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Pet-Friendly Homes: HVAC Maintenance

Pet-Friendly Homes: HVAC MaintenanceHomes with pets now outnumber those without them, and while their companionship is invaluable, homeowners do need to pay special attention to their HVAC systems. Our furry friends increase the amount of airborne particulates indoors and may identify the outdoor condenser as a part of their territory.

Start with the basics.

Routine brushing, especially during the spring and fall when cats and dogs shed, will lower the amount of fur in the air. When temperatures permit, brush your dogs outdoors. Cats might be skittish about being groomed on the patio and could run off.

Filter changes.

How often you change the air filter depends on the quality of the filter you use and the amount of fur and dander your pet sheds. Better quality filters trap more particulates and need to be changed more frequently, unless they pleated. Filters with pleats have more surface area to hold airborne particles and fur. It’s a good idea to check the filter monthly and change it when it’s dirty.


Use HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters with your vacuum to remove as much fur and dander as possible. Avoid sweeping if you have hard surface floors because it stirs dust and hair into the air, some of which will eventually land on the air filter.


Homes with pets often benefit from having the ductwork cleaned. Besides the fur and dander that collect inside the ducts, along with household dust, pollen and mold spores. If you or a family member starts to experience more frequent or bothersome respiratory distress, consider having your ducts cleaned.

The outdoor condenser.

The condenser is vulnerable to territory-marking from dogs and possibly cats. The acids could corrode the metal housing for the condenser and could damage the coil. A fence around the condenser will prevent most of the territory marking. Leave at least three feet of clearance around the condenser for ample airflow.

If yours is among the many homes with pets and would like more information about the best air filter to use or duct cleaning, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, providing HVAC services for Portland-area homeowners.