We all love our furry friends, and that’s why many Canadian households are home to either a cat or a dog. Pets make great companions. Several studies reported that having pets plays a crucial role in the family dynamic.
They bring so much joy to our home. This helps lower our stress and blood pressure levels and improves our mood and mental health. While these advantages are great, having pets inside our homes have a couple of drawbacks.
How Pets Affect Indoor Air Quality
Keep in mind that pets have a strong impact on indoor air quality. Pet dander and other airborne irritants can reduce the overall air quality in your home.
Our pets shed tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin called pet dander. For people with allergies, exposure to pet dander could result in various health problems.
Pet dander also contains a type of protein that causes allergic reactions. The protein can also be found in your pet’s saliva and urine. It can stick onto your dog’s or cat’s skin after emptying its bladder.
When it sheds skin, it introduces a double dose of protein into the air (one from the skin and the other the protein from the urine). When inhaled, it can potentially cause serious allergic reactions.
But wait, there is more! The protein found in your pet’s saliva can also cause allergic reactions. Since our pets clean their skin and fur by licking, it adds more allergic-causing protein into the air when it sheds off its skin.
Once inhaled, your body’s immune system may misidentify harmless protein as germs, and respond by creating an antibody to attack the protein. Every time you inhale pet dander, your body will automatically cue your body to produce the antibody.
While some people may experience mild or no symptoms at all, others can experience symptoms such as watery eyes, skin rashes, sneezing, and general respiratory discomfort.
Pet dander can be airborne, but it will eventually also settle into all sorts of places, such as furniture, sofa and chair cushions, beddings, closets, clothing, cracks and crevice, and air ducts. When disturbed, pet dander is sent into the air, causing trouble once again.
What You Can Do to Reduce Pet Dander
Even if pet dander spreads easily, there are several things you can do to reduce the amount of pet dander and improve the indoor air quality while sharing your home with your furry friend.
Maintain the Cleanliness of Your Home
As a pet parent, you must perform housekeeping chores more often to ensure cleanliness throughout your home. Clean the floor using a damp mop or an electrostatic cloth twice weekly. Wipe off the walls every three to six months. Ensure adequate ventilation and replace dirty air filters regularly.
Use a HEPA Filter Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuum your carpeting, draperies, and furniture thoroughly twice a week with a highly-efficiency, high-quality HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. This will effectively dislodge and remove any dander buildup. Make sure to protect yourself by wearing an allergy mask. Clean the canister outside and dispose of dirt and debris properly in the trash bin.
Bathe Your Pet Regularly
Taking your pet outdoors could mean bringing in allergens and dirt inside your home. Also, indoor allergens, such as mould spores, pollen, and dust, can attach to dog hair. Bathing your pet regularly helps minimize the amount of allergens introduced into your indoor air. Brushing also helps get rid of allergens and dust from its coat. Vacuum the area after brushing.
Let Pets Sleep in Their Own Bed
Provide your pet with a comfortable bed to sleep in. Allowing them to sleep in your bed can get pet dander and other allergens into your bedding. Also, the pet having their own bed helps keep your bedroom air as healthy as possible.
Install a HEPA Air Purifier in Main Living Areas
This seems to be the most effective solution in maintaining the quality of your indoor air. It works by pulling in allergens from the air and traps them inside the filter to prevent it from returning to the air and away from your floors, drapes, and furniture. Air purifiers can effectively reduce the need to constantly clean the room, too. For severe allergen problems, install air purifiers in the main living areas, including your bedroom.
Try a Dander Removal Spray
In addition to bathing your pet regularly, spraying your pet with a dander remover helps reduce the problem. It has natural enzymes helps eliminate dander and reduce odour. This is useful especially when expecting a visitor with an allergy. Simply spray your pet’s fur and wipe off the excess.
How Clogged Air Filters Affect Your AC System
Over time, pet dander can clog your air filters and cause your AC system to work harder. The AC will use more energy to produce the same cooling effect. Additionally, clogged air filters will put more strain on your system, resulting in overheating, frozen cooling coils and other problems.
Problems also happen during winter. Your heating system has to work harder to warm up your home. Whether you have a separate furnace and AC system or a combo unit, running your HVAC with clogged air filters will shorten its lifespan.
Dirty AC Ducts
Pet dander and air quality issues can also affect the ducts running throughout your home. If you have floor ducts, consider the following in addition to pet dander and hair:
- Pet Food – Pet food falling into the ductwork is not only contaminated with saliva and bacteria, but it also attracts mice and roaches.
- Cat Litter – Cat litter can also go down into the ductwork. It could have urine and feces, resulting in an unpleasant smell throughout the house.
- Pet Toys – When your pets play with their toys using their mouths, the toy can be coated with saliva. They can also accidentally drop their toys into the floor duct opening. In addition to your pet’s saliva, the toy could contain pet dander, hair, and bacteria.
Pet dander can also be a problem in ceiling ducts. That is why it is important to get annual inspections. Call a technician to inspect for improperly sealed ductwork.
Gaps, cracks, and openings in the ductwork do not only increase utility bill cost, but also cause indoor air pollution. Pet dander, hair, dirt, and dust can be blown out and drawn back in through the openings, which further lowers the quality of indoor air.
Dr. Duct understands the importance of healthy, clean indoor air. We only use state-of-the-art tools and equipment to provide professional air duct cleaning for Ottawa residences and commercial buildings.
We can effectively remove pet dander, dirt, and other allergens from the duct system. Call us now at (613) 845-0707 for a free estimate.