Virginia & Maryland Heating & Air Conditioning

What Can Pet Hair Do to Your HVAC System?

When it comes to the health of your air conditioner, there are all sorts of household threats that can cause it to slow down, clog up, or even break down after a while. Among these threats, there is perhaps none that is more obnoxious and commonly found than pet hair. While our furry friends may provide us with love and companionship, their furry coats are not always the best of friends with your home’s heating and cooling units.

Is this a blog saying you should get rid of your pets to save your air conditioner? Absolutely not. We love our pets and with the right care and attention your home can function just fine. However, it’s important to know how having a pet will influence your HVAC system and what that means you need to do as a homeowner to preserve it.

Pet Dander & Airborne Allergens

Why are so many people allergic to dogs and cats? Simple: their furry coats carry dander and other microscopic pathogens that trigger allergic reactions and symptoms like sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and the like. When pets shed their fur, this dander clings to the individual strands that then float around through the air until they become dislodged through the impact of being stepped on, collided with, or even when they’re pulled through your heating or air conditioning system.

As a result, your HVAC system actually could be circulating pet dander through the air and forcing it back into your home. While the hair itself may get caught in your air filter, the dander may find its way through, making your air conditioner or heater an accomplice when it comes to triggering your allergies.

Solutions to Airborne Pet Dander

So what can you do to reduce this problem and still be able to breathe easily while also enjoying the companionship of your beloved pet? Well, your HVAC system may actually be one of your greatest allies in this fight as well! This is because your HVAC system is one of the largest, if not the largest air circulator in your home. This circulator pulls air from your home through an intake vent, which then runs it through an air filter that strains out things like pet hair, dust, and even pet dander and prevents them from being circulated back in.

However, an air filter that’s old or clogged places a lot of added strain on your HVAC system by restricting the airflow that passes over your heating or cooling coils. This means your system needs to work harder to keep your home at the right temperature, places extra strain on moving parts, and adds a lot of wear and tear to your system. This not only uses a lot of additional electricity, but could even cause your system to break down and need major repairs faster.

So what can you do to reduce this problem? There are two simple solutions:

Vacuum your home regularly.
Simply breaking out the vacuum cleaner and picking up the hair that may have become stuck in your carpet, rugs, window treatments, and other fabric surfaces in your home can greatly reduce the amount of pet dander and fur you have floating around in your home. Less free-floating hair and dander means less getting caught up in your air filter, and less bogging down your HVAC system when it runs. It’s also a great way to reduce allergy suffering as well!

Change your air filter.
As a Sterling HVAC repairs and services company, we see far too many homeowners that don’t pay enough attention to their air filter. People will sometimes go for months or even years without so much as checking the filter, let alone replacing it. By the time we get to it the filter has been bombarded with so much debris that it’s completely clogged, their system is remarkably inefficient, their coils have been covered with dust and debris that have been pulled through the filter itself, and plenty of other problems have also emerged.

If you have a pet, you should be checking your air filter every month and replacing it every three to four months as needed. This might seem like a lot, but consider this: replacing a filter is inexpensive, takes just a few minutes, and could do a tremendous amount to preserve your HVAC system’s life and efficiency. New air filters can usually be purchased from your local hardware store for just a few dollars, and most people can perform the replacement without any special tools or training—just make sure your system is shut off before you do so you don’t risk any dust or pet hair finding its way into the heart of your indoor unit.

Whether you need your system tuned up or repaired after a serious breakdown, call Donmar Heating & Cooling at (703) 457-8676 to request a service estimate and let our team handle the issue for you!

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