The Hidden Secret to a Clean Apartment- Why YOU Need an Air Filter
The Apartment Life
Living in a new apartment is one of the most prestigious milestones of your independence. Whether for college, graduate school, work, or otherwise, signing the lease to one of these places, one that you can make your own, is something special. You might be living it up in the city. For me, I am actually a few months into an apartment in Manhattan, so I completely understand that feeling of owning your own small space. Your apartment, besides being one of the coolest things you have, is also something worth taking care of.
When you take care of your apartment, what is the most important piece of maintenance to keep track of? You will clean the toilets, you will sweep and mop the floors. You will remove the cobwebs, and brush off the dust. You will make your bed. You will keep your kitchen spotless, your dishes clean, your stovetop and/or oven clear of grease, and your garbage bags out of your space. You will cover everything in sight to make your apartment as clean as can be.
The problem is what isn’t in sight.
Suppose a bunch of dust, dirt, and other microparticles were making their way through your HVAC systems (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) as you are diligently cleaning the last grease spots on the stove. Parts of bugs, hairs, disease-infested droplets, all are shooting into your apartment in droves, like little warplanes with no direction other than the nearest vacuum system. And in your apartment, the biggest vacuum is you. all coming into your space and all going right into the biggest vacuum system in your room: your respiratory system, your lungs, your bloodstream.
Despite all of your cleaning habits and despite everything you think you are doing to keep your space clean and pure, the air itself is contaminated and unfiltered.
To solve this problem, and to save yourself and others from infection, you must buy an adequate air filter for your apartment. It is not optional, and the air isn’t filtered through the system on its own. This is a necessity and unfortunately, most people do not know how important the air filter is. Just as important, that filter must be changed regularly. Yes, there is a price for a good air filter. However, the price you pay now, will serve as the ultimate insurance policy for your health- it pays to make sure the air you breathe is working for you, not against you.
Is the air really dangerous?
No, the air itself is not particularly dangerous. But the particles it carries, if built up enough, can have long-term effects on a person’s health.
You might ask, why do I need an air filter? I breathe in air from the outside all day long and nothing bad happened to me.
Yes, that is true. There is nothing wrong with the outside air. But the particles are still there, they did not disappear. They are just dissipated over a larger area. In actuality the outside air contains much cleaner air, as harder to breathe in more adverse particles, because there is a much larger surface area for them to spread to, not to mention how high they go upwards, or how the wind augments the dispersion range. Despite being invisible to the naked eye, these particles, when accumulated, are dangerous.
The Dangers of Fine Particles
These dangers are very real and will impact the health of all your apartment’s occupants in numerous ways, from irritation of the airways (leading to difficulty breathing) to being almost fatal to anyone with a heart or lung disease. According to the NY Department of Health, these particles, more commonly known as fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, are dangerous and lead to many health problems for the people that breathe them in. In their words:
“Studies also suggest that long term exposure to fine particulate matter may be associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. People with breathing and heart problems, children and the elderly may be particularly sensitive to PM2.5.”
A person, on average, takes in 22,000 breaths a day. As the Dept. of Health states, children and the elderly are vulnerable to these particles. On a personal note, I would like to have some of my grandparents or younger siblings visit me in Manhattan, but never at risk to their physical health. If you or any of your loved ones have preexisting conditions, or are particularly vulnerable to any disease, like Covid-19, then maintaining your air filtration standards is the best way to ensure the air quality is superb.
In regards to Covid-19 specifically, there are many ways it can get into your house, and even with all the preventative measures in the world, filters play an instrumental role in keeping it out of the air. To learn more about air filters in regards to Covid-19 specifically, look into this article specifically aimed towards providing Covid-related air filter guidance.
In any case, with the air quality in your apartment at pure levels, the safety of yourself and those you care about will be protected from the adverse fine particles through air filters.
How Air Filters Prevent Fine Particulate Accumulation
Imagine your HVAC system as a giant hole, funneling in all of the outside air, bringing it all into your apartment. That air flows freely inside and out, weightless. However, the fine particles which come in do not leave, they stay put. Normally this would not happen, however an apartment is different. Inside an apartment, in a small, enclosed space, those particles stick around and accumulate in quantity, contaminating the air itself. Unfortunately, that can make your apartment tough and strenuous to breathe in, and can lead to health problems as discussed above.
