What Can Animal Hair Do to My AC Filter?

Pets are an important part of many people’s lives. In fact, pets are usually considered part of the family, and we want to keep them well-cared for.  

Unfortunately, pet hair usually has a negative impact on the efficiency of your air conditioning system. But with routine maintenance, you’ll help preserve steady airflow and protect the cooling equipment from harm. 

How Does an AC Filter Work, and Why is It So Important? 

A filter is an important part of any forced-air HVAC system. The filter is the primary solution to capture airborne particles, such as dust, pollen and pet hair, preventing these contaminants from circulating in your home. AC filters come in many different versions, including fiberglass, pleated and electrostatic. A filter’s effectiveness depends on its minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), which could be anywhere from 1 to 20, with higher ratings indicating better filtration. 

An air filter’s key purpose is the protection of the evaporator coil, blower motor and other cooling system components from dirt and debris that could cause damage. An efficient enough filter also improves indoor air quality by minimizing particulate matter, which can cause allergies, asthma attacks and other breathing problems. 

How Can Pet Hair Impact an HVAC System’s Air Filter? 

When pets shed, their hair becomes airborne and can eventually get into the HVAC system through the return air ducts. Without a filter installed, pet hair accumulates within the evaporator coil, blower motor, fan blades and other components, slowing them down and reducing efficiency. Hair can also become clogged with moisture found in the cooling system, creating a breeding ground for microbes like mold, which give off foul odors and lower indoor air quality. 

Even with a filter in place, pet hair isn’t harmless. When return airflow draws it toward the HVAC system, the filter traps the hair and prevents it from landing on vulnerable cooling components. That being said, eventually the filter will clog, limiting airflow and placing additional strain on the HVAC system. Without maintenance, high energy bills and frequent breakdowns may be right behind. 

What About Animal Dander? 

Pet dander, made up of microscopic skin flakes and saliva particles, is a common allergen that causes respiratory problems in people with allergies or asthma. You need a filter with a high MERV rating to effectively capture and remove dander, which is much smaller than pet hair. 

How to Care for Your AC System and Filter with Pets 

Maintaining an efficient, properly functioning air conditioner is certainly possible, even with pets living in your home. Here’s how: 

  • Change the filter regularly: Depending on the number of pets and the filter’s specific design, you may need a new filter every 30 to 90 days. Keep an eye on it every month and replace it when a clog appears. 
  • Periodically clean the return air ducts: Pet hair can accumulate on air registers and grilles, limiting circulation. Clean these with the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner as often as needed. Then, call a professional for cleaning out the collected pet hair, dander and dust in the air ducts every few years. 
  • Keep pets well-groomed: Regular brushing and bathing is a great strategy for reducing pet hair. Make sure to handle brushing outside and sweep the area when you’re done to stop hair from just drifting back inside. 
  • Consistently vacuum and dust: While it affects your HVAC system, pet hair can be found all throughout your home. A lot of it settles on surfaces or under furniture. Proper cleaning should include vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and washing any pet beds. 
  • Keep the area around the outdoor unit clear: Central air conditioners feature an outdoor unit secured to a concrete slab outside your home. Clear away any accumulated debris, like pet hair, grass clippings, dead leaves, and other forms of yard waste. This ensures effective heat transfer for more efficient operation. 
  • Schedule regular maintenance: An HVAC technician should inspect and maintain your air conditioning system every year, preferably in the spring. They can find and resolve any small issues, clean key components and offer tips to keep your air conditioner running efficiently with pets. 

Call for Indoor Air Quality Services 

If you’re concerned about how your pets are affecting your HVAC system and indoor air quality, turn to for expert advice and solutions. We sell and service many quality indoor air quality products to help keep pet hair and dander at bay, including high-end air filtration, whole-house ventilation and air duct cleaning. We can also maintain your HVAC system for maximum performance and efficiency. Enjoy the peace of mind that everything we do is backed by a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! To request indoor air quality services in North America, please contact today

  • How to Choose a Suitable HVAC System

    When it comes to keeping your home comfortable all year, nothing is more critical than choosing the right heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This choice influences your daily comfort, monthly utility costs and general home efficiency. But, with so many system types, sizes and... Continue reading

  • Year-End HVAC Maintenance Checklist

    Now that the air starts to get cold, you know it’s time to winterize your residence for the cooler months ahead. Your heating system is crucial to maintaining a cozy, warm setting. A well-maintained furnace delivers the comfort you desire while using less energy. Scheduled inspections also make... Continue reading

  • HVAC Trends: What’s New in 2024

    In the continuously changing world of home HVAC, keeping up with the latest HVAC trends is imperative for homeowners seeking to enhance their home’s comfort and efficiency. Looking into 2024, the HVAC industry continues to innovate, bringing new technologies and trends that promise to transform... Continue reading