What in the world does pet dander have to do with your HVAC system? More than you may think, actually. In fact, you can’t have any conversation about indoor air quality without mentioning your heating and cooling system.
If your home has ductwork and vents, then it’s circulating air throughout your home. And, if you have pets, that system is also moving pet dander all over the house. For people with allergies or respiratory issues, this can be a big problem.
And, it becomes a bigger problem in the winter and summer. Those are the months where you tend to keep your home sealed tight. The windows remain closed with the AC or heat blowing. As a result, any dirt or dust you bring in, or anything your animals shed, has no way to escape the house.
That’s when all that stuff starts building up and causing problems. But, there’s plenty you can do to keep the situation under control. And, yes, your HVAC system can help!
In this article, we’ll go over:
- Cleaning The Right Way
- Do You Need Duct Cleaning?
- Choosing The Right Air Filter
- Pets And Vents (What To Avoid)
- Indoor Air Quality In York, PA
Meanwhile, if you want to speak with an expert about duct cleaning, filters, air purifiers, or any other indoor air quality or HVAC-related items in your South Central Pennsylvania home, call or email us here at Air Comfort Technologies. We’re happy to help!
Cleaning The Right Way
The first and almost free step to take toward improving your indoor air quality is cleaning often — and the right way! First of all, stay on a regular cleaning schedule to avoid dander and dust build-up. Then, know where to go to eliminate it.
Dusting, vacuuming, and changing your linens is a great start. For the next step, you’ll need a damp cloth. Use it on surfaces in the kitchen especially. Then, get to the hard-to-reach places like the tops of windowsills and door frames.
These areas are all too often out of sight and out of mind. As a result, they’re the places that pet dander, dust, and pollen build up the most. Then, any gust of wind, draft, or movement in the air sends those particles flying around the house.
So, be sure to get out a step ladder and safely reach all those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. That includes bookshelves, breakfronts, cabinets, wall units, and other large pieces of furniture where you can’t see the top.
Do You Need Duct Cleaning?
Moving on to your HVAC system: Will duct cleaning help with pet dander problems? The answer is yes ….but only if there’s so much build-up you can see it without any special equipment. Here’s what that means:
Duct cleaning is a legitimate service, but it’s not always necessary. When you have your ducts cleaned, a trained professional gets deep within your ductwork to remove all sorts of dust, dirt, and debris build-up. If you have pets, then that, of course, includes fur and dander.
However, the problem is usually not so bad that you need a cleaning — and don’t let any fly-by-night or other shady operators tell you otherwise! Generally speaking, you don’t need duct cleaning unless you can peer through the vents and see build-up close to the opening.
And no, it’s not something you should do yourself. The ductwork is more fragile than most people realize. Sticking something down there and rattling it around is just asking for a break, leak, or other problem that will affect your airflow.
Choosing The Right Air Filter
Let’s move on to an easy proactive measure: choosing the right air filter. Or, for starters, changing yours as often as you should. Your air filter, that simple cloth screen you put between your furnace and ductwork, captures all sorts of debris as it passes through your HVAC system. Once it hits the screen, it won’t circulate through the house anymore.
So for starters, swap out that filter once a month when your system is running. You may hear recommendations for every three months or so. But, if you’re combatting pet dander or other IAQ concerns, you’ll want to do it more often.
Don’t worry; they’re inexpensive: Usually less than $10 for a single filter. And, for just a little more, you can increase the effectiveness.
Look for filters with higher MERV ratings. That stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value,” and the higher that number, the smaller particles that screen will catch. Your standard one-inch filter is probably around an 8, but that only addresses larger pieces of dust and dirt.
Instead, a filter with a higher rating will capture objects as small as pet dander. But don’t buy one with a MERV rating higher than 13. Those filters are rated for industrial equipment. A residential blower motor won’t be able to push enough air through it.
However, you can take your filtration to the next level with a whole-home air purifier. These systems hook up to your existing HVAC setup. And, they can use much stronger filters because they come equipped with more robust blower motors to account for the higher resistance.
Pets And Vents (What To Avoid)
One way to keep pet dander from circulating through your home is by keeping your pets away from vents and floor registers. This strategy reduces the amount of fur, dander, and debris traveling through your home.
Of course, that’s much easier said than done with cats and dogs — and with ductwork in general.
First of all, your pets have a mind of their own. They’ll go where they want and don’t understand why they should avoid certain areas. That’s especially so when the areas closest to the vent are the coolest in the summer and warmest in the winter.
Second, each vent requires 12 inches of clearance around it. Otherwise, the room won’t get proper air circulation. So, you can’t block the vents, but you have to keep your furry friends away from them.
Try getting creative with your room arrangement. Place the furniture in a way that leaves space around the vent but makes it challenging for animals to get near it. Pet owners have also used scents that are unappealing to animals. We’ve heard of squeezing lemons and oranges, or using a citrus spray, near these spots.
Indoor Air Quality In York, PA
Whether you have pets, suffer from seasonal allergies, or just want to feel more clean and comfortable in your South Central Pennsylvania home, Air Comfort Technologies is here to help! Click below or call us for a free consultation about the indoor air quality for your home in York, PA, Camp Hill, Manchester, and other nearby towns.