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Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Blog

How Your Pets Might Cause Chaos for Your AC


Pets bring so much positivity into our lives. Simply having them around decreases people’s levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and increases levels of oxytocin, a hormone that gives people feelings of love and connection. But of course there are downsides to pet ownership as well.

Pet dander can trigger allergic responses in many people. Pet care is a constant need, and trips to the vet can be very expensive. And of course there’s all the cleanup they require, whether you’re emptying a litter box or following a dog around with a baggie at the ready. Pets can damage our homes and possessions, too. Did you know they can even cause problems for your air conditioner? Here’s the scoop.

Air Circulation

Constant, steady airflow is necessary for your air conditioner to operate properly. Without it, the cool air won’t be distributed evenly throughout your home. And if the lack of airflow gets bad enough, the motor can overheat. This will cause short cycling: the AC will keep trying to turn on, but the safety mechanisms will keep shutting it down. This is terrible for the system and uses a lot of extra electricity.

So how do you make sure that your air conditioner has plenty of air circulation? By changing the air filter. If it’s reusable, it can be washed and dried. If it’s disposable, it can be replaced. The usual recommendation is to change the AC air filter every 1-3 months. But if you have pets, their fur and dander can clog up the filter much more quickly. Make sure you’re checking it frequently to avoid those problems!

Extra Use

When people leave home all day, they can decrease AC use by adjusting the thermostat for while they’ll be away. But pet owners need to keep their homes at a safe, comfortable temperature for their pets at all times. This means extra AC use, which increases wear and tear and makes repair needs more likely to occur. Minimize this risk by making sure you get annual professional maintenance every spring.

Nibbled Cords

Some pets—especially very young ones, but sometimes adult cats as well—are very much inclined to chew on wires. This is dangerous for your pets and can cause expensive damage to your air conditioner! If you can’t keep your pets away from the unit entirely, use pet-proof cord protectors.


If you’ve got dogs, you know they like to patrol their territory and mark it as their own. Because of the location of your outdoor AC unit, they may be marking that! This can cause serious corrosion and significantly shorten the life of your air conditioner. 

Don’t let this happen! Keep dogs away from the outdoor unit. If you fence it off, keep the fence a few feet away from the unit on all sides, and choose a type of fencing that allows for good air circulation.

With a bit of preparation and care, you can enjoy all the benefits that your pets bring into your life without letting them compromise your air conditioner. And if you do need air conditioning repair in Arlington, VA, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or ask any questions you have about your air conditioner.

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