The winter months really tax your HVAC system, and if you have pets in the house, the impact is even greater. More pets means more hair, dander, and dirt in the air; this adds up to a greater task for your home’s air filters, which in turn makes your heating system work harder to heat your home. But there are steps you can take to lessen the burden and keep the air in your home healthier and cleaner.
HVAC-Friendly Pet Practices
The best way to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape all year, but especially in the winter months, is to change your air filters regularly. As the authors of this article, written for the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), explain, “A system that has a dirty filter can suffer from pressure drop, which can lead to reduced air flow, or ‘blow-out,’ resulting in no air infiltration at all. Any of these conditions can cause the system to work harder to keep the home warm or cool (depending on the season and the setting). And any mechanical component that has to work harder to run efficiently puts undue stress on the whole system, which can lead to premature failure, resulting in repair or replacement.” To best protect your HVAC system, InterNACHI suggests that pet owners change out air filters on a monthly basis.
You can also lessen the burden on your heating system this winter by keeping your pets groomed. Regular bathing keeps animals’ dander at bay, and grooming does away with the excess hair that many animals grow in the winter, when we are not as eager schedule their haircuts as we may be in the summer months. Even the simple act of regularly brushing your pet (outdoors or on the back porch!) is a great way to cut down on the hair and dander that can make its way into your home’s air filters.
Pet hair doesn’t just tax your air filters, though. If you look closely, you will notice that unless you are really diligent about it, hair begins to accumulate in the registers and vents throughout your home, too. Be sure to give these vents some TLC each time your vacuum in order to ward off the buildup of hair which both prevents proper airflow and puts dust and hair back into the air each time your heating unit cycles on.
With these simple commitments, you can help your HVAC system run as efficiently as possible this winter.