Proud pet owners have to put up with a lot in order to keep their furry friends around. Pet hair on furniture and dander floating in the air are among the most irritating downsides of sharing your home with a dog or cat. But if those hairs and particles are being scattered around your home, you can bet they’re ending up in your HVAC filter -- and that’s just one way owning a pet can affect your climate control system.

There are special considerations for pet owners when it comes to maintaining an HVAC system and controlling energy use:

  • Replace filters diligently. If you have one or more shedding pets in the home, you should check your HVAC filter before it’s due for replacement. It’s not uncommon for it to be matted with hair, and the skin cells and other particles your pet produces may also prematurely clog the filter. If your filters are clogging up quickly, it might be wise to switch to a reusable filter that can be cleaned with a garden hose. A qualified HVAC professional can advise you on the best filter for your system and situation.
  • Clean your home regularly. One of the keys to avoiding those filter clogs is preventing most hair and dander from reaching the filter. A lightweight cordless vacuum can make it fairly easy to suck up pet hair around the home every other day.
  • Bathe and brush your pet. The other key to controlling hair and dander is to harvest it right off your pet’s body before she can scatter it around the home. Brushes designed specifically for pet hair removal make this DIY job much easier, or you can just take your pet to the groomer every few weeks.
  • Get your ducts cleaned. Small particles will inevitably circulate throughout your entire system, including your ducts. And with a pet in the home, there will be more of them. Every few years, have your HVAC technician inspect your ductwork to determine if duct cleaning is warranted. Removing accumulated pet dander is an important part of deodorizing your home and keeping your indoor air fresh.
  • Adjust your thermostat when only pets are home. You might like to keep the thermostat set at 72 degrees year-round, but your pets can remain safe and comfortable with a much wider temperature range. You could save energy and money by setting your temperature as low as 65 degrees in the winter and as high as 80 degrees in the summer when only pets are home. Ceiling fans can stay off, too.
  • Fence off your outdoor AC unit. If you leave your pets unattended in the yard, you can help keep them and your air conditioner safe by creating a breathable barrier around your outdoor unit. It’s safe for pets to be around these units, but restricting access will make sure cats don’t claw at the fins and dogs don’t chew on the cables.

Making these tips a part of your routine will help you save energy, extend the life of your HVAC system and keep your pets safe and sound. If you’re considering duct cleaning, upgrading your HVAC filter or switching to a smart thermostat to help you save energy while you’re not home, get in touch with your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning.