May 08

How to Choose an Air Filter When You Have a Pet

image of pets on floor depicting dander and indoor air quality

The majority of households in the United States have pets, and it isn’t a surprising fact. After all, pets bring joy, offer companionship, and reduce stress. Studies have also confirmed pets boost our health, whether physically or mentally. It’s easy to see why many people consider pets part of the family who are free to roam around the house as they like. Unfortunately, this also means dander and fur spread wherever they go, which can negatively affect indoor air quality. These allergens can trigger allergies and respiratory ailments like asthma. Pet owners can help prevent these issues when they know how to select the proper HVAC air filter for homes with pets.

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What Does An HVAC Air Filter Do?

The main responsibility of an air filter is to stop unwanted airborne particles at the entryway of the HVAC system. Air can pass through, but the filter captures contaminants such as pollen, dust, first, and fur. They stay on the filter surface, so the system remains cleaner longer, improving the unit’s service life. The home’s indoor air quality also increases because of the significant reduction in pollutants. The homeowner only needs to ensure that the filters are replaced monthly or so. This way, the system can run at a high energy efficiency level.

Related Article: How To Keep Dust Out Of Your HVAC System

What Is MERV Rating?

image of a man replacing home air filter

The ratings given to air filters are based on their ability to catch airborne pollutants. These are shown via the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). A higher MERV rating is better, but you have to spend more to get improved performance.

The lowest levels are MERV 1 to 4 filters. They offer the lowest protection level. They can catch pollen, fibers, and dust mites but not much else. The mid-levels are MERV 5 to 8, and these can block dust and mold spores. This makes them more useful.

MERV 9 to 12 can catch smaller allergens, including pet dander, so people with mild allergies can breathe more freely. The highest ratings are MERV 13 to 16. These ratings are given to air filters that can block bacteria and viruses, making them the ideal units for people with respiratory sensitivities.

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Related Article: 6 Common Household Products That Pollute Your Home’s Air

Excess Fur and Hair Lead to More Frequent Air Filter Replacements

All homes have indoor air pollution, but those living with pets have more issues at hand. The more pets, the bigger the toll on your air quality. Owners should use a vacuum to remove as much pet hair as possible from surfaces like sofas, carpets, and bedding. They should change the air filter more often than the manufacturer recommends. Their home has an above-average number of air contaminants, so the filter gets dirty faster than normal. This is especially the case if the breed has long hair because they are likely to shed more.

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Types Of HVAC Filters

Now that you know about air filters and the reasons they are important, familiarize yourself with the various types available for your HVAC system. Learn more about their strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. Find out which filters fit your specific home situation as a pet owner concerned about system longevity and indoor air quality.

  • Disposable Air Filters: You may be forced to get the cheapest filter available if your budget is limited. This means you’ll get disposable filters with low MERV ratings. They aren’t that effective at blocking airborne particles, but it’s hard to complain if these are what you can afford. Remember that you will need to replace disposable filters more frequently because of all the excess fur floating in the air. The high maintenance cost will negate the disposable filter’s low cost at the onset.
  • HEPA Air Filters: Commonly known as HEPA filters, high-efficiency particulate air filters are quality options that pass through a strict standard. They can trap up to 99.7% of contaminants larger than 0.3 microns in width. This is sufficient to catch virtually pet hair and other common allergens. It is worth investing in this air filter type if your family members have respiratory issues. Ensure that you clean it up periodically to prevent clogs.
  • Electronic Air Filters: HEPA filters are exceptional on their own, but you may want even better protection than what they can provide. Consider electronic air filters, which can remove most particles 0.1 microns or larger. These innovative filters can emit a little bit of sound as they make direct contact with pet hair. They are also costlier than HEPA filters, so be prepared to spend more to get these filters.
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Owners need to take care of themselves to care for their pets. If their allergies or asthma are triggered by pet dander, they may get too sick to attend to others’ needs. Keep these ailments from happening by using reliable air filters on your HVAC system. Get the correct filter type and check their efficiency rating to ensure that they can block most particles. Don’t use disposable filters unless you have a tight budget. HEPA and electronic filters can do a far better job. Use filters with high MERV ratings to be sure of their filtration capabilities.

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Related Article: Simple Tips For Pet Owners To Improve Their Indoor Air Quality

Call Skylands Energy Service For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

image of skylands energy service logoFor outstanding heating and cooling services in central New Jersey, contact Skylands Energy Service. We have only the best professionally certified HVAC technicians who are knowledgeable and experienced in servicing any HVAC unit correctly. Our skilled techs can conduct exceptional heating and cooling services like furnace replacements, boiler tune-ups, air conditioner repairs, and more.

Skylands Energy Service offers highly competitive HVAC service prices in the region. Our maintenance services can increase your energy efficiency and comfort and lower your energy expenses. We can provide you with the most suitable indoor air quality solutions for your home. When you need an HVAC repair or replacement system, we can give you the best recommendations for your home and budget. To ensure your satisfaction, all our work is guaranteed. Give Skylands Energy Service a call to schedule your next service appointment. We provide free, in-home estimates.

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