Written by: Frank Hausman of Home Air Advisor
We all love our pets. From the cuddles that they give us to motivating us to get outdoors, having a pet can be a great joy in life. However, if you’re concerned about indoor air quality, then you may be nervous about having a pet. If you’re sensitive to pet dander or have allergies in general, then having a pet may seem like a challenge.
What exactly is pet dander? Simply put is that dander is pieces of skin that slough off naturally and end up in the air. This is the main culprit when it comes to pet allergies. Although you may have thought you were allergic or irritated by pet fur, it’s actually the dander that causes a negative reaction most of the time. Anyone with allergies or even asthma may find themselves having difficulty breathing when pets are around.
The problem may be worse when you have multiple pets in a home. How exactly do you improve the air quality? While the simplest answer would be to try and find pets that are more hypoallergenic, this isn’t always an option. There are steps you can take to improve indoor air quality though. If you’re not sure of where to get started, these five comprehensive tips will give you an idea of what to do.
1. Develop a Grooming Schedule
Making sure that your pet stays clean is the key to preventing dander buildup. Your pet’s grooming habits don’t have to be extensive but they’ll help to cut down on potential allergens. Talk to your vet about how often your pet should be groomed. Regular brushing is usually a good idea but your pet may have more sensitive skin so check with a professional for general guidelines.
You may be able to do some grooming on your own but it’s never a bad idea to reach out to the professionals. Schedule visits with a groomer and use a schedule to make sure that you get this done on a regular basis. Most pets enjoy going to the groomer and they’ll often feel happier and healthier after having this done.
2. Clean the House Frequently
Even when you do a good job of keeping your pets clean, there is always going to be some pet dander because pet dander stays a long time in your house. When you have pets, routinely cleaning becomes a simple necessity. When your pet has an accident, clean up the mess right away for the best results.
Vacuum the house regularly, especially any areas that your pet likes to sit or lay down. Any bedding like blankets or dog beds should be washed on a regular basis. The goal of cleaning is to regularly remove excess hair and dander that comes off the pet’s coat. It’s also a good idea to do a deep clean periodically to get any easy-to-miss areas. If you’re too sensitive to take on this task due to breathing concerns, consider scheduling professional cleaners occasionally to help you out.
3. Change the Air Filters
The HVAC filters are partially responsible for ensuring that dust, dirt, and dander don’t spread throughout the home. If you don’t inspect and replace your filters on a regular basis, they become clogged and allow dander to spread throughout the home. A clogged filter can also cause you to have higher heating or cooling costs.
Changing the filter every few months is a good idea. You should also pay attention to the type of filter that you use. Some filters will trap more than others. If you’re sensitive, go for the filter that will trap the most particles for the best results.
4. Make Sure Your Ducts Are Clean
Although you may be doing all of these steps, the last recommendation is to consider having your air ducts cleaned. This is an area where dirt and dander can become trapped in the ducts. The danger will continue to be spread throughout the house, worsening your air quality over time. If you notice any dirt around the vents or are having trouble with your allergies despite making these changes, consider contacting an HVAC specialist for an inspection and cleaning.
The good news is that while having the air ducts inspected and cleaned is a good idea, it doesn’t need to be done on a frequent basis. Having them cleaned while also using good filters will keep the ducts in good shape. If you’re not sure of how often to have them cleaned, ask the HVAC specialist. They may have recommendations based on your home and the number of pets that you have living there. Stick to a schedule for the best results.
5. Get an Air Purifier
Room air purifiers are a great option to remove dander and other particles from the air. Of course, your own HVAC system will do some of this work and you can improve its function by purchasing high-quality filters. However, if you have specific rooms where you want the air quality to be excellent, then consider getting a purifier.
Typically, air purifiers can only be used in one room at a time. If you have a large open space, this may be a good place to use it. You could also get more value by using it in the room where your pet may spend the majority of their time. Some people find that their allergies are worse at nighttime so consider adding the purifier to your bedroom. Air purifiers can be very effective but they’re probably only part of the solution if you have significant allergies.
Pets are a great joy in our lives, but they also can make us sick if we’re not careful. If you want to enjoy your furry friends without having difficulty with allergens, then keeping dander at bay is your best bet. Use these five tips to avoid dander buildup. You’ll notice that the air quality is improved over time and allergy sufferers will have an easier time. By taking note of what causes these problems and some simple solutions to fix them, you’ll be breathing better in no time.