Air Purifiers for Pet Shops, Kennels, Veterinary Facilities: Choose Carefully

November 21, 2015  

Most often, when a veterinarian, kennel or pet shop owner begins looking for an air cleaner, it’s because of odor, allergies from the dander, or just a desire to make sure the air remains clean for customers and employees. Unfortunately, most people go looking for an air purifier that says ‘pet air cleaner’ or ‘for pets’. And while there are a couple of units that do a decent job of removing dander, hair, and odors, they’re usually inadequate for handling the amount of dander and odors produced by multiple pets in one indoor area–or it would take an army of these air cleaners, which can get expensive and take up too much floor space.

For pet shops, indoor kennels and veterinary offices, your best bet is to take a close look at the carbon filter in the air purifier. You will need the best, strongest activated carbon you can get (industrial strength is best) and lots of it-a minimum of 15-20 pounds and more if possible, to adequately remove the odors created by multiple cats, dogs and other animals. The reason for this is simple: most of the odors you’re experiencing are of an organic nature or VOC (volatile organic chemical) and strongly activated carbon is good for removing these compounds. You need a large amount of carbon because the charcoal does become saturated, and more carbon means the filter remove and control those pet odors longer, with fewer filter changes, etc.

Next, make sure the air purifier has a true HEPA filter that removes 99% plus of all dander, dust & hair down to 0.3 microns, or 0.1 microns if possible. Some air cleaner manufacturers try to get away with ‘HEPA-style’ filters, which aren’t as efficient. And don’t buy an electronic air cleaner with electrostatic plates (no HEPA)-most of these require constant cleaning to keep them removing even 80% of particles, and that’s not very efficient. The output of the unit and square footage coverage is also important-buying an air purifier with too low of an output isn’t going to be able to remove the dust, dander & odors before it reaches your nose, which make it kind of a waste of time. You need a unit with at least a 400 CFM output or higher for an average 10 x 10 room or up to 10 x 20.

So far, we’ve been speaking mainly of portable air purifiers, and in many pet shop & kennel situations, a combination of several portable or floor air purifier and a unit attached to the HVAC system is needed-all with lots of high quality carbon and true HEPA filters. All those heavy duty urine and other odors are loaded with VOC’s and really need the HVAC based air cleaner for overall removal and the portable units to remove them where customers and employees are standing, for the best, noticeably clean air. The portable units remove a good portion of the dust, dander, & odors quickly without having to wait for the A/C system to cycle it through its air filtration system.

Our best recommendations for very clean air in any pet shop, kennel or veterinary facility is an HVAC based industrial air cleaner from Electrocorp (such as the I-6500 AH 120) and one or more of either Electrocorp RSU floor units, Aller Air 5000 or 6000 Vocarb series, or Austin Healthmate Plus. We’ve had great success with this combination and by using both, you have the best HEPA filters, industrial strength carbon, and high output, not to mention 5-10 year warranties.

So if you’re really looking to properly solve a pet odor & dander problem in a kennel, pet store, or veterinary office, stick with air purifiers that have large amounts of high quality carbon, true HEPA filters, and think industrial strength-in many cases, that’s what’s needed to handle large amounts of pet dander and odor.