The air filters act as guards by the hole, one which does not let the particles pass through, catching them at the door and holding them captive, protecting your apartment and its occupants. Depending on a few factors, such as MERV level and the type of filter itself, this guard can take a lot of punishment. It may hold out for a month, two months, or three, keeping the air within the apartment pure, but at some point, the guard must be changed out for a replacement, one who is just as prepared to keep your apartment safe and will fight just as hard.
This is how you should look at air filters. The filters keep the bad particles out, preventing them from reaching you, keeping your apartment air clean and safe to breathe.
Different levels of Protection
Not all filters are the same. Some are more protective than others, however those tend to be more expensive. They are made differently- from pleated designs to plexiglass, and not every filter is meant for every situation.
The main method of determining the efficacy of a filter is through the MERV rating system. MERV stands for the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and is used by the National Air Filtration Association (NAFA) to sort the protection levels air filters provide on a 1-16 scale, 1 being the lowest level, 16 the highest.
The MERV system is important for many different questions in the filter buying process, and it is important to note that just because 16 provides the most protection does not make it the best option for you specifically, especially in regards to apartments. Too high MERV ratings are expensive to maintain, and if paired with the wrong HVAC system, can cause the system to burnout, which would cost a lot of money to repair. Click here to learn all there is to know about MERV ratings and master the system completely.
For our purposes however, the MERV level you will want to buy for your Apartment HVAC could be anywhere between MERV 9 and MERV 13, depending on how comfortable you would like to be. That should be effective enough to keep most of the harmful particles out, and give you the fresh, clean air that will make your apartment experience that much more enjoyable.
Almost as important as installing the air filters in your apartment is knowing when they should be replaced. Air filters are to HVAC systems like oil is to cars. It helps everything run smoothly and has a lot of benefits, but MUST be changed out when the time comes, otherwise major problems will result.
A problem with the later MERV numbers actually is the need to replace them more often. Because they catch almost everything, that raises the air pressure in the wrong places. They must be changed out frequently because if not, then the HVAC itself can burn itself out trying to compensate for the lack of air pressure due to the blockage. They must be changed out to save you valuable time and money. Again, learn more about MERV levels and all the different standards for each level right here.
For the regular MERV numbers, the burnout problem is not as prevalent. But still, they must be changed out to maintain effectiveness and cleanliness. Look at it like cleaning out a dustpan filled to the brim with dirt. How can the dustpan possibly clean up more dirt if it cannot hold any more? So too here, how can the air filters continue to make your air clean if they are already occupied with so many other particles? The solution is to change them out after some time.
Typically, you would want to replace your filter every 1-3 months. Of course, everything really depends on your budget and how much you are willing to spend on your utilities and maintenance costs. However, going over three months without replacing your filter can lead to some dangerous consequences, such as your air quality dipping and the HVAC burning itself out due to pressure. As well, replacing your filters too frequently, more than once a month, is inefficient and not worth it. It pays to replace them within the sweet spot- 1-3 months. Not past the danger level, and not before the filter’s effectiveness starts to wear down.
Speaking from personal experience, apartments are great. However, they also require caution. It is easy to forget that your air quality really matters, as it is not something you physically see. But it does, and it is important to recognize the essential job that air filters perform. With the air filters functioning correctly, replaced often enough, your apartment will have a significant leg up over those apartments which do not care for it. Take it seriously, because it matters more than you think.
Air filters can make your apartment breathable. The air quality in your apartment can make or break your living conditions; it is one of the most important pieces to living a successful apartment life. Here at Custom Filters Direct, we are working our hardest to make the process easy, simple, and efficient. Not only do we offer only the most essential MERV ratings, we also offer complete customization and automated delivery. You will never have to worry about your air again. With us, that is our job. Air quality is not something you want to have to think about, air is better breathed without being afraid of what you are breathing in. With Custom Filters Direct, and its automated delivery system, your air will be consistently pure and consistently worry-free.