Every home needs an air filter in its HVAC system because the filter is the key to keeping the air in the home clean, pure, and free of particulate matter and pollutants. It does not matter whether the home is a house or an apartment because an air filter is necessary wherever an HVAC system is being used.
There are a wide variety of filters to choose from no matter where you live so you need to choose the right one. You can find a wide selection of filters at brick and mortar stores as well as online retailers like Air Filter King. You will be certain to find the filter you need when you visit a certified air filter retailer.
Air Filters in Houses and Apartments
There are not any differences between the types of air filters used in houses and those used in apartments; rather the type of filter depends on the needs of the people living in the home. There are two main types of filters, disposable filters and washable filters, and their labels indicate their nature. Disposable filters can be thrown away and replaced when they get dirty while washable filters need to be cleaned on a regular basis.
Apartments tend to use disposable filters since renters may not have the means to clean the filters themselves. That is less of an issue with a house so homeowners can use either disposable or washable filters as they see fit. Both types of filters have MERV ratings to let you know how good they are at filtering out certain kinds of particulate matter. It is those MERV ratings that you need to pay attention to when purchasing an air filter.
Air Filter Ratings
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Rating Value and the ratings go from 1 to 20; the higher the number, the better the filter is at removing particles from the air. Most houses and apartments only need filters in the median range, which is 8 to 10. Those filters will trap dust, pollen, dust mites, and other particulate matter. However if there is anyone in the house or apartment that has respiratory problems, severe allergies, or a compromised immune system, then they will need higher rated filters in the 11 to 13 range.
Those kinds of filters can trap smaller, microscopic particles like droplet nuclei, viruses, and bacteria. All of those particles can transmit infectious diseases, which is why getting rid of as many as them as possible is good for vulnerable inhabitants of a house or apartment.
Cleaning or Replacing the Air Filter
No matter where you live you will eventually need to clean or replace your air filter if you want it to continue being effective. Either option is a simple process, though replacing the filter is clearly easier than cleaning it. As for when to replace the filter, the answer is that it depends on its MERV rating. Medium rated filters only need to be replaced or cleaned about every six months. Higher rated filters accumulate more particulates and pollutants so they need to be cleaned or replaced more often, which is about every other month.
As to how to clean or replace filters, just follow the steps below:
- Find the air vent for your HVAC system. It will be located in one of the larger rooms in the home and should be easily accessible.
- Turn off the HVAC system.
- Open the vent and remove the filter.
- If the filter is disposable, then throw it away and place a new one in the vent before closing it up and turning the system back on.
- If the filter is washable, then brush it off and use a hose to clean it, making sure that the water pressure is not too high otherwise the filter could get damaged.
- Allow the filter to completely air dry before putting it back in the vent and turning the HVAC system back on.
Choose the Right Filter for Your Home or Apartment
There are no real differences between air filters for the home or the apartment, with the exception that apartment air filters are more likely to be disposable rather than washable. The main consideration when buying an air filter for the home is its MERV rating and the level of protection that you need. Once you make that decision, you can choose the air filter that is right for your house or apartment.