Having dogs, cats, and other pets can bring you a huge amount of joy. The only issue is that pets also shed a ton of hair and give off lots of dander, both of which can lead to poor indoor air quality. Even so-called hypoallergenic breeds can still create issues. Pets also track in lots of pollen, mold spores, and other allergens and pollutants every time they come inside, which can worsen indoor air quality. Another issue is that there are often lots of odor-causing bacteria on pets that they can then spread throughout the home. The problems are obviously worst for people with respiratory and breathing issues like asthma, COPD, or chronic allergies, but pets can still present air quality issues even for perfectly healthy people. With that in mind, here are some tips every pet owner should consider, which will help to keep your air cleaner and prevent most air quality issues.

Replace Your HVAC Air Filter Monthly

The main purpose of an HVAC air filter is to trap dust, hair, and other particles so that they don’t cause damage or other issues with your heating and cooling system. Nonetheless, the air filter also helps to improve indoor air quality by removing pet dander, hair, and other allergens and pollutants from the home. The general recommendation is that the air filter be replaced or washed every one to three months.

However, if you have pets, you should replace your air filter at least once a month, as all of the hair and dander will cause it to get dirty and clogged much more quickly. Being diligent about replacing the filter is important as it will lead to better air quality, help to prevent issues with your HVAC system, and ensure that your heating and air conditioning work effectively and efficiently.

Use a Higher-Rated Filter

Most air filters are rated using the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) system, which measures how effectively the filter traps various-sized airborne particles. For a residential HVAC system, you should always use a filter rated between MERV 5 and MERV 12 or 13. A MERV 5 or 6 filter will trap most dust and hair, but it will have little effect on pet dander as it is much smaller. For this reason, we would typically recommend that pet owners use at least a MERV 8 or 10 filter as this will remove most dander and other smaller allergens like pollen and mold spores. While a higher MERV filter will cost a bit more, it is well worth it since it will help to prevent your pets from causing issues with poor indoor air quality.

Make Sure to Vacuum and Mop Regularly

One of the easiest ways to prevent or lessen air quality issues caused by pets is to vacuum and mop your floors regularly. If not, the pet hair and dander will continue to build up and circulate throughout the home whenever your heating or air conditioning is running. It is also a good idea to regularly vacuum and clean your HVAC vent covers as this will improve the effectiveness of your HVAC system.

Use an Air Purification or Filtration System to Improve Air Quality

By far, the best thing you can do to improve your home’s air quality and overcome issues with pet hair and dander is to install some type of whole-home air purification or filtration system. There are many different types of purification and filtration systems available, each with its advantages and drawbacks.

One of the simplest, most cost-effective, and lowest maintenance options is to install a whole-home media air filter. A media air filter is basically a much larger, more effective version of a standard HVAC air filter. These types of filters are installed directly in the ductwork and typically contain a series of different filters that work to trap particles of varying sizes. Some media filters also have a built-in fan that helps to draw air in so that the filter doesn’t restrict the air flowing through the HVAC system. Media filters often range from MERV 12 to MERV 15, which means they are much more effective than relying on the standard HVAC air filter alone. In addition to being far more effective, another advantage of media filters is that they generally only need to be replaced yearly instead of every month.

Another option is to install germicidal UV lights. While these primarily work to kill microorganisms like bacteria and viruses, they are also effective at eliminating pet odors. Some whole-home air purification systems include UV lights and some other type of filter or purifier. These systems will eliminate odors, kill bacteria and viruses, and remove most other allergens and pollutants from your home’s air.

Whole-home air purifiers like the Carrier PureAir purifier are also a great choice. This unit uses a MERV 15 filter that traps most airborne particles like pet dander, hair, and pollen. The unit also releases a powerful electrical charge that instantly kills or deactivates 99% of all viruses and bacteria the filter traps.

Plasma ionization purifiers are one of the most advanced options, and these units will work to remove or kill both airborne and surface microbes and allergens. These systems typically use a special process that produces negatively charged hydrogen peroxide ions. The unit is installed directly into the ductwork so that all the ions are circulated throughout the home.

The way that these systems improve air quality is that the ions attract and capture dander, mold spores, bacteria, and other pollutants. Once the ion attaches to any microorganism, it damages the molecule’s cell walls and changes its DNA so that it can no longer spread or reproduce. When the ions attach to any airborne particle, they also increase the size and weight of the particle. This makes it much easier for your air filter to trap the particles since they are larger.

Increasing the weight also causes many particles to fall out of the air and down to the floor, counters, and other surfaces, where they can be removed more easily every time you clean. This type of system is by far one of the most effective options as it will help to clean the air throughout the entire home. Most other purifiers and filters, on the other hand, only clean the air that flows through the HVAC system.

Your Local Indoor Air Quality Experts

At Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we install a wide range of different indoor air quality units, including media filters, plasma ionization filters, UV lights, and whole-home filtration systems. If you’re considering upgrading your HVAC system with any IAQ unit, our team can explain all the options and help you choose the best system for your needs. Our technicians also specialize in all types of heating and cooling installations as well as repairs and maintenance. We can assist if you need any plumbing services in Norcross or the Atlanta area as well. Give us a call today to learn more about the options you have for overcoming your home’s air quality issues.

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