Pets are often one of the best highlights of our lives. Our house wouldn’t likely agree. Ripped furniture, scratched flooring, pet stains and, of course, dust and fur bunnies that can outweigh our pets themselves come with the package. While cleaning, sweeping and vacuuming help to temporarily remedy these problems from our homes, our furnace will bear much of the burden. This leaves our furnace filter to be the hero of the day.

cute dog

What kind of filter we use to better control the air quality in our homes when we have pets, matters. But not nearly as much as you’d think.

The options for furnace filters seems to be endless. Finding the one that fits both your furnace and your needs can be frustrating. Understanding how furnace filters work can help to unravel the maze of furnace filter knowledge out there.

Furnace filters use a rating system and are rated 1 to 16. The higher the rating, the more efficient the filter is at doing its job. While we consider our furnace filter’s job to clean our air, in truth, its main purpose is to keep debris from other parts of the furnace. A rating of somewhere between 8 and 11 is generally adequate, but you should check with your furnace manufacturer for their recommendation.


High-efficiency filters remove pet dander. Lower-efficiency filters cannot accomplish this. High-efficiency filters, though very good at cleaning the air of dust, dirt and yes even pet hair, can be too good at its job. High-efficiency furnace filters can reduce air flow and this, in turn, forces your furnace to work harder, shortening its lifespan. Reduced air flow does not promote clean air. High-efficiency furnace filters will cost you more but don’t generally need to be replaced as often.


Low-efficiency furnace filters have a lower upfront cost but because they need to be changed more often, especially because of our furry friends, cost comparison with the premium alternative is comparable. Higher-efficiency furnace filters don’t generally need to be changed more than once every three months. The lower-efficiency filters will need replacing or at the very least, inspecting every month. The lower-efficiency filters will not trap smaller particles such as mold spores or pet dander.

If you own one or more pets, what kind of furnace filter you use isn’t nearly as important as some other factors in the fight against the pet hair.

  • Correct sizing
  • Timely filter changes
  • Properly installed filters
  • Monthly filter inspections.

Our pets are well loved, but let’s face it, owning pets has its downside. Keeping our homes clear of pet dander and fur can be an endless job. But our furnace, when properly equipped, can help in the battle.

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