heating and cooling

6 Must-Know Heating and Cooling Tips for Pet Owners

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If you have pets in your home, you probably consider them part of your family and know that it’s important to keep them comfortable. After all, they live in your home, too, and there’s a good chance they spend more time there than you.

But, as much as we love our furry friends, most pet owners also know the frustration of hair and dander spreading throughout the house, creating unpleasant odors, decreasing your home’s air quality, and even putting a strain on your heating and air conditioning system. That’s why you’ll want to take a few precautions to prevent any damage to your system. Here are some heating and cooling tips for pet owners:

BATHE AND GROOM YOUR PETS

Regularly bathing and grooming your pets has several benefits for you and your home. Making a habit of cleaning and grooming works as a great preventative measure, as it’s the first step to improving your home’s air quality before contaminants become a problem.

By periodically spending a few minutes brushing your pet and disposing of the extra hair, you’ll notice a world of difference around your home. It will also mean you’ll have to sweep less frequently, and it even has benefits for your pets, keeping them lighter and more comfortable.

UPGRADE TO A HEPA OR HIGH-EFFICIENCY FILTER

A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is denser than regular air filters and removes significantly more pollutants and particles from the air in your home. This includes pet hair and pet dander, as well as other dust and debris. Top HEPA filters will remove 99.97 percent of particles down to 0.3 microns (1/25,000 of an inch) in diameter, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Many residential heating and air conditioning systems may not be compatible with HEPA filters, as the filters are too dense for the system’s fans. This could have an adverse effect on your system. However, high efficiency (non-HEPA) filters with a MERV rating of 13 or higher are almost as effective as HEPA filters at removing particles from the air in your home.

CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER EVERY MONTH

An air filter’s efficiency rating means very little if you don’t routinely change your filter. The frequency at which you should change your air filter depends on your lifestyle, but pet owners should change the air filter every one or two months. If you don’t change your filter routinely, it becomes clogged with dust, hair, and dander, allowing very little air through.

Failing to change your air filter regularly, especially if you’re a pet owner, could lead to lingering odors throughout your ducts and your home. It could also decrease the efficiency of your heating and cooling system, and even potentially cause major damage if it becomes too clogged.

KEEP TEMPERATURES COMFORTABLE FOR YOUR PETS

Our pets can’t communicate their preference for the temperature, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider their comfort when setting the thermostat. While it’s not uncommon, and actually encouraged, to set your AC a few degrees higher when you’re not at home, keep in mind that the temperature plays a big role for your pets’ health and comfort.

If you’re a pet owner, the Alliance to Save Energy suggests keeping the thermostat around 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, and 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, while the house is empty (of humans). If your pet needs special accommodations due to their health, breed or lifestyle, you should speak with your veterinarian about where to set your thermostat while you’re away.

SCHEDULE REGULAR DUCT CLEANINGS AND INSPECTIONS

Even with the use of high-efficiency air filters, a lot of pet hair and dander can accumulate in a home’s ductwork over time. That’s why it’s recommended that pet owners schedule regular duct inspections and have their home’s ducts cleaned as needed.

Ducts should be checked by a professional for the buildup of contaminants such as pet hair and dander, pollen, mold spores, dust and other debris. Ducts should also be inspected for holes, tears, and leaks, especially at seams or other vulnerable areas.

TURN OFF YOUR FANS WHEN YOU’RE NOT HOME

Ceiling fans may be great for you on a hot day, but they don’t benefit your pet. Because most dogs and cats are covered in fur, they don’t feel the effects of the ceiling fan the same way we do. By constantly running your ceiling fan when you’re not home, you’re wasting energy. You could also be circulating pet hair and dander throughout the air in your home

If you have pets and it has been a while since you’ve had a tune-up on your heating and air conditioning system, you should consider scheduling maintenance as soon as possible. McCoy's Heating & Air Conditioning Preventative Maintenance Plans offer a twice-yearly 28-point inspections, discounts on parts and other great perks to ensure you – and your pets – are always comfortable.

