It is a common misconception that pet allergies come from pet hair. In fact, most allergies originate from pet dander, or the dead skin cells of the animal which occur when the animal licks itself and the dried saliva disintegrates into microscopic particles which are breathable. Even though heavier pet hairs are difficult to remove with an air filter, pet dander can be as it floats in the air. A good air purifier can mean the difference between strong allergic reactions for you or your guests and an allergy-free home.
To help your home remain free of pet dander, take advantage of air filters. Here we give you step by step instructions to minimize the allergic effects of your pets.
Step 1: Find the Source of the Problem
Determine where you need a purifier the most. If your cat or dog lives in all areas of the house, you might consider a filtration system that works with internal ducted systems such as whole house systems.
Alternatively, portable room purifiers can be moved from room to room so if your pet spends most of their time in a bedroom, you might benefit most if you place a portable filter in that room.
Step 2: Estimate Square Footage
Some filters perform better than others. Larger spaces require more powerful filters. Before you buy a filter for your room or your entire home, try to estimate the square or cubic footage the filter will need to cover. That information will help you when you go to purchase a filter. Ceiling height matters.
Step 3: Choose an Air Purifier with better than just a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filter
For pet allergies, you want a filter featuring the most effective filtration system as ultra-fine dander particles can be ingested deeper into our lungs. These are the most dangerous. The common standard is known as HEPA but this means that the filter is only removing at a .3 micron level. Ultra-fine particles can be much smaller than this so look for an air cleaner with a filter rating of not less than .1 microns efficiency. These will remove particles that cause allergies.
Step 4: Run the Filter at least 4 Hours Per Day To experience the full effect of the filter, run it for at least 4 hours each day. That time should cleanse the air of the worst pet dander. If you have more than one pet, you may need to run it for longer, potentially 8-10 hours for the strongest situations.
When you first use your filter, don't forget that a lot of dander may have built up on the floor and on top of cabinets so first vacuum and dust to remove as much pet dander as you can from surfaces. The filter will take care of the airborne dander.
Step 5: Replace Filters Regularly
With time, dust and debris may clog your filters. When you choose a premium model, you save you money in the long run, even if the model costs more initially. Some models will also come with an indicator that tells you when filters need replacing. An indicator can greatly improve the convenience of your filtration unit.
Step 6: Sensors
Some air purification models will come with an air quality sensors which automatically adjust the speed of the machine according to the prevailing air quality. But maybe the best sensor are your allergies - if they worsen, you know it's time to turn on the filter for longer periods of time, or it's time to change the filter.
Bonus Step: Reduce Pet Exposure to Certain Rooms
In addition to a filter, you might consider other options to improve your allergies. For example, don't allow your pets to come into certain rooms.
Ask your air cleaning specialists for more advice about protecting your home from pet dander.