5 Pet-Friendly Indoor Air Quality Tips For a Healthier Home
Our pets are our family. They live in our homes, sleep on our couches, walk on our carpets and snuggle in our blankets. But did you know that owning a pet in your home also comes with health risks?
If you own a cat or a dog, then you already know how much of a nuisance their hair can be when cleaning your home.
And although not something we would trade in, the effects pets have on our indoor air quality is something we need to consider.
We might be able to vacuum the hair off the carpet and mop away the dirt tracked in on their paws, but what about the pet dander floating in the air? What we don’t usually think about is how this hair and dander are affecting our indoor air quality.
In this article, we take a closer look at the indoor air quality affects our pets have on our homes.
What Is Pet Dander? How Does It Affect Indoor Air Quality?
Like many of the allergens and pollutants in our indoor air, pet dander is not something we can see.
That is, not without a microscope.
Pet dander is microscopic and easily transported from one place to another. It can be airborne or even attached to fabrics (carpet, bedding, furniture etc.)
Where does it come from? Your furry friend, of course! Or any mammal with fur, feathers or hair - such as rabbits, hamsters, birds or guinea pigs.
When your pet sheds their coat (hair, fur or feathers), they release tiny particles of skin, called dander. And this dander can trigger an allergic reaction, affecting your breathing and hurting your health.
Common Pet Dander Allergy Symptoms:
- Itchy nose, throat or roof of the mouth
- Swollen under-eyes
- Irritated eyes
- Chest tightness
But dander is not the only contributing factor to poor indoor air quality from your pet.
Although harmless alone, pet hair can easily track other allergens and air pollutants in your home.
Pollen, mildew, bacteria, faeces and dust mites are just a few pollutants that can walk right through your front door without you noticing.
And each of these pollutants has its own set of health risks to watch out for as well.
So, what are some practical ways to minimize these pollutants in our homes?
Glad you asked!
5 Tips To Manage And Protect Your Indoor Air Quality With Pets
Below are some simple ways to manage pet hair, dander and other allergens at home to help protect your indoor air quality.
1. Change Your HVAC Filter regularly.
The #1 tip we have for improving and managing your indoor air quality is changing your HVAC filter regularly.
Why? Because it is one of the easiest, cheapest and most effective ways of cleaning your air!
This filter traps airborne particles before they have the chance of reaching your airways.
At Campeau Heating, we usually recommend changing your furnace filter or AC filter every 90 days. But if you have a pet or several pets, you should change your filter way more often.
Ideally, pet owners should change their filters every 40-60 days. And these filters should feature,
- A high MPR (micro performance rating) and
- A high MERV rating (minimum efficiency reporting value) of 12-14.
2. Install an Air Purification System.
Installing an air purification system is another effective way of cleaning up your air. These systems use a variety of technologies to not only filter but cleanse your air.
There are 5 types of air purification systems you can choose from:
- HEPA Filters (high-efficiency particulate air)
- UV Air Purifiers (ultravoilet)
- Negative Ion Air Purifiers
- Ozone Air Purifiers
- Activated Carbon Filters
Each produces a similar result but uses a unique form of purification to do it.
A HEPA filter can remove particulate matter with a size of 0.3 microns. It can filter out dust, pollen, bacteria, VOCs and mould (of this size) with 99.97% success.
A UV air purifier does not remove particulate matter. Instead, it deactivates or kills it. A UV air purifier can effectively deactivate microorganisms and pathogens by destroying the DNA and RNA structures. Essentially, it prevents these pollutants from growing.
Not sure which air purification system will be most effective in your home? Our air quality experts at Campeau Heating can help you choose the best option for you!
3. Install a Whole-Home Ventilation System.
Another HVAC installation that can hugely benefit your indoor air quality is a whole-home ventilation system.
If you have been tracking with our blogs for a while, you may remember us mentioning the importance of good home insulation more than once. This insulation helps keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter.
But good insulation can also trap stale air, moisture, odours, allergens and contaminants inside your home.
Installing whole-home ventilation! This system pushes stale air full of pet dander and other pollutants outdoors and replaces it with fresh, clean air.
4. Clean Your Air Ducts Regularly.
When was the last time you looked at your ductwork? Chances are, your answer is pretty much never.
And that is not uncommon.
Like your air filters, it is easy for your ductwork to go unnoticed. After all, out of sight, out of mind. Right?
Your ducts might be out of sight, but they should never be out of mind. Ignoring them will only worsen your indoor air quality!
How often do you vacuum your floors? Once a week? Twice?
You know that, with pets, if you do not keep up with the hair and dirt on your floors, it will keep building up.
Now, picture your ductwork as if it is the floors in your home. If you do not keep up with the dirt, grime and contaminants being circulated in your ductwork, it will also keep building up!
And the sneezing, wheezing and coughing will point it out.
Turns out, your ducts (or at least their effects) may not be so out of sight after all…
To help reduce the pollutants in your ductwork (pet dander, dust etc.), we recommend scheduling a professional duct cleaning.
5. Get On a Cleaning Schedule.
Pet dander, pet hair, dust bunnies and dirt can accumulate in your home without proper cleaning.
You can find this accumulation,
- Along your baseboards.
- In the corners of each room in your home.
- Behind furniture.
- On or inside your couches.
- In the crevices of your staircase etc.
To help minimize this accumulation and improve your indoor air quality, we recommend,
- Keeping a regular cleaning schedule and
- Investing in a HEPA vacuum cleaner.
Implementing a Regular Cleaning Schedule
Keeping a regular cleaning schedule means frequent mopping, vacuuming, washing and airing out. And it includes your floors, walls, furniture and linens.
Pretty much everything your pet touches or goes near regularly should be cleaned as often as possible.
Investing in a HEPA Vacuum Cleaner
As we learned earlier, HEPA technology has incredible air-purifying abilities. It is almost 100% effective in removing particulate matter sizing at 0.3 microns - including dust, pollen, bacteria, VOCs and mould.
HEPA vacuum cleaners use HEPA filtration and activated charcoal filters to help remove pet dander and unpleasant odours more effectively.
Improve Your Indoor Air Quality With Campeau Heating Products
Pets are a great addition to our families, but they don’t come without downsides.
If you have begun to see the effects of poor indoor air quality in your home, get in touch with our air quality specialists at Campeau Heating today! Our selection of air purifying products can help monitor, control and improve your air quality fast and effectively.
Call us at (705) 560-2441 or Fill In This Form for more information on our air quality products.