How To Choose An Air Filter When You Have A Pet

pets at home

Most households in America have pets, and it’s simple to understand why. It is said that pets lower stress, add joy, and offer companionship. Research confirms that pets increase mental and physical health. It’s no wonder that many people think of pets as family members who can roam around the home as they like. The disadvantage is that they distribute dander and fur wherever they pass. Unfortunately, this has a negative effect on the quality of indoor air. Fur and dander can trigger asthma attacks, allergies, and other respiratory problems. Pet owners can prevent this by being knowledgeable about choosing the correct HVAC air filter for homes with pets.

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The Function Of An HVAC Filter

image of a man looking at hvac air vent and air filter

An air filter’s main job is to stop undesirable airborne particles from entering the heating, cooling, and ventilation system. Air can pass through but dust, dirt, fur, pollen, and other contaminants are collected on the surface of the filter. The system maintains cleanliness for longer, which increases the lifespan of the equipment. The indoor air quality also increases because the amount of pollutants is drastically reduced. Provided the owner replaces the air filters every 30 days or so, the HVAC system will run with an elevated level of energy efficiency.

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MERV Ratings

Air filters are given a rating based on their capability of capturing airborne contaminants. These capabilities are expressed through the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating. In this case, higher is better. However, you will have to spend more for better performance.

On the bottom of the scale are MERV filters 1-4, These offer the least amount of protection. They can block fibers, dust mites, and pollen but little else. MERV filters 5-8 can capture all of these contaminants as well as mold spores and dust, so they are much more effective.

MERV filters 9-12 can catch allergens that are smaller like pet dander so that people who have mild allergies can breathe easier. The highest ratings given to air filters are MERV 13-16. HVAC units with this rating can even stop bacteria and viruses, so they are ideal for people who have respiratory sensitivities.

An Excess Of Hair And Fur Results In More Frequent Air Filter Replacements

All houses have pollution indoors, but homes with pets have additional problems to deal with. The more pets you have, the more indoor air quality is affected. Pet owners should vacuum to get as much pet fur off their sofas, bedding, carpets, and other surfaces. In addition, they should replace the HVAC air filter more often than the manufacturer recommends. After all, they have more contaminants in the air than usual, so the filter will get dirty quicker. This is particularly true if they have a long-haired pet breed because these animals often shed more.


HVAC Filter Types

indoor air quality

Now that you have an idea of what air filters are and why they are important, you should familiarize yourself with the various types on offer for your HVAC unit. Find out about their strengths, weaknesses, and quirks, as well as which types are appropriate for your particular situation as a pet owner who is concerned with the quality of indoor air and longevity of your equipment.

Air Filters That Are Disposable

If your budget is limited, you may be forced to buy the cheapest air filter on offer. These are disposable filters that often have the lowest MERV ratings. These filters are not very effective at stopping particles in the air, but it’s difficult to complain about them if they are the only ones you can afford. Don’t forget that disposable filters will need to be replaced more often because of the excess pet fur suspended in the air. The low initial cost will end up being canceled out by the higher costs of maintenance.

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HEPA Filters

allergies to pets

HEPA filters, also known as high-efficiency particulate air filters, are high-quality choices that adhere to a strict standard. They can catch up to 99.7 percent of airborne contaminants that are bigger than 0.3 microns wide. This is effective enough to catch nearly all pet hair, in addition to other allergens that are common. If you have family members with respiratory problems, then it is worth it to invest in this form of HVAC air filter. Just be sure to clean the filter every so often to prevent blockages.

Electronic HVAC Filters

While HEPA filters are outstanding on their own, you might want even more protection than just what they can provide. Think about electronic filters that can eliminate the majority of particles that are 0.1 microns wide or bigger. These progressive filters can be a bit noisy when pet hair comes into contact with them. Electronic air filters are also pricier than HEPA filters, so expect to dole out money to get these.

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In order to take care of their pets, pet owners must take care of themselves. If pet owners get chronic asthma or allergies from the pet dander, they will be too sick to take care of others. Avoid these types of episodes by using dependable air filters for your HVAC unit. Ensure that the filters can stop the majority of particles by choosing the correct type and determining their efficiency rating. Avoid using disposable air filters unless your budget is tight. Electronic filters and HEPA filters are much better at doing their job. For greater confidence in filtering capabilities, look for filters with high MERV ratings.


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Wilcox Energy provides the best cooling and heating services in the area. Our professional HVAC technicians are certified and can give you exceptional HVAC installations, repairs, tune-ups, and replacements. All of our technicians have the know-how and expertise to correctly service your HVAC unit.

Wilcox Energy guarantees the best service costs for cooling and heating in the region. With our maintenance services, you can increase your level of comfort and improve the energy efficiency in your home, all while lowering your costs for home cooling. If you are in need of an HVAC replacement system or repair, we can advise you on the ideal unit for your home that will also stay within your budget. Give Wilcox Energy a call today to book a service appointment and get your free in-home estimate.

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For more information about our HVAC services, be sure to contact Wilcox Energy. You can click here to contact us, or you can call us at (860) 399-6218 to find out more. We offer a full line of heating and cooling repairs, maintenance services, and installations.