HVAC Maintenance Tips for Pet Owners

Pets fill our homes with love and companionship. But they also fill our houses with hair, dander and other messes. Due to fur, dander and the tracking in of outdoor contaminants, pets can have a pretty serious impact on your indoor air quality and HVAC efficiency. We see evidence of their existence on the carpet and furniture, but most pet owners do not realize just how much pets can impact your HVAC system.

Most pets shed at least a little bit of hair from time to time, and as your HVAC system pulls in air from your house to treat it, that pet hair and dander can get sucked up right along with the rest of the air. Once there, it can clog up your vents and filters and cause the system to work harder and less efficiently. No matter how much you clean your home or groom your pet, the hair gets everywhere; including inside your HVAC system. We want to do everything we can to keep them healthy. Similarly, we want to keep our homes healthy as well.

Apply these tips to your regular home cleaning routine and keep your pet, home, and family healthy for years to come.


How Pets Can Damage Your HVAC System

You have likely done your research and know at least the basics of pet ownership. You have provided a cozy place for them to sleep, you have a yard for him to run around in or you allocate times for walks. You know how to groom him or you have a groomer to take care of that for you. But do you know how your pet is affecting your HVAC system?


  • Pet Fur and Dander

If you are a dog or cat owner, you have likely spent significant time and effort cleaning hair off your clothes, floor and furniture. The hair is unsightly and can be the cause of allergies in your home. But did you know that dog hair can get in your air conditioning and cause damages?

Finding dog hair in your air conditioning unit is common if you own pets. This is because the AC works by sucking in air through an intake vent, cooling it and circulating it back into the house through ducts. As air is being sucked into the AC, some of the shed hair and skin gets sucked up. This hair ends up clogging the filters. A clogged filter leads to poor airflow and affects the efficiency of the air conditioning system.

When the filters are clogged, your AC has to work harder to suck in air, which causes the motors and fans to overwork. In addition, if the filters are not cleaned or replaced on time, they cause major AC maintenance problems. Therefore, if you own pets, you have to get your filters checked regularly.


  • Dirt Brought In From Outside

Exercise is good for your dog’s overall well-being. However, dogs will carry a lot of dirt in their feet and fur and bring it into your home. As the air conditioning unit works, it will suck in this dirt. While it may not happen immediately, eventually, the dirt in the air will clog up the filters.


  • Pet Urine

Exposure to pet urine can corrode the condensing coil in the outside unit. At first, the unit will be forced to work harder to compensate for the corroded fins. As the corrosion advances, the coil will start leaking, and you will be forced to replace the whole outdoor unit.

While most people never think about where your pet does their business, you have to keep the outdoor compressor protected to avoid damages from pet urine. Start by fencing the compressor off to keep your animals from urinating on the unit.


  • Chewing HVAC Wires

Both puppies and kittens love to chew on wires. If your HVAC unit has any exposed wires, you need to take the necessary steps to get them covered. The last thing you want is for your HVAC to stop working because your pet chewed on and damaged wires.


HVAC Maintenance Tips for Pet Owners

You can usually identify a pet owner by the pet hair on their clothing. No matter how much you clean your home or groom your pet, the hair gets everywhere, including inside your HVAC system.

Apply these tips to your regular home cleaning routine and keep your pet, home, and family healthy for years to come.


1. Keep Your Pets Well Groomed

Pet hair can quickly clog your air filters. When your pet is clean and its fur is trimmed, your home and indoor air stays cleaner. Less shedding means less fur in the filter and ducts.

Having your pet groomed professionally is a good practice for your pets anyway and it also keeps a deluge of pet hair and dander out of your HVAC system. Regular grooming will also reduce the number of air filter changes you will go through in a year, saving you money and frustration down the line.


2. Frequently Clean Your Home

Keeping your home clean is also very important for obvious reasons. The less pet hair and dander around the household equals less of the latter reaching your unit’s filter and interrupting its effectiveness in keeping your place cool.

