The benefits of pet ownership are measurable: Lower stress levels, less likelihood of heart attacks, increased fitness, and reduced depression.
But there is a dark side: Allergies
Approximately 10% of people have some sort of pet allergy, two-thirds of which are cat allergies. These unfortunate souls have to deal with runny noses, itchy eyes, bothersome sneezing fits, rashes, breathing problems and swollen nasal membranes.
A pet allergy is an immune response to a protein found in urine, saliva and the skin of cats and dogs. This protein is discharged into the air when pets shed, releasing dander (dead skin cells). While some breeds are more likely to cause an allergic reaction, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat or dog.
Modifications to deal with pets in the home
Even with no allergies, you want to make sure to replace your furnace filter more frequently as pet hairs and other contaminants can gather in the filter, clogging it faster and gathering in your ductwork and other surfaces.
For allergy situations, mechanical system modifications can go a long way to alleviate some of the issues with pet allergies.
Typical HVAC filters are capable of removing particles down to 3 microns in size, depending on its Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating.
High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are capable of removing 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size. This includes pet dander at 2.5 microns.
In addition to changing your filter type to HEPA, you can get an air purifier that goes the extra mile in removing small particles like pet dander. Keep in mind this is no replacement for proper filtration in your furnace, only a supplement.
More frequent duct cleaning will reduce allergens and pet hair recirculation in your home. Increased ventilation helps replace stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air. Installing a ventilator or having an outdoor air intake duct could be a great addition for pet owners.
For all other situations, give Choice Comfort Services a call and we can get your HVAC system pet-owner friendly.