HVAC Maintenance Tips for Pet Owners
Pets. They give us love, companionship, and plenty of chuckles whenever they do goofy things. But the generosity of dogs and cats also includes treating us to copious amounts of hair and dander.
Unfortunately, this is a problem. As many as 30% of Americans suffer allergic reactions to dogs and cats, and even those with very low sensitivities to hair and dander may experience itchiness, inflammation, and respiratory difficulties.
Pets like dogs and cats can also harm your home’s HVAC system. All of that hair and dander, if allowed to accumulate, will eventually become lodged in the filter where it makes the system work harder to draw in air. Hair and dander also have a habit of finding their way inside the ventilation system itself.
To make matters worse, pets that spend a fair amount of their time outdoors can’t help but track in dust and dirt that gradually builds up inside an HVAC system’s filter and vents. A territorial dog may also “mark” your outdoor AC unit (to be certain, it is still your property even if they decide to do this), and an especially vandalous dog may chew on its wires.
But you are not condemned to HVAC problems just because you have a furry pal or two. Check out our HVAC maintenance tips for pet owners and you’ll be able to breathe easy!
Groom Your Pet
The simplest solutions often work best. Bathing and brushing your pet regularly will dramatically cut down on how much hair and dander they are able to shed. Your dog will graciously let you know when it is time for their bath by stinking. Depending on their breed, they may need brushing anywhere from once a week to three times a year. And while it’s tempting to save a little money by grooming your dog at home, professionals really do a better job of it.
Check and Replace Air Filters Frequently
It is far more cost-effective to frequently replace your HVAC system’s filters than it is to let them clog up and threaten damage to the mechanical unit itself. If your pet is a prodigious shedder, you may ideally change your filter every three to four weeks. You may also consider installing HEPA filters, which are designed to remove 99.97% of particles that pass through them. It’s not cheap, but frequently replacing high-quality filters falls into the “penny wise, dollar foolish” category of advice!
Clean Your Air Ducts and Vents Regularly
Even the most fastidious pet grooming and home cleaning will not substitute for regular duct and vent cleaning. It is typically advised that you have your ducts and vents cleaned every three to five years; pet owners, however, would ideally clean their ductwork every two years – or more often, if they have a small menagerie of critters living under their roof. (If you need a reputable HVAC specialist to clean your ductwork and happen to live in the greater Sioux Falls, Iowa area, then we’re happy to say you’re already on their website!)
Properly Seal Your Pet Door
Many pet owners overlook this one. If your dog or cat door is not properly sealed off, then cold and hot air will invade your home to force its HVAC system to work harder – not to mention jack up your energy bills. A drafty little cat door may cost $80 a year in heating costs alone, which is outrageous when you consider that a single tube of caulk costs only about $5.
Fence off Your AC Condenser
Bowser’s urge to mark his territory is primal. Remove the temptation – build a fence around your outdoor AC unit and force him to claim other dominions. We recommend a perimeter no smaller than 3′, as this will allow the unit to draw sufficient air and enable service technicians to access it during future repairs and maintenance.
Replace Your Pet
Finally, you might consider trading in your chocolate Lab or long-haired German Shepherd for a less allergenic breed such as the hairless Xoloitzcuintli dog. Your little pal may try to make you feel guilty for doing this. Just stare into their big, sad brown eyes and gently explain that you’re sending them away to the farm so you can enjoy greater air quality in your home and preserve its HVAC system. They’ll be sure to understand.
(Ha ha! We are just kidding about replacing your pet. Could you imagine?)
Following these tips will help you enjoy cleaner air as well as a longer-lasting HVAC system, but at the end of the day, even the best-maintained heating and air conditioning units demand maintenance, repair, and replacement. That’s why our final tip is to contact PrairieSons whenever you need quality HVAC service in the greater Sioux Falls area. We’ll be happy to meet your pet while we’re visiting your home, too!