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How to Choose an Air Filter When You Have a Pet


Most families in America have some kind of pet. And even though our furry friends bring lots of love and happiness to the home, they can also bring lots of fur and pet dander. If your family has a dog or cat, then you definitely know what we’re talking about.

While you can’t really stop your pet from shedding fur, you can help how it affects the air in your home. A good air filter is the first step in making sure your home stays as fur-free and allergy-free as possible.

Change Your Air Filter Frequently When You Have a Pet

You’re probably used to spending some time vacuuming and sweeping up pet hair. It’s part of the long list of chores that comes with having a pet. And even though sweeping and vacuuming will reduce the amount of pet hair in your home, it won’t solve your problem completely.

Air filters are filters that are placed in your AC unit, which removes particles like dust and pet dander from the air in your home. Air filters need to be replaced frequently. Different types of filters have different lifespans, which are printed by the manufacturer on the packaging.

But, homes with lots of furry pets might need to change their filters more frequently than instructed by the manufacturer. Even air filters designed for pet hair can get clogged with debris quickly if you have a house full of pets.

Of course, certain animals like long-haired cats and dogs will shed more frequently, so homes with these types of animals might need to change their air filters more often than those with only one short-haired animal. Get in the habit of looking at your air filter every few weeks to see if it needs changing. If it is thick with debris, you might need to change it out more frequently than the manufacturer recommends.

Choosing an Air Filter When You Have Pets

Air filters come in all shapes, sizes, and capabilities. Of course, you’ll need to purchase an air filter that fits your specific AC unit, but other than size, what type of options are available to you?

Cheap Air Filters

The cheapest option you’ll find on the market is a disposable air filter with a low MERV rating (the rating that determines how effective your air filter is at picking up microscopic particles). But be forewarned, if you have pets, this option might end up being fairly expensive. A cheap air filter might have a low upfront cost, but if you have to change it out every week, it’s not going be affordable in the long run.

HEPA Air Filters

Stepping up from this option, you can find filters designed specifically for pet owners. The great thing about these filters is that they are often HEPA filters (High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters), which means they also suck up fine particulates like bacteria, mold, and pollutants. These disposable and sometimes re-usable, washable filters are a great mid-range option for pet owners.

Electronic Air Filters

Going up from there are electronic air filters, which use static electricity to attract pet hair and other particles. These are really effective air filters, but they can be pricey. Be aware that these filters aren’t great at filtering out other pollutants and bacteria, so they might not be a good option for people with allergies or respiratory problems.

Finally, don’t let the MERV rating fool you. Higher isn’t always better. While a higher MERV rating does mean more filtering, it also means your air conditioner has to work harder to do its job, which means more energy use and higher utility bills.

For most pet owners, mid-range disposable HEPA filters are the way to go. At David Gray Heating & Air we’d be happy to meet with you and help you figure out the best air filter for your needs. Give us a call at (904) 605-8190 today or contact us online.