A Pet Owner’s Guide to Better Air Quality at Home

There’s no question our furry little friends do a lot to brighten up our lives. But for some of us—especially those with pets that shed excessively—it can be a struggle to keep the hair and dander (and allergies!) at bay. We asked A.N. Roth’s General Manager Richard Roth for some helpful HVAC tips for pet owners and here’s what he had to say…

Is there a specific schedule you recommend to pet owners for changing their HVAC filters?  

If you’re using a 1” pleated filter, we recommend checking the filter when once per month. To tell if the pleated filter is dirty, you can hold it up to the light and verify it is still opaque or that you can see light through it, which means it’s still got some life left in it. Just because the white media has turned grey doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ready to be replaced. Once you get a feel for how often you need to change your filter, you should set a reminder on your calendar. It’s also a good idea to write the current date on the filter when you replace it.  We also recommend at least a MERV 8 filter and no higher than a MERV 11 for 1″ filters.

Another thing to be aware of with shedding animals is keeping return air grilles clean. This is the side of the system that pulls air in so pet hair can collect on the grille surfaces and restrict flow. Regularly checking the grilles and cleaning out the collected hair can be just as critical as checking the filters when it comes to alleviating pet hair and dander.

Should I be doing anything different for cats vs. dogs? 

When it comes to dogs, if your pet has access to your outdoor unit, it may choose your air conditioner as a regular spot to lift its leg. Over time the acidity of pet urine can dissolve the aluminum fins and ruin the performance of the system. It’s always best to encourage them to do their business elsewhere.

Do you recommend a specific air filtration system for pet owners?  

If protecting your HVAC equipment is your primary goal, a MERV 8 pleated filter will do the job, but we recommend using a MERV 11 if available. You can find a quality, reasonably priced MERV 11 filter at A.N. Roth’s online filter store. If you’re trying to catch particulate-sized pet dander, you’ll need to consider a polarized media filter or a HEPA style like the IQ Air Perfect 16.  More information about both of these can be found in the Healthy Home section of our website.

Is there anything an HVAC system can do to help with pet odor?  

Generally, odors should be handled at the source (that means you, Fido!), but there is technology that can be added to your HVAC system to neutralize odors. We use products called the PureAirX FM2 and RM2, which are UVC systems that produce a small amount of ozone. When applied correctly, ozone will mix in the air moving through the duct system, neutralize odor, and dissipate before leaving the duct system. This is the same process Mother Nature uses to neutralize odors by using sun rays, oxygen, and water present in our environment. (Click here for a more in depth video on the topic.)

If you have any other questions about HVAC and your pets or any other issue related to your home’s heating and air conditioning system, call A. N. Roth at 502.584.8502 or contact us today.