3 Important Air Conditioner Tips That Pet Owners Need to Know

You love your pet, and you want to make sure that it's always safe and comfortable in your home, but you also want to be sure that your pet doesn't damage your home. That's why you give your cat a scratching post or train your dogs to go outside. However, many pet owners don't realize that they need to take special steps with their air conditioner to protect both their pets and the machinery. Take a look at some AC tips that all pet owners should know.

Pets Need to Stay Cool, Too

Have you ever wondered whether you should leave your AC on for your pet when you go to work or turn it off to save energy? It's a good question. On the one hand, your pet has a fur coat that it can't get rid of, and you don't want it to overheat. On the other hand, shouldn't an animal that lived outdoors before being domesticated be able to handle the heat?

Veterinarians say to err on the side of keeping your pets cool. Temperatures between 78 and 80 degrees should be comfortable for most pets. Domesticated pets are not necessarily as heat resistant as their wild ancestors, and modern homes are built to be very insulated to block out drafts and improve energy efficiency, which can lead to hotter temperatures inside a home with the AC off than you'd find outside during a heat wave. If your pet is elderly, overweight, or has a heart or lung condition, or if they're a bred with a short muzzle, like a pug dog or a Persian cat, they're at additional risk of heat stroke. In addition to keeping the home cool enough for comfort, make sure your pet has access to fresh water when you're away from home.

Pet Urine Can Damage Your AC

If you're an experienced pet owner, you're familiar with the occasional mess when a dog or cat decides to mark its territory. Usually, this can be cleaned up with a mop or some carpet cleaner. However, if your pet decides that your AC unit is part of its territory, you could have bigger troubles.

Pet urine, and dog urine specifically, is acidic. If your pet urinates on your air conditioner, the urine can degrade the outer shell of the unit and the coils inside, until the coils eventually spring a leak. When that happens, the refrigerant will leak out and the unit will need to be replaced. You can protect your air conditioner by putting up a fence that's at least 18 inches to 2 feet away from the unit. This is enough to keep the pet away from the unit without restricting the air flow around the unit. If you know or suspect that your pet has already marked the AC unit, contact your air conditioner repair company. The coils need to be cleaned before the chemicals in your pet's urine cause extensive damage.

Keep Pet Hair and Dander out of Your Air

One more thing you need to think about is keeping pet hair and the dander that comes with it under control so that you don't wind up breathing it in. Pet hair and dander can aggravate allergies and asthma. Even if you aren't normally bothered by pet dander, breathing it in can be irritating.

You can keep it under control with a two-pronged approach. First, you may need to change or clean your AC filters more often than normally recommended, especially if your pet sheds a lot. Using high-quality filters can also help keep hair and dander out of the ducts. Ask your AC technician which filters are best for your system. You can also make sure that your pet gets regular baths and grooming, which should cut down on shedding. Don't let the hair get out of control. Finally, you might want to consider an air purifier to help keep the hair and dander out of the air.

Knowing how your AC affects your pet, and how your pet affects your AC, can help keep you and your pet healthier and your air conditioner in good working order. Find out more here about air conditioners.