They’ll know how to find and resolve any small issues, clean internal components and share advice on keeping your air conditioner 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 expert advice and solutions. We can direct you to the right indoor air quality products best suited for combating pet hair and dander, including high-end air filtration, whole-house ventilation and air duct cleaning. We’ll do whatever it takes to keep getting the most from your air conditioning. Rest assured 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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