Is There Pet Dander in Your HVAC System? HVAC Maintenance for Davis Pet Owners
Like people all over the country, Davisites take pet ownership pretty seriously. Dogs and cats are often as much a part of the family as anybody else, and whether you’re walking your dog downtown or getting their check-ups at the vet, we know they’re near and dear to your heart. Considering that the UC Davis school of veterinary medicine is top-ranked, it’s no surprise so many folks in town have pets. It might be a surprise, however, to learn that pets and HVAC are not unrelated—which is why we’re going to discuss a few pet-focused HVAC topics today that you may not have thought of.
A Little Training
Most homeowners with air-conditioning have their condenser—that’s the outdoor AC —unit in the back or side yard. Not too many think about the implications of that when it comes to their dog who, over the course of his or her furry lifetime, probably pees or marks on just about everything in the yard more than once. That’s normal dog behavior, and there’s no harm in it if they can’t get to your condenser. But if you notice Fido lifting his leg near your outdoor AC unit, it might be time to train him out of it. We’re big fans of positive reinforcement early on, but there are a number of great ways to stop the dog from using the condenser as a bathroom. Although we do install condenser covers, they will not protect against damage caused by dog urine.
It does sound silly—after all, the condenser is outdoors, right? It’s surely designed for rugged conditions! But there are chemicals in dog urine that you don’t regularly encounter in nature and certainly not in ordinary rain and other kinds of moisture. If your condenser appears to be falling apart, has bubbling paint, or has “crumbling” fins, it could be connected to your dog. And then you could be looking at condenser replacement sooner rather than later.
HVAC and Pet Dander
We love having our pets indoors, and even in a temperate climate like ours, most animals in the region spend a lot of time inside the house with the family. That means we need to be especially thorough and stay on top of routine maintenance. As you probably know, pets shed a lot of hair. And with that hair comes dander that you can’t see as easily. But hair and dander both get circulated throughout the home and that means they wind up in the HVAC air filters. As a result, people with pets are likely to need more frequent filter changes than those without pets. Frequent blog readers will know that we’re big on filter changes, and that clogged filters will cause your system to overtax itself, shortening its lifespan and leading to costly repairs.
In addition, many pets live in homes with people who suffer mild pet allergies or other respiratory conditions, none of which are alleviated by all that hair and dander floating around. It’s important to get filters changed so the system continues to catch as much of that stuff as possible. If this is a real concern in your home, you may want to consider a home air purifier. We install the ActivTek 2000 model, which is also used in medical and research facilities all over the country. Designed to remove allergens and other contaminants from your home’s air, it works with your HVAC system to keep things as clean as possible.
Part of the Family
HVAC is about home comfort for your family, and our pets are members of the family! We might not think about their comfort as much, but it’s important to remember they live in our homes too—especially if we’re gone during the day. It may come as a surprise, but cats and dogs don’t sweat like humans do. Sweating is an important part of heat regulation for us homo sapiens, but most animals don’t have enough sweat glands to do things that way. This leaves them more at the mercy of the elements. We all know not to leave a dog in a car on a hot day, but it goes even further than that. A hot house isn’t like a hot car, but while your pet won’t die, they may become very uncomfortable. If it’s too warm inside for you, it’s probably too warm for them. If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure to leave the AC on a bit for your pets. You may save money if you cool only while you’re home, but you’re not doing your pets any favors. And comfort for the whole family —including the furry ones—is the whole point of HVAC in your home.