The Hair You Breathe
Pets in good homes are usually treated and loved like members of the family. But while “Sparky”, “Fuzzy” and “Fluffy” are beloved members of your home, the fur and dander they shed is a major source for allergens that can drastically alter your indoor air quality.
Cleaning up after shedding pets can be a drag. And the hairballs. Those damn hairballs! But you love your little furballs of barking and meowing love. So you have no choice but to clean up after them. Because we know you love your pets, here are some tips for maintaining good indoor air quality in a home with pets:
We’ve covered air filters in the past (come on man, haven’t you been reading our blog?). But we never really mentioned that the crap that builds up on your dirty air filters can also include pet hair. When HVAC technicians inspect air filters at homes with pets, they should be pointing out to the homeowner the dog, cat, rabbit or ferret hair that’s clogging it and negatively affecting indoor air quality.
If you have a furry pet, air filters need to be changed more frequently than what is usually recommended by the manufacturer. And if you have more than one hairy critter lurking about, you will need to change your air filter even more often than if you only have one.
Clogged air filters can cause HVAC systems to have to work harder to cool a home, which can lead to major damage to your AC system down the line. This can also create a rise in your electric bills. A good AC technician will recommend higher efficiency air filters rather than standard air filters for pet owners. Higher efficiency air filters are more effective at removing pet pollutants from the system.
Hair Vents and Ducts
If you actually do read our blog regularly, you know how much we’ve stressed the importance of getting your ducts cleaned. And we’re going to do it again too, because this is our blog and we do what we want! But seriously, professional duct cleaning removes all allergens, including from pets, from circulating through the vents into the air you breathe. Duct cleaning should be done at least twice a year. And if you do read our blog regularly, you know we throw a shameless plug into our posts 99.99999999% of the time! So here it is: Super Heat & Air provides a superior duct cleaning service for your home, and we have a special $100 discount (for which we’ve conveniently placed an ad below).
Get $100 off your entire duct cleaning service from Super Heat & Air… you’re welcome!
Back to pets …
We can’t talk about indoor air quality without mentioning stuff that gets trapped on surfaces. So if you own a furry pet or two or 10, you know the deal. You (hopefully) clean up after your pet. So you know what gets left behind and lingers in the air and you SHOULD know about the allergic reactions and respiratory problems that stuff can create. You also know you should clean, dust and vacuum wood, carpets, furniture and well, everything else right? Yes? … Cool!
But what about fake pets? (Huh?) We’re talking about stuffed animals here. That’s right, those cute little cotton-filled bears, puppies, dolphins, whales, foxes, Hello Kitties, Furbys, Pokémons and whatever else you’re into sitting on your shelves are major collectors of dust and REAL pet hair too. And if you let “Roxy” and “Coco” play with those stuffed animals, don’t forget to add in the bacteria their doggy drool leaves on them! When cleaning the surfaces of your home, be sure to clean and vacuum your fake pets as well.
Groom Your Pet
Dogs and cats need haircuts just like we humans do. Seriously, if your furry pet looks like a cross between Don King and Cousin Itt from the Addams Family, take “Itt” to the groomer! Not just for looks, but for hygienic purposes and to reduce shedding and dander. There are also special pet shampoos on the market that remove pet dander and neutralize allergens from your furry pal. If you have a dog, bathe it regularly. And brush its fur outdoors to prevent fur and dander from spreading throughout your home. If you have a cat … well … good look giving that thing a bath!
Don’t Sleep with Your Pets
This section’s title sounds pretty gross, huh? But think about that for a minute. As much as you love snuggling with your “fur babies” at night, letting your pets sleep in your room or worse, in your bed, can lead to a myriad of respiratory and other health problems. We know you love your kitty cuddles and puppy snuggles at night, but is it really worth the health risks?
It’s not just the pet hair and dander (and drool) you have to worry about. Pets can carry all sorts of pests, bacteria and diseases with them when they’re playing outdoors. So after “Baxter” the cat and “Duke” the dog have been rolling around in the grass and dirt all day, what kinds of nastiness are they bringing into the bedroom with you? And we shouldn’t even have to mention this but: come on, don’t leave the kitty’s litter box in your bedroom! Seriously! If the smell alone isn’t pungent enough for you, think of all the ammonia found in cat litter. Hey, if inhaling Windex ammonia is your thing, we won’t judge you! But when you’re breathing in ammonia from the litter box, don’t forget the fecal matter you’re breathing in with it! Eww. (The guy writing this post just threw up a little in his mouth).
Did we gross you out enough with that last section? Good! Now think about how other people react when coming into your pet-populated home. Maybe you’ve gotten used to living amongst your beloved pet’s hair and filth and can breathe fine around it. But what about your guests? If you enjoy having people over, think about what they could be walking into if they suffer from allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems.
You may love your pets more than your guests. But if you love hosting parties and entertaining for company, keep in mind that your house parties are going to suck if your guests can’t breathe your air or stand the smells your pets leave behind. Or worse yet: you won’t have anymore guests because nobody can breathe! We’re probably going to get some heat from hardcore pet fanatics reading this article but: people come first! No matter how much you love your pets, remember that people matter too.
Now that we’ve given you pet owners some valuable information on indoor air quality and maybe ticked you off a little bit, enjoy this video of a jumping dog:
VIDEO: “Cool Dog”