June 5, 2024
Indoor Air Quality in Las Vegas, NV

Pets are wonderful members of our home. Yet, pet hair and dander can be a challenge to your HVAC system as it tries to provide you with clean indoor air. Here we explain several ways to get the most out of your HVAC when you are a pet owner.

Maintaining Air Filters

HVAC systems accumulate dust and dirt over time, but pets tend to contribute more particles to your system. Pet hair and dander can clog your HVAC filters and keep your system from running efficiently. One way to help address this issue is to regularly replace your air filters and check on the type of filter you are using.

Homeowners typically change out their HVAC air filters about every three months. If you have pets, we recommend changing out your filters every one to two months to help keep up with the added particles from cats, dogs, and other pets. You should also check your filters more frequently to see if debris is obstructing them. Clogged filters can hinder the performance of your air conditioning and heating system and aggravate allergies.

Pet dander is one of the top household allergens, along with mold and dust mites, that HVAC systems contend with. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 60% of households are exposed to cat or dog dander. If you have someone in your home with allergies, pet dander can lead to coughing, sneezing, and other respiratory problems. To help alleviate these issues, you should check the type of HVAC air filter you are using.

HVAC air filters come with minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) ratings that reflect the efficiency of the filter in capturing particles. For non-pet owner households, MERV ratings between 5 and 8 may be sufficient to provide effective air filtration. For homes with pets, however, higher MERV ratings between 10 and 12 will work better at capturing a range of particles and allergens like pet dander and stopping them from circulating in your home. MERV ratings go up to 20, but those filters are for places like hospitals and could restrict airflow if used at home.

Maintaining and potentially upgrading your air filters is one method for getting the most out of your HVAC system. Air filters help protect you from breathing in contaminants and pet allergens, but you may also consider some options for bolstering that protection.

Air Filtration and Humidifier Systems

Installing an air filtration system in your home is another method to help boost the performance of your HVAC and protect against indoor pollutants and allergens. Stand-alone air purifiers can help improve indoor air quality, but an air filtration system may be the best option for those households with pets.

Stand-alone air purifiers that have high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can help pet owners reduce dust and particles. These filters help capture around 99% of indoor pollutants and allergens. Air purifiers with HEPA filters can help reduce pet dander and other common indoor pollutants, but they only work in specific rooms, not the entire house.

An air filtration system is designed to work with your air conditioning unit to remove particles throughout your house. These whole-home systems filter out a greater range of allergens and contaminants and provide stronger protection against air quality issues associated with pets. An air filtration system can more thoroughly remove irritants like pet dander and reduce pet odors from the air to provide more relief for allergy sufferers.

In addition, an air filtration system helps your air conditioner run better. An AC does not operate efficiently if it becomes clogged with pet contaminants or other debris. An air filtration system allows your AC to work as it should and prolong its life. By installing a filtration system, you can thus save money and get cleaner indoor air.

Regulating the humidity in your home is a related measure that will help households with pets. Using the air conditioner can result in dry indoor air that can impact breathing, decrease skin moisture, and make environments uncomfortable for both humans and pets. The EPA recommends keeping humidity levels between 30% and 50%, which can be difficult in drier climates.

To help achieve this goal, you could install a central air humidifier to work with your HVAC system. Central air humidifiers flow through your existing ductwork and are operated by a thermostat and humidity controller. You can set and adjust humidity levels to accompany your air conditioning system. Establishing recommended humidity levels can result in improved moisture to your skin, better air breathability, and more comfortable conditions for your pet and you.

Protecting Your HVAC

Protecting your HVAC from damage or obstructions is another measure that you can take when you have pets. This step applies especially to the outdoor unit of your air conditioner, the condenser.

The condenser unit draws in outside air to cool your home and can also pull in pet hair if you have a dog that likes to play near it. When dogs may play near the condenser, they may also cause damage to it. Placing a structure or fence around the condenser will help protect it and keep pet hair or other debris from getting into the fan blades.

You can also protect your indoor vents from interference from pet toys, food, or bedding. Obstructions like these items can block the airflow and lead to your HVAC working harder to heat or cool your home. In addition, you can vacuum and clean your vents every two weeks to help prevent blockages from pets. If your pet goes outdoors, you may want to clean your vents every week instead to help keep up with the added particles and debris that are brought indoors.

Likewise, keeping up with vacuuming the house and pet care will help protect your HVAC. By vacuuming once or twice a week, you will enable your HVAC to better handle household dust and debris, including pet matter, and help protect it from wear and tear. Brushing and bathing your pet will also take some of the workload off of your system by reducing skin and hair particles. These items help contribute to the health of your HVAC, pet, and you.

HVAC Maintenance

Scheduling maintenance is the final way to get the most out of your HVAC when you have pets. We recommend HVAC maintenance one to two times per year to help check for issues related to pets. Our team of professionals can inspect your system and determine if any parts need to be repaired or replaced. Our tune-up service also includes cleaning areas like the evaporator and condenser coils and providing recommendations for preventing pet hair and dander buildup.

Annual or semi-annual maintenance is the best way to ensure that your HVAC is running efficiently. This will help you get the most out of your system even with pets in your household.

High-Quality HVAC Services

We are a reliable, high-quality air conditioning and heating company that provides services to Las Vegas, NV and surrounding areas. We offer comprehensive HVAC repairs, installation, and maintenance. Contact us at Polar Air & Heating, Inc. for more information about HVAC maintenance, repairs, and indoor air quality services.

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