What Can Animal Hair Do to My AC Filter?

Pets can be found in millions of homes. You probably consider your dog or cat a beloved family member and want to have them around for many years-->

How Do AC Air Filters Work, and Why Are They Important? 

A filter is an important part of any forced-air HVAC system. It captures airborne particles, such as dust, pollen and pet hair, stopping them from spreading through the ductwork. There is lots of variety in the materials they use to accomplish this, including fiberglass, pleated and electrostatic. A filter’s effectiveness depends on its minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), which is rated on a scale from 1 to 20, with higher ratings corresponding to stronger filtration. 

Your filter is primarily responsible for protecting the evaporator coil, blower motor and other cooling system components from dirt and debris capable of damaging them. At sufficient efficiency, the air filter also improves indoor air quality by keeping particles out of your indoor air, which often contribute to allergies, asthma attacks and other breathing problems. 

How Does Pet Hair Affect the Air Filter of My HVAC System? 

As pets shed, their hair becomes airborne and is drawn into the HVAC system through the return air ducts. Without a filter installed, pet hair can build up on the evaporator coil, blower motor, fan blades and other components, reducing their efficiency and life span. Hair can also encourage clogs if it interacts with the moisture inside your cooling, creating a breeding ground for microorganisms, which can produce foul odors and lower indoor air quality. 

Even when the filter is already in place, pet hair isn’t harmless. When return airflow draws it toward the HVAC system, the filter traps the hair and prevents it from landing on delicate cooling components. At the same time, this quickly clogs the filter up, putting extra strain on the HVAC system. Without exchanging or cleaning the filter, higher energy bills and more repair visits could be likely. 

What About Animal Dander? 

Pet dander, consisting of tiny skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common allergen that causes respiratory problems for those suffering from allergies or asthma. You may benefit from a higher efficiency filter to ensure it can effectively capture and remove dander, which is much smaller than pet hair. 

How to Care for Your AC System and Filter with Pets 

You can take steps to maintain the efficiency of your air conditioner, even with pets living in your home. Here’s how: 

  • Change the filter regularly: Depending on the total number of pets as well as the filter’s efficiency, you should try to replace it after 30 to 90 days. Keep an eye on it every month and replace it when a clog appears. 
  • Periodically clean the return air ducts: Pet hair collects on the air registers and grilles, preventing proper ventilation. You can clean them with the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner as often as needed. Then, call a professional for cleaning out the collected pet hair, dander and dust in the air ducts every few years. 
  • Groom your pets: Regular brushing and bathing is a great strategy for reducing pet hair. Make sure to handle brushing outside and sweep the area when you’re done to stop hair from just drifting back inside. 
  • Consistently vacuum and dust: Not all pet hair ends up in the HVAC system. A lot of it settles on surfaces around the house. Keep up a regular cleaning routine that includes vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and washing any pet beds. 
  • Clear the area around the outdoor unit: Central HVAC systems need an outdoor unit mounted to a concrete slab outside your home. Keep the area around this unit free of debris, including pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and other forms of yard waste. This encourages normal heat transfer for more efficient operation. 
  • Don’t ignore preventive maintenance: For best results, have a trusted HVAC technician inspect and maintain your air conditioning system every year, preferably in the spring. They’ll know how to identify and fix small issues, keep internal components clean and offer tips to keep your air conditioning running efficiently with pets. 

Get in Touch with for Indoor Air Quality Services 

If you want to minimize the impact your pets have on your HVAC system and indoor air quality, choose for tailored solutions and top-notch customer service. We offer a range of indoor air quality products to help keep pet hair and dander at bay, such as advanced air filtration, whole-house ventilation and air duct cleaning. We can also maintain your HVAC system for maximum performance and efficiency. Enjoy the peace of mind that everything we do is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To request indoor air quality services in North America, please contact today

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