How to Extend the Life of Your HVAC Unit When You Have Pets

How to Extend the Life of Your HVAC Unit When You Have Pets

Having a pet is a source of endless fun and happiness. Our furry friends provide unconditional love and companionship, and millions of households across the country own a pet of some kind, with dogs and cats being the most common. However, no matter how perfect your pet is, there’s a strong chance that your home is constantly full of their hair. It gets on the furniture, in the carpets, on your clothes, and into your HVAC system. Whether or not there’s someone with allergies in your home, pet hair and dander can have a significant impact on the air quality of your house, and over time your beloved dog or cat can inadvertently take a toll on the efficiency of your system. None of us are about to do something as drastic as giving up our pets just for the sake of air quality, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to improve it. Here are some tips to help maintain your HVAC system when you have pets in the house.

Nab the Hair at the Source

Keeping the majority of your pet’s fur from ever getting into your HVAC system is just about the most effective way to keep everything running smoothly in your house. The best way to do this is by making a habit of something you know you should already be doing regularly– brushing your pet! Regularly brushing and petting your dogs and cats helps to get their fur off of them and onto the ground or into a brush, and ideally then into the trash, where it won’t end up floating around the house. Even better, brush your pets outside so that the loose hair is never in your home to begin with. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re good about getting your pets groomed regularly. Not only will the smell of your house be better for it, but it’ll keep the fur balls to a minimum!

Be Smart About Changing Your Filters

Changing your filters regularly is just something you have to be aware of as a homeowner, but when there’s a pet in the picture, adjusting your approach a little will make a big difference. You should probably be changing your filter more often than recommended if you have a pet that sheds a lot. For example, if it’s recommended to change your filter every three months, try changing it every two months. You can also time your filter changes with your pet’s shedding cycle. For example, if you have a long-haired breed of dog that blows its coat twice a year, change your filters more frequently around the time that your dog is shedding more than usual.

Keep Up with Your HVAC Maintenance

Getting regular inspections and tune-ups is a necessity for your home’s HVAC system, and when you have a pet in the house, it’s important to make sure you don’t put this maintenance off. Even if you’re more diligent than anyone you know about brushing your pet and vacuuming the house, some fur is inevitably going to get into your system and put extra stress on it. Your routine HVAC maintenance will help to keep the system in good working order in spite of this additional factor. Make sure you mention during your first inspection that you have pets who shed, and then mark your calendar to make sure you don’t forget to schedule an inspection and tune-up going forward!

Fence Off Your AC Unit

While fur is the primary factor to be aware of, there’s also another way your pets can inadvertently damage your HVAC system– by marking their territory on your AC unit. This apparatus in your yard is vital to the functioning of your system, and if your pet urinates on it frequently, it could damage the components. There’s also a risk of your pet scratching at the unit or biting on cables, which won’t be good for the unit or for your furry friend. To prevent this problem, put up a fence around the entire unit, making sure the enclosure is breathable and roughly two feet away from the sides. You’ll be keeping your HVAC system and your pet a little safer!


Just because you have a cat, dog, or other pet in your home doesn’t mean that your air quality or your HVAC system has to suffer. With a little bit of planning, you can easily keep your pet happy, your dander and hair levels down, and your system working well.