7 Simple HVAC Maintenance Tips Every Pet Owner Should Know

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HVAC Tips For Pet Owners

by James K. Kim

People benefit from regular professional HVAC maintenance on their heating and air conditioning systems, but so do our beloved four-legged furry friends.

Just like their human owners, pets also benefit from home comfort, staying cool and comfy in the summer and cozy warm all winter.

On the other paw, both cats and dogs can potentially wreck a home’s HVAC system. How?

Keep reading to learn about 7 practical HVAC maintenance tips every pet and homeowner should follow to ensure their heating and air conditioning systems are running in tip-top shape year-round.

1. Get seasonal routine HVAC maintenance

In addition to being a requirement for equipment warranties, your HVAC system benefits from regular seasonal maintenance by professional HVAC service technicians who know what to look for in well-running machines.

Also, this preventative HVAC maintenance includes cleaning to prevent pet hair and dander from building up in your system and interfering with safe and efficient operation of the calibrated mechanical parts.

An HVAC service technician can identify and correct common HVAC issues in your system, such as

  • Mechanical aging, wear, and tear
  • Ignition misfires
  • Clogged filters
  • Dirty evaporator coils or AC outside condensing units
  • Abnormal furnace, boiler, or AC system noises
  • Thermostat failures
  • Tripped breakers and blown fuses

The ideal HVAC maintenance schedule is twice every year—once before the AC season in the spring and another before the heating season in the fall.

If you are looking for an annual HVAC maintenance plan in Westchester County, NY, reach out to Cottam Heating and Air Conditioning today.

2. Change your HVAC filters regularly

For many homeowners, furnace and AC filters are out of sight and out of mind, making it a common mistake to forget to replace them regularly.

Sometimes homes can go for several months with the same filter, leading to inefficient operation of HVAC systems and dirtier air throughout the living space.

For pet owners, it’s even more important to stay up-to-date on changing filters due to the buildup of additional dust, pet hair, dander, and other particulates.

Here are some quick tips for changing your HVAC system’s filter:

  • Consult the system owner’s manual before you purchase or change the filter to make sure you have the right size and other specifications designed for your specific HVAC system
  • Change out the filter according to manufacturer specifications (typically every few months, however you may need to replace them more regularly depending on how often your pets shed)
  • Make sure your filter is rated for trapping and reducing the pet hairs from circulating back into the HVAC system and negatively affecting its heating and cooling operation

3. Get a whole-home air cleaner

For an even greater level of air purification and pet hair reduction, pet owners may consider adding a whole-home air cleaner to their HVAC system. Alternatively, standalone air purifiers could also be a wise investment as well.

Every HVAC system filters the air in a home, but of course, it cannot account for all dog and cat hairs floating around. Additionally, pets can introduce other particulates and contaminants into the house that might never even pass through the HVAC filter.

The solution to this is a whole-house air cleaner. Air cleaners can trap up to 99.7% of all contaminants passing through the filters, simultaneously cleaning the air while greatly reducing pet hair BEFORE it reaches the interior HVAC components and adversely affecting performance and efficiency.

4. Protect the outside condensing unit from pet waste damage

Allowing a dog or cat free access to the outside condensing unit is dangerous.

Since outside condensing units draw air in, they are also powerful enough to draw in nearby loose items and debris.

If Fluffy or Mr. Meow spend a lot of time playing close to the unit, their hair and dander will be pulled directly into the unit.

Gradually over time, the pet fur will clog the unit, channeling the hair and dander right back into your house and HVAC system.

Also, it’s no secret that animals can and will urinate on almost anything. Outside condensing units and accompanying refrigerant piping are no exception.

Outside AC equipment that has been urinated on by pets will be corroded by uric acid.

A relatively simple and affordable solution to prevent this is building a protective trellis or fencing around the machine (remember to allow for service access with a gate).

Even a hedge or bush can offer protection from damaging pet waste to the unit.

5. Have your pet groomed regularly

Just because most breeds of dogs and cats “officially” shed just once or twice a year does not mean it’s uncommon to find pet hair almost everywhere in the home.

Of course, it’s virtually impossible to completely rid the house of pet hair and dander, but you can at least help reduce it with regular brushings and trips to the pet groomer.

A quality pet brush will trap hair when you brush the animal, allowing for proper disposal away from your HVAC air filter, ductwork, or outside condenser coil of your system.

Plus, regular and even daily brushing has been shown to help release useful natural oils that help preserve a healthy coat for your pet.

6. Vacuum regularly

Perhaps you already have a whole home air cleaner and you are brushing and grooming your pet regularly…there’s nothing more to worry about, right?

Not quite. Even following these helpful guidelines will still allow pet hair to collect on floors (especially carpets).

Of course, the pet hair will not stay solely on the floor either. Eventually, pet hair will go airborne and inevitably make its way into your HVAC system.

As you can imagine, the more the pet hair builds up, the more it will negatively affect HVAC system performance. You may notice less airflow from supply ducts. It may take longer to reach the thermostat set point (if at all). Or maybe the system simply won’t even turn on one day.

Help avoid these unfortunate scenarios by simply vacuuming your home every few days and help alleviate pet hair accumulation in the HVAC system.

7. Walk your pet

During warmer spring and summer months, some dogs can shed up to five times more hair than during the cooler months.

Taking your pet for a walk one to three times or more a day will help reduce the amount of hair being shed indoors. The motion from walking and running helps loosen hairs and shed more outside.

The more pet hair being shed outside, the less pet hair will collect in your HVAC system, helping decrease system issues while extending equipment life.


We can all agree that our pets are a hugely important part of our lives and families. However, so are home climate comfort and indoor air quality.

If you can’t recall when you had your last system maintenance visit, or if you are due for an appointment, then schedule your HVAC maintenance service appointment now.

Cottam Heating and Air Conditioning offers HVAC maintenance, repair, and equipment installation services in Westchester County, New York. To schedule service, fill out our contact form or give us a call today!

James K. Kim is a comfort consultant with Cottam Heating and Air Conditioning. He has over 5+ years of experience working in the HVAC industry, and specializes in helping home and business owners maintain ideal room temperatures and improve their indoor air quality. In his free time, Jim plays on two mens league ice hockey teams and two mens league baseball teams.

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