When you’re a pet parent, maintaining a clean Portland, OR, home can be a challenge. Pet dander and fur are constantly shed and picked up by your HVAC system. Luckily, the type of filter you use in your home can help reduce allergy symptoms and promote healthy indoor air. Discover how to select the best air filter for your home when pets are part of the family.

1. Try Pleated Filters

Your air filter is designed to capture as many airborne particulates as possible. The traditional pleated shape creates an optimal surface area to trap a variety of pet-related particulates.

In contrast, a flat shape would reduce the surface area available for proper filtration. As a result, the filter would remain largely ineffective against pet fur and dander. Also, replacing the filter more often might be necessary. Ultimately, a pleated filter creates ample space to capture particulates over several months. Changing your filter every 30 to 90 days is ideal.

2. Look at Filter Surface Area

A pleated filter with a four-inch width is a typical filter option. Although they cost a bit more than one-inch products, the filter will last longer thanks to enhanced efficiency. Because they have a four-inch thickness, the pleats offer much more surface area than smaller versions. As pet fur and dander move through the HVAC system, this filter has plenty of space to capture particulates. Using a one-inch product might require swapping it out more often than larger filters, which increases the overall cost of filter maintenance.

3. Understanding MERV Rating

The minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, reflects a filter’s ability to stop certain particulates. For example, MERV values between one and four block large particulates only. Many smaller particulates can move through the filter and circulate back into your home. For a pet-friendly household, try a MERV value between 8 and 13.

Essentially, these values allow enough air to pass through the filter without any impedance. However, they can still capture pet fur and even dander. Choosing a MERV value higher than 13 might cause airflow problems for residential systems.

4. Explore Electrostatic Options

Pet-friendly homes also benefit from filters with electrostatic features. Basically, these pleated filters react to the airflow passing through them. The friction between the air and the filter’s materials creates static cling. As a result, particulates quickly stick to the filter.

5. Stick With Disposable Types

Homes with pets should strongly consider using disposable filters over washable varieties. There is more maintenance involved with reusable filters. Each month, the filter requires washing, drying, and reinstallation. During the cleaning process, some of the particulates can remain on the filter. As a result, the filter doesn’t work as well as it did before. If you suffer from allergies and also have pets, striving for the cleanest indoor air quality possible will help keep symptoms like a runny nose, itchy eyes, and a cough, at bay.

6. Consider Active Carbon or Hypoallergenic Options

There are filters for your home that include other features. If you’re concerned about odors, pet dander, and fur, then consider a filter with activated carbon. Activated carbon attracts odors along with other particulates. For homes with multiple pets, this filter option covers several common concerns about air quality.

Also, hypoallergenic filters attract allergens along with other particulates. For households with allergy sufferers, these filters keep the indoor air quality clean enough to calm most allergy symptoms. Alleviating coughing, sneezing, and other symptoms is possible with a mixture of air filtration and a clean household.

7. Understand When to Change the Filter

Filters must be regularly replaced for them to be as effective as possible. For homes with a lot of pet activity, changing the filter every three months is preferable. You may notice that your filter has a darkened appearance by this time. A professional can help you decide on the proper service interval for your household based on your current indoor air quality.

8. Verify Filter Sizes

The best air filter for your home will fit properly inside your HVAC system. If your system has the wrong filter, gaps between the filter and the HVAC components are commonplace. These open spaces allow air to move through the system without being filtered.

This unfiltered air contributes to the poor air quality in your home. In addition, it can create a dust layer across your HVAC components, which leads to overheating and excessive wear. You can refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended filter size for your specific unit. You can also ask a professional for assistance.

9. Match Budget to Filter Costs

A filter’s cost often reflects its quality. Typically, a filter with a higher price will remove more particulates from your indoor air thanks to high-quality materials and an elaborate design. It’s not always necessary to pay for the most expensive filter, however.

Because of the large presence of pet dander and fur in your home, it makes sense to pay a bit more for your filters. Ultimately, you’ll notice the difference when you switch from a cheaper filter to a design meant for pet families.

10. Invest in HEPA Filters

Although costly, a HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air filter, may be an option for homes with pets. Because they’re designed for hospitals and other sterile areas, these filters capture some of the smallest particulates in the air. HEPA filters are effective at removing approximately 99.97% of the particulates in your indoor air.
Because of its design, airflow through a HEPA filter is extremely limited. It’s important to match your HVAC’s specifications to a HEPA filter. Depending on the HVAC model, these filters may or may not enhance your indoor air quality. They may be more beneficial in an air filtration device.

11. Be Aware of Manufacturer Recommendations

Most professionals work alongside certain manufacturers as authorized dealers and service technicians. Typically, these manufacturers have specifications for their HVAC systems. To choose the best air filter, follow the manufacturer’s recommended parts list. Your owner’s manual will outline filter dimensions, material descriptions, and other fine details to narrow down your search.

12. Pair a Filter With Other Devices

Achieving healthy indoor air quality often involves pairing a good-quality filter with other filtration and purification devices around the home. Whole-house air purifiers can assist the HVAC system with indoor air quality without having to move portable units from one room to another. Also, consistent vacuuming floors and grooming your pets can keep fur and dander accumulation to a minimum. Speak with our Portland team to see which devices might work with your current HVAC components. As a result, your filter remains as efficient as possible between replacement services.

Serving Your Oregon Home

Evaluating your indoor air quality is just one of the available services from Specialty Heating & Cooling LLC. Explore our other options, such as AC maintenance, generators, water heaters, or ductless system installations. Also, we can install a brand-new HVAC system or air purification device. Contact Specialty Heating & Cooling LLC for an at-home evaluation today!

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