How Indoor Pets Change Air Quality and How to Improve It
Our beloved pets bring us immeasurable happiness, but they also bring something else: a complex web of indoor air quality concerns. It’s no secret that pets come with a lot of love and a generous helping of pet dander. Dander consists of tiny skin particles, hair and other microscopic debris that pets shed naturally. While dander might seem harmless, it can become airborne and contribute to a variety of indoor air quality problems, particularly for those with allergies or respiratory issues. This is especially relevant as we use HVAC systems, which can circulate these particles and pet-related odors throughout our homes.
How Pets Change a Home’s Indoor Air Quality
Allergies, Asthma and Health Concerns
For individuals sensitive to allergens, pet dander can trigger allergies and exacerbate asthma symptoms. Common reactions include sneezing, coughing, itchy or watery eyes and even difficulty breathing. If you or your family members experience these symptoms, your pets might be unwitting contributors.
Odors and VOCs
We adore our pets, but sometimes their unique aroma can linger indoors. This is not just about the obvious odors; pet urine and feces can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, impacting the overall indoor air quality (IAQ). These compounds can lead to headaches and nausea. Additionally, they can cause general feelings of irritation in the eyes, nose and throat.
Pets can also introduce microorganisms into the indoor environment, including bacteria, fungi and parasites. These microorganisms can lead to infections, particularly in individuals with compromised immune systems.
Strategies to Improve Indoor Air Quality With Pets
Having a furry companion doesn’t mean you need to surrender and have compromised indoor air quality. There are solutions to help you combat these issues and improve the air you breathe without compromising the lifestyle your pets enjoy in your home.
Regularly Scheduled Pet Grooming
Keeping your pets well-groomed can significantly reduce shedding and dander production. Regular brushing and baths can help keep loose hair and skin particles at bay, minimizing the number of airborne allergens.
Regular cleaning of your home is essential when pets are part of the family. Vacuum carpets and rugs using vacuum cleaners equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, and mop hard surfaces frequently to minimize dust and dander accumulation.
You could create a few pet-free zones, which may be an unconventional suggestion and one that won’t work for every family. Many pet owners want their pets to feel free to roam, and that is an understandable personal decision. However, if indoor air quality is a priority, you can consider creating one or two pet-free zones in your home. This will limit the spread of allergens and odors from your pets and will make it easier to clean up after them. This may mean keeping the pets out of your office, basement or the upper floor of your home.
High-Quality Air Filters
Invest in HEPA filters for your HVAC system. These filters are designed to capture airborne particles, including pet dander.
Your air filters need cleaning and replacement regularly. Pet owners, especially those with multiple pets or pets who shed heavily, will need to do this more often. Pet dander and hair can collect in the filters, clogging them and forcing your HVAC system to run harder. This can create uneven temperatures in your home, raise your utility bills and lead to poor indoor air quality.
Our skilled HVAC technicians at Hoff Heating & AC can help you decide on the right air filters for your home and a proper replacement schedule. Once one of our technicians visits your home and examines your system, we’ll be able to advise you on how often your filters need to be changed. On average, homes without pets need their air filters replaced every 90 days. For pet owners, this schedule is often somewhere between every 30 to 60 days. Our technician will evaluate how your filters currently look and how heavily your HVAC system runs in order to help guide you toward the best schedule for your home’s needs.
Regular HVAC Maintenance
Regular maintenance of your HVAC system by a professional technician is crucial. A well-maintained system will circulate clean air more effectively and can help prevent the buildup of pet hair and allergens in your ductwork.
Air purifiers level up your indoor air quality and can lead to a better night’s sleep, less dust in your home and greatly reduce allergens, like pet dander. They will also reduce odors. At Hoff Heating & AC, we’ve been installing air purifiers for years. Our experience has led us to become a Lennox Premier Dealer, ensuring that we install only the best units.
Homeowners looking to make a major difference in their indoor air quality will want to consider the benefits of a whole-home air purifier. These systems will circulate throughout the whole house, improve ventilation and make sure nothing is missed.
Sometimes newer homes or remodeled ones are more tightly sealed than others. This offers benefits, like improved indoor home temperature, but leads to negative aspects, like improper ventilation. For pet owners, this creates an environment where allergens and odors linger.
Proper ventilation is key to maintaining good indoor air quality. While opening windows can help, that’s not always a great solution on days when you want to control your indoor air temperature. A better solution for many homeowners is a ventilation control system. This provides an economical whole-home ventilation solution. This solution can work with your forced-air system already in your home. The ventilation control system will evaluate data including your indoor humidity levels and outdoor temperature. The motorized system will then manage air exchange and circulation, based on the needs of your home. You and your pets will then enjoy a little more fresh air, while still maintaining the efficiency of your HVAC system.
Consult the Experts
Indoor air quality impacts the daily lives of everyone in the family. At Hoff Heating & AC, we are a family-run business that works every day to improve the home comfort levels enjoyed by families in O’Fallon, MI, and the neighboring areas. We’ve made it our mission to help local homeowners achieve optimal indoor air quality and comfort.
Since 1983, we’ve worked hard to improve our services and product recommendations. Today, we offer homeowners various services, like furnace repair, installation and maintenance. We also install heat pumps. Our team of technicians is happy to install, repair and maintain your air conditioning system. Today, our indoor air quality services include installing, maintaining and repairing air purifiers, air scrubbers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers and ventilation systems.
If you have concerns about improving your home’s indoor air quality, our experts can help. We’re happy to consult. Remember, with a little extra care and attention, you can enjoy the best of both worlds: a clean, fresh home and the boundless affection of your pets. Contact Hoff Heating & AC today for more information.