A staggering 90% of our lives are spent indoors, and while pets bring a remarkable amount of joy into the family home, they also bring in a lot of allergens that can seriously detriment indoor air quality. The Environmental Protection agency has warned of health risks associated with poor indoor air quality; with 37-47% of US homes now including a dog and 30-37% including a cat, those warnings should not be taken lightly.
Lets take a look at how to keep the air at home safe without ousting everyone’s favorite family member.
Where Do Pet Allergens Come From?
So, what exactly is it that pets bring in that harms air quality? As every dog or cat owner knows, pets can shed a lot of fur and while this can be annoying and clog your air filters (more on that in a bit) it generally doesn’t irritate the respiratory system.
The big problem is pet dander. Dander is a small, sometimes microscopic, skin flake that is regularly shed off of mammals with fur, hair, or feathers. Dander travels through the air on house dust and then into the lungs of the occupants where it can cause irritation or allergic reactions.
Other sources of pet irritants come from their dried saliva that can build up in their fur and get shaken off into the air, or from dust released from their dried feces.
Change Air Filters and Use HEPA filters
Filters are your first and best tool to keep your home’s air fresh and allergen free. However, as your pets shed their fur and dander, air filters become clogged and make your system less efficient. A less efficient system means higher heating bills and lower life expectancy for your system. Regularly replacing air filters can go a long way to improving your home’s air quality and your family’s health and comfort, while also saving you a couple bucks.
Traditional air filters, however, might not be up to the challenge of filtering out pet dander. If you really want to filter out nearly all (99.97%) air pollutants, consider integrating a HEPA filter into your system. Contact your local HVAC experts for more information.
Clean Air Ducts
Having pristine air filters doesn’t do much if your air ducts don’t also receive regular attention. Over time, air ducts can collect dust, bacteria and viruses (it is an ideal breeding ground for them), mold, and other nasties. If your ducts aren’t regularly cleaned, every time your air kicks on, pieces of whatever is stuck up there get blasted back into your home. Make sure to have your ducts serviced regularly!
Lastly, having a regular bath schedule for your pet goes a long way in reducing what they would otherwise release into your air. Vacuuming, dusting, and keeping pets off of furniture, carpets, and bed helps prevent dander from building up in fabrics where it will slowly find its way into the air.
This week in Allentown, temperatures will make it to the high 50s. Spring is right around the corner! Unfortunately, so is allergy season. These tips for helping to keep your air clean while co-existing with your furry companion will also help in the fight against spring allergies. Change your filters and contact MBI for your regular maintenance and duct cleaning at: 610.821.9555