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Serving The Northland

Serving the Northland


Mesaba Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Are Your Pets Causing Sneaky AC Damage?


Occasionally, the cause of an air conditioning problem is very obvious. For example, if a large tree branch fell and crushed your outdoor AC unit, you would know exactly why it isn’t working. But most of the time, the cause is a little less clear at first glance. That can make it hard for a homeowner to take the necessary steps to prevent such problems from happening. We’d like to help.

One easily overlooked cause of air conditioning problems is our beloved animal companions. What’s that? You never suspected that Fluffy was the reason your AC hasn’t been running properly? Yes, pets can cause AC damage, and sometimes they’re sneaky enough that we pet owners don’t realize what they’ve been doing. Here are the clues to look for.

Short Cycling

While there are many reasons why an air conditioner might start and stop much too frequently, it usually boils down to overheating within the system. Now, the motor might get too hot because there’s genuinely a problem with the motor itself. But often it’s just that the small amount of heat the motor creates is building up too much. Why? Because there isn’t enough air circulation. 

When air isn’t coming through the air conditioner at a high enough rate, it won’t just prevent even distribution of the cool air the AC creates. It will cause heat buildup that trips the limit switch and shuts the air conditioner down. After a moment to cool, it will try starting up again, only to have the same thing happen. It’s called short cycling, and it’s brutal, both for your energy bills and your air conditioner’s compressor.

Your air filter needs to be cleaned to keep the air circulating well. Most of the time, once-a-month cleaning is what’s recommended. But with pets—especially if they’re long-haired, or if there’s more than one—that simply might not be enough. At the first sign of short cycling, check your AC air filter.

Electrical Issues

Is your air conditioner not running at all, but the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped and the thermostat is set properly? Or is it running erratically, sometimes turning on but at other times just not working? It could be an issue with the wiring or the main plug, and a nibbling pet could be to blame. Use pet-proof or baby-safe cord protectors to avoid this problem and to keep your pets safe.


How often do you check on your outdoor unit? You should be doing this with some frequency, at least to make sure it’s free of debris and obstructions. It needs air circulation, too. And how often does your dog check on your outdoor unit? Is it where the dog can access it during playtime in the yard? It very well might be a target for marking, and that will cause the unit to corrode.

Dog urine is corrosive enough that in big cities, entire metal posts have come crashing down due to their popularity with peeing pets. Keep your dog away from that outdoor unit before it causes irreparable damage! If you can’t keep the dog out of that part of the yard entirely, put up a small fence that allows free air circulation and is at least three feet from the unit on all sides.

If you need air conditioning repair in Grand Rapids, MN, we’ll determine the cause of your problem, pets or otherwise, and get it straightened out right away.

Reach out to Mesaba Heating & Air Conditioning today. Service to you is success to us!

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