5 HVAC Tips for Homes with Pets

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Cats and dogs are beloved by many, and numerous people in the United States share their homes with pets. If you live with a furry or feathered friend, there are several things you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure that your home’s HVAC system is running smoothly and that your home’s air quality is not compromised.

Control Pet Dander

Pet dander is made up of tiny, oftentimes microscopic, flakes of skin and is found on animals with fur or feathers. Most people who suffer from allergies to cats and dogs are not allergic to the pet’s hair, but instead the pet’s dander. Dander is produced by most pets and can seriously affect your home’s air quality. This can occur as the dander accumulates and is distributed throughout your home by way of your HVAC system.

The most important step in reducing pet dander in the home is prevention. Regular grooming of your pets is essential to their health and well-being, but it can also make a huge difference in the amount of dander they produce. Clean, well hydrated and moisturized skin will create less dander. Bathe your cat or dog regularly using a gentle, moisturizing soap (as recommended by your veterinarian) and brush your pet’s fur regularly. Adding these simple steps to your pet care routine can go a long way in preventing dander.

Change Your Filter

It’s good practice to change your HVAC system’s air filter regularly to ensure better air quality within your home. If you share your space with pets, change it twice as often as recommended.

Upgrade Your Filter

Even better than simply changing your air filter more frequently is to invest in your home’s air quality by upgrading to a HEPA filter. The benefits of switching to a HEPA filter are numerous. HEPA filters are made of densely packed layers of fibers which can capture ultrafine dust and dirt particles. This type of filter is ranked very high for its effectiveness and can remove approximately 99% of particles from your home’s air.

Clean Your Ducts

Having your home’s ducts cleaned can go a long way in dealing with pet dander. Dander, along with other dirt particles, can get trapped within your ductwork, which is a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Since your home’s air passes through this ductwork, the trapped dirt, bacteria and mold will get discharged throughout your home each time your HVAC system is turned on. Having your ducts cleaned can eliminate this recirculating dirt and dander.

Seal Your Ducts

If your air ducts have cracks or leaks, this will allow pet dander an easy entryway inside the ductwork, which can majorly affect the quality of the air that passes through your home. After you have your ductwork cleaned, consider also having the ducts sealed to prevent further dirt from accumulating in your home’s ductwork.

We at McCoy's can help with all of your indoor air quality needs. Check out our offered services, and give us a call today to learn more about how we can help improve your home’s air quality!

Think Outside The House

While it’s true that there are plenty of things you can do within the walls of your home to save energy, many homeowners aren’t aware that the great outdoors can be a huge drain on your monthly energy bills. Ok, so maybe you’re thinking that if it’s an outdoor space then it’s not affecting your indoor comfort or energy bills. But that’s a myth that will cost you. To get your energy spending under control, consider these tips:

  • Sunscreen isn’t just for your skin. Outdoor spaces such as porches and patios often allow the sun to overheat your home. In fact, planting trees and shrubs on the sunny side of your house – especially ones that provide a screen for your heating and cooling unit – can help cut your energy costs by as much as 10%.
  • Seek shade – for your windows and doors that is. Installing outdoor awnings to block sunlight helps keep your home cooler during the summer months, and helps save your energy dollars – which is even more cool.
  • Saving start at the top. If you’re thinking of replacing your roof, reflective materials may be the way to go. When the sun’s heat bounces off the roof, the amount of heat entering is reduced. Even better? Many of these types of roofs are eligible for the $1,500 tax credits that end this year.
  • Install motion sensors on outdoor light fixtures. You won’t have to remember to turn them off and they will still discourage unwanted ‘guests’ during the night.

Bottom Line: Saving energy doesn’t stop inside the four walls of your home. It extends to include everything around your home as well. Being aware of outdoor energy wasters – and savers – can keep your cold, hard cash in your wallet where it belongs.