Carpet traps debris like pet dander, which will recirculate throughout your home when the debris is stirred up by your family walking on the carpet. If you have carpet in your home, it more than likely has some form of pet hair build-up. Inevitably, debris will eventually get kicked up and into the air at some point or another, causing a deficiency in your system. Frequent vacuuming and dusting remove a lot of this pesky debris before it has a chance to get into your system and cause real damage to it. We recommend a vacuum with a HEPA filter.


3. Change Filters Often

Even with regular grooming, your pet’s hair and dander will lead you to change the air filters in your HVAC system more often than a home with no pets. The hair, dander, and dust generated by pets can clog the filters significantly faster than non-pet homes, so your AC will keep running and attempting to cool your house, to no avail.

Depending on your family size and activity level, you need to replace your filters every 1-3 months. When you introduce furry pets into the family, however, you should be changing your air filter every 30-60 days. The more pets you have, the more often your filter should be changed.

The cheaper the filter, the more often you will need to change the filter. High quality air filters will remove more debris from the air, and this is helpful for pet hair and dander, but also for family members who suffer from allergies. If you use HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, you air quality will improve even more.


4. Clean Your Air Ducts and Vents

Even with regular bathing and grooming, your pet’s fur will likely still end up stuck in your home’s air ducts. Clogged vents can quickly become a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, so make sure every duct is allowing airflow. When airborne contaminants get stuck in the air ducts, they get stirred up and recirculated through the home every time the HVAC system is turned on.

While you are vacuuming the floor, use the hose tool to reach into vents to clean them out. This is a simple fix to prevent the build-up of pet hair that can clog your ducts and HVAC system.

For the air ducts, we recommend calling us out to make the job easier and safer.


5. Use an Air Purifier

Air purifiers are meant to target various contaminants in your home. Many are capable of eliminating up to 99% of impurities in the air, including pet dander. By using internal fans, air purifiers pull the air in your home through filters in the machine to remove the harmful contaminants. Then, the air purifier circulates the air back into the room.

Using an air purifier is a simple and cost-effective way to help the quality of air in your home.


6. Pay Attention to the Pet Door 

While having a pet door can be extremely convenient for the more independent pet – it could be a direct cause of high energy consumption. More often than not, your doggie door may not be properly installed with your AC unit in mind. It is vital to ensure that the pet door is properly caulked to prevent heat and cold from escaping your home – causing strain on your HVAC system.


7. Fence Off Your Outdoor Unit

Fencing off your outdoor unit is a significant step for pet owners regarding HVAC maintenance. Not only can the cables to the system be clawed or chewed through, but the last thing you want is your pet urinating on your unit; it will corrode the fins and coil.

Not only will fencing off your outdoor unit protect your system from any possible damage or corrosion, but it will also make it safer for your pets due to any exposed wires or cables being unreachable. Check for exposed dangers. Pets like to chew on things like wires and cords.


8. Adjust Your Thermostats While You Are Away

You may feel guilty or like a bad pet parent for turning up your thermostat while you are gone all day (or turning it down in the winter) but the truth is that your pet is capable of staying comfortable, and safe, in a wider range of temperatures than you may realize. During summer months, if you will be out of your home for 6 hours or more, set your thermostat a few degrees higher than you usually keep it, but no higher than 80 degrees. In winter months, you can lower the thermostat as low as 65 degrees.


Give Us a Call

The truth is that there’s only so much you can do yourself, to keep your vents and filters in good condition. By having regular maintenance on your AC system, you can ensure that (a) everything will be cleaned thoroughly, (b) it will help prevent additional damage by identifying potential risks, and (c) it will keep your air conditioning unit working efficiently which will help to prolong the life of your unit.

Whether you want a replacement, repair work, or an inspection, call the offices at Aire-Tech Air Conditioning & Heating today. We give you countless resources to help you explore and learn about HVAC and energy efficient options for your home.

If your system needs repair or inspection, call Aire-Tech on 951-926-1002. You can also visit our Contact page and complete the contact form.