Coming home and being welcomed by a beloved pet feels great, and any pet owner can attest that pets are more than just animals. They are true friends. Even with such a strong relationship, the same cannot be said about their relationship with your house.
Why? One word: dander.
Owning a pet that produces dander
Unless your pet is a fish, chances are it’s got some type of fur or feather. With that comes dander, the number one allergen carried by pets.
Be it a dog, a cat, a bird, or a rat, you’re not going to escape the dander they produce, nor the problems it can pose for your home’s air quality.
What is dander?
Dander is all the tiny debris shed by animals with fur, like dead skin cells and natural oils. Beyond dander, humans can also be allergic to proteins found in body fluids such as saliva, urine, and feces of pets. These pose a severe threat to people who are allergic to them. It’s a real problem for people in the United States.
Up to 32% of homes have dogs while 27% have cats as pets. It’s a beautiful thing when people give these animals a loving home. Unfortunately, about 3 in 10 Americans are allergic to pet dander, especially those from cats.
How does that affect air quality?
They are microscopic, right? How then are they able to cause these allergic reactions? Well, their small size and irregular shape ensure they can easily stick to furniture, bedding, curtains, carpets, and other fabric in a home. This doesn’t bode well for people with allergies.
Common allergic reactions to dander include swelling and itching of the membranes lining the eyes and nose, stuffy nose, inflamed eyes, and respiratory problems such as wheezing and shortness of breath. It can even trigger an asthmatic episode in severe cases.
Also, dander from stale air could get sucked up your HVAC system and clog the filters. This impacts the HVAC significantly and can reduce its efficiency. This can lead to a further reduction of the indoor air quality in your home.
What to do?
Luckily, the situation isn’t hopeless. You can do a couple of things to improve your home’s air quality despite having a pet.
These include –
- Remove surface-dwelling dander as often as you can. This significantly reduces its impact on your health. You can easily use a vacuum cleaner to handle carpets and upholstery. One with a HEPA filter captures all allergens.
- Also, using microfiber cloths on hard surfaces can get rid of dander. How often you do this depends on how often your pet sheds…anywhere between daily or once a week will suffice.
- Bathe and brush your pet regularly. Do this in a designated area of the house where you can easily vacuum afterward. If possible, keep pets out of bedrooms for added peace of mind.
- Air purifiers and filters will come in handy here. Invest in these to get rid of dander from the air in your home.
- Maintain the air filters in your HVAC. Clean them when (or before) they are clogged and replace them every 3 months to ensure they stay free of dander and highly efficient.
Pro-tip: get a filter with a high MERV rating. This does a better job of filtration.
- Get a humidifier for your home. The dryer your home, the more likely you are to be affected by these allergens. A humidifier helps maintain a stable indoor climate.
There you have it, the pet owners’ quick guide to maintaining indoor air quality. Follow these steps and you can rest assured of breathing fresh air at all times. And if you have any more questions about air quality, reach out to Triad Mechanical Service by calling (770) 682-0075!