HVAC Maintenance Tips For Pet Owners
Family pets can bring so much joy to our lives. While we know the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to our pets, the truth is they can definitely wreak havoc on a home’s heating and cooling systems. This article, presented by Lancaster Brothers Heating and Cooling provides some helpful and simple HVAC maintenance tips for pet owners who want to keep their systems running smoothly.
It’s not hard to guess that most of the heating and cooling system issues caused by our pets, especially dogs and cats, stem from their fur and dander. This must-do tip may seem like a no-brainer: Groom Your Pet Regularly! Routine bathing and brushing will greatly reduce the amount of fur floating in the air and settling in the air vents and ducts. A build up of fur in these spaces means the air flow can become minimized or obstructed and this puts unnecessary strain on your system. Keep in mind that your pets will shed more in the warm weather months, making the need for frequent grooming even greater. Weather permitting, take your pet outside daily and give him or her a good brushing. In addition to removing fur, routine bathing and brushing removes dirt and allergens from your pet and away from your HVAC system.
Focus on Filters
Having our furry friends in the house usually means that filters need to be changed more frequently. As a general rule, we recommend that you change your filters approximately every three months, or when recommended by the filter manufacturer. However, having a pet who sheds a lot can speed that schedule up significantly. Depending on how much your pet sheds, or having multiple pets, you may need to change your air filters as frequently as monthly or every 60 days.
Again, depending on your pet’s shed level, you might want to consider upgrading the quality of air filter you use. The efficiency of air filters is measured in MERV ratings. This stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. Lower MERV ratings indicate less filtering while higher ratings indicate more. Filters rated 5-8 are standard for many homes. If yours are rated lower than this, we recommend that you upgrade to the 5-8 MERV rated filters to increase the amount of fur and other pet particles that will be trapped in the filter, and kept out of your HVAC system and indoor air.
Clean Floors And Carpets
Keeping your floors and carpets free of pet hair is another DIY maintenance tip that will greatly increase your HVAC system’s performance and lifespan. Make sure to pay close attention to the areas around your air vents. Picking up the fur with your vacuum or by sweeping means that much less fur and dander that is being sucked through the system and passing through the filter. This will mean your filters last longer and will help minimize the fur that may settle in the vents and ducts causing additional strain on your system. When your pets are shedding more, like the warm weather months, more frequent cleaning of the floors and carpets will be necessary. Additionally, don’t forget to clean your furniture, as pet fur can settle into it and then quickly go airborne again if it’s not removed.
Clear Vents And Ducts
In addition to removing pet fur from your floors, it’s a good idea to also clean your air vents and ducts since no matter how much you clean, some fur is bound to settle into them. If your pet sheds a lot or if you have multiple shedding pets, we recommend cleaning out your vents monthly. To do this, shut off your HVAC system and carefully remove the vent covers that you have safe access to. Using your vacuum hose, suction up any fur, dirt, and debris that is reachable with your vacuum’s hose, but keep in mind that other items can fall through the vents, which could cause damage to your vacuum. We recommend that you wear gloves, to protect your hands from any sharp objects and metal that might be under your vents. Remember that DIY duct cleaning is only going to resolve the fur and debris that you can reach, which is a very small part of your home’s ventilation pathways. Many air ducts are not accessible to safely clean yourself. It is best to call a professional air duct cleaning service, for a really thorough job.
Protect Your Outdoor Unit
Pets can be harmful to your outdoor unit in several ways. If your pet is able to get to the unit, fur is a problem, just as it is to the indoor components of your system. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for HVAC repair professionals to see cat claw marks on components, dog chew marks on cables, and pet urination on the unit’s exterior surfaces. If your unit doesn’t have a breathable barrier, such as landscaping, that keeps your pet from accessing it, you should consider installing one. If you decide to put up a barrier, you will need to leave at least a 3 foot clearance around the unit. Also make sure your barrier does not enclose the unit, as it must be able to ‘breathe’ with unobstructed air flow in and out. Be sure to properly hide and store any exposed wiring as well.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
All HVAC systems need regular professional maintenance to keep running at maximum efficiency. Having pets in your home makes that need even greater since they place additional stress on your system. We recommend twice annual maintenance so your system can be inspected for any issues, serviced appropriately, and your technician can let you know if there are any potential problem areas that you should be aware of so that you can help reduce the chances of additional repairs.
At Lancaster Brothers Heating and Cooling, we offer a maintenance plan that is ideal for pet owners. Our plan provides discounts, convenience, and can greatly extend the life of your HVAC system. For additional information or to schedule maintenance, call us at (913) 851-3399 or reach out via our website. We have been providing heating and cooling services to residents and business owners in the greater Kansas City area since 2000. We look forward to helping you keep your HVAC system performing at its best.
You and your furry family members deserve to be happy and healthy together. With these simple maintenance tips, a little extra care, and regular professional maintenance, you and your pets can enjoy comfortable temperatures all year round!