How Indoor Pets Affect Air Quality and What to do about it

You love your pets dearly – but maybe you don’t love what they do to your indoor air quality. Pets like dogs and cats release allergens into the air that can affect your breathing and your personal health. Pets can also cause odors, especially if they’re prone to having “accidents” in the house.

Fortunately, you don’t have to live with poor indoor air quality, just because you have a pet. Following these tips, you can take control of the air quality in your home – and improve your property value at the same time. These tips can help.

Clean Regularly – Your House and Your Pet

Keep your house and pet clean. Prioritize regular vacuuming, mopping and dusting to eliminate pet dander and pet hair. You may need to clean more frequently than other homeowners, but the trade-off is well worth it.

Bathe your pet as often as you can, but be careful not to overdo it. Pets don’t need baths as regularly as people, and too many can wash away your pet’s natural skin oils, leaving their skin dry and flaky.

On days when you don’t bathe your pet, brush them—outdoors, if it’s practical—to help minimize indoor shedding. If your indoor pet goes to the groomer, you might consider taking it on a more frequent basis than an outdoor pet would require.

Make “Pet Free Zones” In the House

Keep your pet out of your home’s bedrooms to help ensure that members of your household can get a good night’s sleep, free of allergens. You might have to train your pet to stay out of your bedroom at first, but after a while, you will all become accustomed to the new habit.

Switch HVAC Air Filters Frequently

Your home’s HVAC air filter is designed to remove allergens, dander, dust and hair from the air circulating through your home’s ducts. The EPA recommends changing HVAC air filters at least every 3 months as long as your home’s HVAC system is in use. As a pet owner, you may need to switch your filter more frequently. Change the filter when it appears dirty.

If you’re especially sensitive to pet dander and would like to reduce symptoms of exposure, switch to a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for “high efficiency particulate air.” HEPA filters remove smaller particles and clean the air better than standard HVAC air filters. Just remember, HEPA filters are more restrictive than standard filters, so they need to be changed more often. You can buy HEPA filters and other HVAC air filters from your nearby home improvement center or hardware store.

It’s worth noting there that if your system isn’t properly ducted and sealed, then circulating air can bypass the filter. If there is any doubt, you may want to have an HVAC professional inspect it.

Get an Air Purifier

Air purification systems are designed to eliminate contaminants like viruses, bacteria, mold spores, pollen, dust mites and pet dander. Portable air purifiers are sold in home improvement centers and online. When you’re buying one of these systems:

Do your homework. Not all air purification systems are designed to filter all pollutants. Read manufacturer specs and product reviews.
Know the size of the space. Match the size of the room to the capacity of the device.
If you’re not getting the results you want from a portable air purifier, another potential solution is a whole-home air purification system, installed by an HVAC professional. While individual air purifiers can leave some parts of your house unprotected, a whole-home air purification system protects your entire house, and may be easier to maintain overall.

If you’re installing a professional air purification system, choose the HVAC company carefully. Meet with multiple HVAC professionals to choose an upstanding company that performs quality work. Ask probing questions during your meeting with the installer, to ensure that the installer understands your needs and your concerns about your pet. This will help your installer recommend a purification system to address your needs.

Should you buy a whole-home air purification system?

Only you can decide whether a whole-home air purification system is right for you, but we’re happy to answer any questions you might have on the topic. We’ve written quite a bit on the topic of air quality, so we encourage you to look back at our previous articles:

Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality Today

Want to know more about what you can do to improve your home’s indoor air quality? Call today to make an appointment for a consultation.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash


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