Maintaining Air Quality in a Pet-Friendly Home

September 06, 2017

Any pet-lover can tell you the many benefits of having a pet: cats, dogs, birds, and other animals are a great source of comfort, companionship, and entertainment. But what every pet-lover also knows is that pets impact the indoor air quality of a living space. Between generating pet dander, carrying dirt and dust on their fur or feathers, and leaving behind unpleasant odors (think dirty cat litter box or the scent of a wet dog), pets can aggravate allergies and leave the air in your home smelling not-so-fresh. Fortunately, ENERGY STAR® certified room air cleaners often provide a solution, so that you can enjoy the benefits of having a pet, without sacrificing fresh indoor air.

To learn more about how room air cleaners can help reduce pet allergens and odors, we spoke with Dr. Brian Bourquin, owner of Boston Veterinary Clinic, a four-doctor practice serving greater Boston. Dr. Bourquin, a graduate of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has been a practicing veterinarian in Massachusetts for more than 16 years. Based on experience at his clinic – combined with his own experiences as an owner of one Ragdoll cat, one Boston Terrier dog, and one Brussels Griffon dog– he shared the surprising ways room air cleaners can benefit both you and your pets.


Living Comfortably with Pets
From cats and dogs to birds and gerbils, all kinds of pets can add allergens and odors to your indoor air. For allergy-sufferers in particular, this situation can make living with pets difficult. Further complicating the matter is the fact that many people, especially in urban areas of Massachusetts, live in small apartments or condos, which exacerbates these air quality impacts. Dr. Bourquin, who has many clients living in Boston, explains, “We’re often dealing with 800 to 1,000 square foot apartments. If you have several pets in that small a space, then air quality really becomes a big issue.”

Many of Dr. Bourquin’s clients, especially those with a family member suffering from pet allergies, have asked him for advice on living more comfortably with pets. He recommends simple steps, like bathing and grooming pets regularly to reduce dander and fur that is shed, as well as opening windows to improve ventilation. Another key step he suggests is using a room air cleaner to remove allergens from the air: by passing air through a series of filters, room air cleaners can not only trap pet dander and dust, but also remove odors.  

Dr. Bourquin likes to point out that it’s not just people that benefit from purer air, it’s also pets: “Believe it or not, animals can have issues with air quality, too. Cats can have asthma, and there are dogs that have respiratory issues. And, in some cases, animals can actually be allergic to people. So, an air purifier can be good for everyone!”


Finding the Right Room Air Cleaner

If you’re looking for a room air cleaner to keep the air in your home fresh for you and your pets, there are several items you should look for.

  • Room Size: To start, you should consider the size of the room in which you’ll be using the appliance, since buying too large a unit will result in wasted energy.
  • ENERGY STAR Certification: Once you’ve figured out the size unit you’d like, be sure to find a model that is ENERGY STAR certified. ENERGY STAR certified models use 40 percent less energy than non-certified models, which means you could avoid $30 in energy costs each year. As an added benefit, Mass Save® also offers a $40 rebate on these models.  
  • Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR): Look for a unit with a high CADR, which indicates how quickly the air cleaner removes particles from the air. For dust and pollen, the CADR ranges from 0 to 450.

As Dr. Bourquin explained, using a room air cleaner offers a simple way to create purer indoor air for you and your pets. So whether you’re a cat-lover, a dog-lover, or someone who prefers pets that fly, consider using an ENERGY STAR certified room air cleaner to create a more comfortable home for you and your companions.

To learn about other unique ways energy efficient lighting and appliances can enhance your home, check out our interview on LED design tips or our interview with two local realtors on the effects of energy efficient features on home value.


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