HVAC Maintenance Tips for Pet Owners

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 56% of Florida households have at least one pet, with almost 40% owning a dog and just over 24% having a cat. If this includes your north-central Florida home, you probably get a lot of joy from your pet(s). Assuming that you own a dog and/or cat, your home also receives an abundance of unwanted pet hair.

How Much Hair?

Well, the amount of hair shed by dogs varies by breed and size, but on average, dogs shed about 8% of their body weight each year. So, if you have a 65-pound adult Golden Retriever, that will add up to over five pounds of shed hair per year. Feline shedding also varies by breed and size, but they can shed up to four pounds of hair annually.

Where is All That Hair Going?

Pet owners who don’t regularly brush their pet’s coats and are lax about vacuuming and cleaning their homes tend to find pet hair everywhere. And the Tallahassee-area HVAC experts at Air Control Heating and Cooling will tell you that excess pet hair can cause maintenance issues with your HVAC system. Pet hair and dander (dead skin cells and hair particles) that accumulate in the home will be drawn into your HVAC system, where it will build up on the air filter and restrict airflows, which will force your system to work harder, compromising its efficiency and operational lifespan. Thus, pet owners should make diligent pet hair control an integral part of their HVAC maintenance efforts.

Start with Pet Grooming

Instead of waiting until the hair falls off your pet, address the problem at the source by regularly brushing your pet’s fur. The more often you groom your pet in a given week, the less loose hair accumulates around the home and reaches your HVAC system’s intake ducts and air filters. The frequency of grooming should align with the thickness of your pet’s coat and its propensity for shedding. You may need to brush some dog and cat breeds daily, while others may only need weekly brushing. The changing of seasons—particularly winter into spring into summer—can also induce heavier shedding, so you may need to brush more frequently during these times. Or, during the height of your pet’s shedding season, consider professional grooming and/or a fur cut, which can significantly curtail shedding hair for the short term.

Address Loose Pet Hair with Regular Cleaning

A vacuum cleaner is a pet owner’s best friend, as it is the most effective tool for controlling pet hair and dander accumulation. Combined with mopping and dusting, regular vacuuming keeps pet hair and dander from building up and working their way into your HVAC system’s ducts and filters. As with pet grooming, the frequency of vacuuming and cleaning should align with pet coat thickness, shedding propensity, and the number of pets in the household.

Keep Your Air Vents and Ductwork Clean

During your cleaning regimen, make sure you vacuum and clean the supply and return air vents to capture pet hair and dander about to make its way into the HVAC system. While you can’t vacuum your HVAC system’s ductwork, you should consider periodic professional air duct cleaning to clear the ducts of pet hair, dander, dust, and other debris.

Frequently Inspect and Change Air Filters

Every pet hair sucked up by your vacuum cleaner or otherwise cleared is a potential pet hair that won’t end up blocking an HVAC filter. HVAC system manufacturers generally recommend replacement filter replacement every three months. However, pet owners should inspect and replace their air filters much more frequently, especially if you have trouble finding time to vacuum and clean the house. To ensure optimal HVAC system air intake filtration, consider inspecting the air filter every 20-30 days, and replacing it when there’s a buildup of pet hair, dander, and other debris.

Protect Your Outdoor Condenser Unit

Your air ducts are not the only entry points for pet hair and dander to gain access to your HVAC system. Your system’s outdoor condenser unit pulls in outside air as part of its operations and can suck in pet hair, especially if your pets like to rub against inanimate objects. Thus, you should protect the condenser with a small fence or other barrier. Not only will this help prevent pet hair intake, but it will also prevent male dogs from lifting their leg beside a condenser when nature calls. Perhaps needless to say, but animal urine that gets into the condenser can cause damage.

Keep Your HVAC System in Optimal Condition

Whether you have pets or not, you can keep your HVAC system operating with peak, long-lasting efficiency with a comprehensive maintenance plan. We offer three different maintenance plans with our Air Control Club membership, which comes with regularly scheduled maintenance, inspections, and other HVAC system benefits.

Contact the Air Control Team Today

Air Control Heating and Cooling have provided exceptional HVAC service to north-central Florida homeowners for 55 years. For all your HVAC needs in the Tallahassee, Havana, Quincy, Monticello, and Crawfordville areas, contact us today at (850) 562-1234.


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