While our beloved pets are part of our family, they can cause several health issues for those who suffer from allergies. Allergies to pet dander, saliva, and fur don’t mean that you can’t have a furry companion. You should simply take action to promote healthy indoor air in your Frederick, MD home. This will keep symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose, and coughing at bay. Let’s look at some of the ways that air filtration systems can help with pet allergies and other indoor air quality concerns.

What Causes Pet Allergies?

Pet allergies are caused by an immune reaction to some component of an animal that you have come into contact with or that has been in the area. For most people, their pet allergy is to dogs and cats, but you can be allergic to other animals like hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs as well. Allergy symptoms can arise from exposure to an animal’s dander, which are small particles from the surface of their skin.

You can also be allergic to saliva or fur. If you have a pet in your home, all three of these allergens are present, no matter how much you clean your home. Bathing your pet can also cut back on allergen exposure, but not entirely. The more that you’re exposed to an allergen, the worse your symptoms can become. For some people, their reactions can be life-threatening.

What Is an Air Filtration System?

You’ve probably seen those portable air filtration units that can be plugged into the wall and moved from room to room in a home. While they can be very effective at removing particulates from indoor air, they don’t really cover a lot of square footage. If you have a large home and your pets have free range in that space, a portable unit likely won’t suffice. You can consider using a whole-house air purification system that addresses the quality of all your indoor air. As your HVAC system runs, air will be passed through filtration that will remove allergens, including pet dander and fur.

Unfortunately, being allergic to pet saliva is a bit of a different scenario. This isn’t something that can be filtered out of your indoor air using a purification system. However, you’ve probably walked into a home and noticed the smell of dog breath or cat litter. Some pets simply have a strong odor to them after coming in from the outdoors. Using air filtration can freshen indoor air, so it’s not detectable that a pet is even present. Filtration can also improve the smell of cat litter, urine, etc.

What Kind of Filtration Is Available?

There are different types of whole-house air filtration available. The type of unit that you use in your home will depend on several factors. These include the total square footage of your home, the number of particulates that are in your indoor air, your budget, and what contaminants you’re exposed to.

HEPA Filtration

A whole-house filtration unit can utilize HEPA filters to remove pet-based allergens from your indoor air. This pleated mechanical filter can remove as many as 99.97% of the particles that are in your indoor air. This includes pet dander, fur, pollen, mold spores, dust, and particles that are as small as 0.3 microns in size.

HEPA filtration is effective if you keep up with the routine changing of your filter. This process should be done once every 30 to 90 days, depending on the type of filter you’re using. If you have multiple pets in the home, the frequency may increase.

MERV Rating

There is a rating system that was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), which is called MERV. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. Filters that are used in your home’s HVAC system and for air filtration systems will come with a MERV rating. The higher a filter’s rating, the more particles it can remove from your indoor air. For example, a filter that has a rating of 10 MERV can effectively remove particles that are 3.0 to 10.0 microns.

You must be careful when selecting a filter based on a MERV rating. You may want to choose a filter that has a high MERV to remove as many pet particles as possible. However, your filtration equipment or HVAC system may not be able to handle the reduced air flow that occurs through high-rated filters.

Different Features of Air Filtration Devices

In addition to standard filters, air filtration devices can also come equipped with different features that can help reduce your pet allergy symptoms.

Activated Carbon Filters

Many air filtration units use an activated carbon filter to reduce odors. This is a great way to reduce particulates as well as improve the smell of your home if you have pets.

UV Light Technology

Many filtration units pass air through UV-C light, which can kill bacteria, germs, and other pathogens. This is in addition to traditional filtration. If you’re sensitive to ozone, you’ll want to speak with an HVAC professional about UV light technology. This feature often produces ozone in the air, which doesn’t necessarily affect everyone.

Electrostatic Collection Plates

There are air filtration units that use electronically charged collection plates to collect pet dander and fur. By oppositely charging the things that need to be removed, fewer pet-related contaminants will enter your air through your ductwork. This is a nice feature of an air filtration setup because it reduces the need for filters and filter changes. The plates are simply wiped or washed clean periodically before being placed back into the unit.

Using a Professional to Achieve Air Filtration

An experienced HVAC professional can provide suggestions for the best air filtration equipment for the setup of your home. They can install a whole-house filtration unit in your HVAC system, quickly addressing the issue of pet allergies. This equipment can be routinely maintained by a professional as part of your annual HVAC service tune-up, ensuring everything continues to work efficiently for years to come.

Whole-house filtration tends to be a very low-maintenance option that has a dramatic effect on your indoor allergies. If you also suffer from seasonal allergy symptoms or are sensitive to things like volatile organic compounds, this is a setup worth considering.

If you would like to learn more about the ways that you can use whole-house air filtration to improve the quality of your indoor air and reduce allergy symptoms, reach out to Markool Heating & Cooling. We can perform an indoor air quality assessment to determine the current state of your indoor air.

We’ll make recommendations for how you can improve your indoor air quality, including different types of filtration equipment and features that can reduce pet allergy symptoms. In addition to indoor air quality and air filtration, we can also install, maintain, and repair your heating and cooling equipment. We also address plumbing repair and maintenance. Reach out to Markool Heating & Cooling today to schedule an appointment and ask our maintenance plan in the Frederick area today.

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