There are a few personal factors that play a big role in the quality and operation of a given home’s HVAC system, and one such factor is whether there are pets in the home. Particularly common in dogs and cats who shed, pet hair and dander can create a significant buildup in many cases, and this can create issues within your HVAC filters or other components if you don’t take the proper precautions.
Luckily, there’s nothing particularly difficult about adjusting your HVAC system to handle any pets who are present. Let’s go over a few basic tips on everything from HVAC filters to general cleaning, plus how you can utilize the thermostat to keep your costs down while keeping both you and your pets comfortable at all times.
The first line of defense your home’s HVAC system has against buildups like pet hair or dander is the filter involved in the system. There are specific HVAC filters designed to trap pet hair and dander, usually with MERV ratings in the 5-8 range – these may cost just a bit more up front, but they do a fantastic job filtering out even thin pet dander concerns.
No matter which filter type you choose, changing them with the proper frequency is also vital. Higher-MERV filters need to be changed more often, and this is especially true if multiple pets are constantly shedding hair that will infiltrate the system. Plan to change your filters at least once a month unless manufacturer guidelines indicate differently.
Another good way to limit the amount of pet hair and dander that reaches your filters to begin with is by performing some regular cleaning tasks. Just vacuuming common pet areas once or twice a week can have a massive impact, for instance. You should also take the time to brush and clean your pets when you can, preferably outside – you might be shocked at how much hair comes off their bodies.
In addition, ensure your ducts are inspected and cleaned at least once a year by HVAC professionals. Ducts may collect small pet-related particles and dander, especially if they have any leaks or airflow issues.
Finally, while some people feel they need to keep the thermostat set at a normal human temperature throughout the day once they get a dog or cat, this isn’t actually the case. These pets have a much wider comfort range than we do, meaning you can set your thermostat to a lower level when you leave the home. This will limit the cycling of air that clogs your system, plus save you a little bit of money each money on your heating or cooling bill.