Pets are an important members of the family, so tips for keeping pets cool during Australia’s harsh summers are especially important. Pets have special needs when it comes to summer heat. Climate change increases the severity and duration of heat waves. As a result, the incidence of pet heatstroke is increasing. This applies especially for pets that live outdoors or in energy insufficient housing.
Air conditioning is important for pets, however. Indoor pets, especially, are domesticated and expect the same comfort levels as their owners. Extreme heat and humidity mean your pets might have trouble balancing their body temperatures.
However air conditioners also have special requirements to run optimally around pets. Owning a pet is one of life’s greatest joys but caring for them can be difficult. Are you worried about your pet being comfortable? Are you worried about caring for your air conditioner as well as your pet? Then read on as we discuss!
What Makes Pets Hot?
Dogs and cats differ in physiology. Smaller animals, like guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, and birds differ again. This means you have to manage an environment fit for a number of different people and animals. Further, older, sicker or overweight animals are less resilient and some animal breeds are more vulnerable than others. For example, short snout and short faced breeds, as well as small animals like ferrets who can’t sweat, are more likely to suffer from heatstroke. Further, living in an apartment where cool outdoor spaces and water play are limited make it difficult to cool pets down.
Trends in Pet Cooling
Change in lifestyles are changing the demand on cooling in homes. Australia has the highest rate of pet ownership in the world with over 63% of homes owning pets. This includes 4.2 million dogs and 3.3 million cats. 76% of dogs and 92% of cats are kept solely indoors. As a result, many homes are providing air conditioning for their pets throughout the day. This raises the energy demand. It also extends and increases the electricity peaks when more areas (like garages and kennels) are cooled long term.
Cooling Pets and the Energy Impact
40% of energy in Australia is used for heating and cooling. In the southern states, especially, cooling is used sporadically. As our climate gets warmer, we are not cranking the air conditioning up just in the evenings but also during the day for our pets. Energy demand highlights a trend toward air conditioning homes for pets and not just cooling in the afternoons or evenings.
Further, many homes leave windows or doors open to allow pets to move freely from indoors to outdoors. This means your air conditioner needs to work harder to maintain temperature. This has caused a rapid growth in residential air conditioning for this purpose and an increased energy bills.
Air Conditioners and Pets
Air conditioners also have special needs so they can run optimally around your pets. Almost all pets have a fur and dander that your air conditioner struggles with. Pets shed seasonally to change from their winter to summer coats and their summer to winter coats. However pet hair builds up in filters through the year and is more likely to build up quickly during shedding seasons. If not properly cared for, this fur and dander can quickly clog up air filters causing damage to your air conditioner and also affecting those with allergies. As a result, it is important to follow some basic, routine care steps to keep your air conditioner running properly.
Groom Pets to Protect Your Air Conditioner
Pet hair can quickly clog air filters. To prevent your filters clogging quickly with fur and dander, you should have them regularly groomed. Regularly groom pets to help with shedding and can be done outside to limit the mess in the home. You can also hire a professional grooming service who can groom your pet off site to keep the levels of fur and dander down in your home.
Keep Your Home Clean to Take the Strain Off Your Air Conditioner
While grooming pets helps keep fur and dander at bay, there are other things you can do around the home to help protect your air conditioner. Dusting and vacuuming regularly helps, too, to keep air filters working. Not only does it keep your home clean, but it also keeps your home and air conditioner clear of allergens.
Change Air Conditioner Air Filters Regularly
Air filters need to be changed regularly. In a no-pet household, filters should be changed every 1 – 3 months. However, in a household with pets the air filter should be changed every month. By keeping air filters clean it places less strain on the system. Clogged air filters make the air conditioner work harder to maintain air flow. When changing air filters, ensure you or your maintenance team choose quality air filters. Cheaper filters need to be changed more often. Quality air filters also remove more debris from the air making them helpful around pet hair and dander, making them helpful with family members with allergies.
Clear Air Vents and Ducts
Changing your air conditioner air vents alone will not keep pet hair and dander from your system. It is important to remember to clear air vents, too. Vacuum all air vents at least once a month. Cleaning vents allows your system to work easier. Air can’t circulate through clogged vents. Regular maintenance can also clear air vents thoroughly, reaching areas a vacuum can’t reach.
Further, cleaning air conditioner ducts is also important. Pet dander and fur can block ducts. Professional maintenance and servicing can help clear and clean blocked ducts better than home cleaning. Technicians have special equipment needed to reach all areas, ensuring trapped allergens are removed.
Schedule Regular Air Conditioner Maintenance
As we’ve discussed, it is important to keep your air conditioner working at all times to keep everyone in your home safe and healthy, your pets included. So it’s important to ensure that your air conditioner doesn’t stop working while you’re not home – or during hot evenings. Scheduling routine maintenance at least once a year helps prevent break downs. Pet owners, especially, need regular maintenance to identify concerns with an air conditioner system due to the extra load placed on your air conditioner.