When we think of vacuums, we think of the dust and trash collected in the canister vacuum bag. But vacuums have filters too, designed for catching the smallest particles in the exhaust that comes out of the vacuum. Because of allergies, some people look into a HEPA or ULPA filtration system, while other people find that a standard vacuum cleaner filter is fine.
An ULPA, “ultra low penetration air”, filter is finer than HEPA filters and is used mostly in industrial applications, when not a particle of material should be lost. Imagine along the lines of cleaning up an asbestos or nuclear mess.
Leave ULPA vacuum cleaners to the specialists. The mesh is so fine that it slows down the suction and makes the machine run less effectively. If you would like to try this sort of filtration for your allergies, try with a home air cleaner equipped with an ULPA filter.
Numerous vacuum companies provide a HEPA caniter vacuum filter with their mid-range and premium products. HEPA stands for “high efficiency particulate absorbing” filter. To meet the definition of HEPA, a canister vacuum filter must trap 99.7 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns or less in diameter in testing by the US Department of Energy. For contrast, a grain of salt is about 5 microns in diameter.
Sometimes a vacuum cleaner filter is labeled “HEPA type” or “HEPA technology”. These are terms that indicate something that captures less than an actual HEPA filter. If you want real HEPA, watch the language on the vacuum’s packaging. You must clean a HEPA filter quite often, when the fine mesh gets clogged with dirt, the airflow slows down, overtaxes the motor, and just does not work as well.
Anecdotal data from many allergy sufferers shows some peoples’ symptoms are reduced by cleaning the house with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA canister vacuum filter. Most scientists are not willing to say however, that there is a association between HEPA filters and allergy relief.
Many vacuums use microfilters in one, two, three, or five layers and may be paired with an electrostatic filter that attracts certain particles. By definition, a microfilter must trap 99.5% of all particles that are 2 microns or more in diameter. Compared to 2 microns, dirt, dust, dust mites, bedbugs, sand and hair are gigantic. Many of these particles don’t even make to the exhaust filter because they get caught in filters earlier in the cycle. The major things, like dust, are caught in the vacuum cleaner bag or dust bin.
You still should to exchange or clean your standard canister vacuum cleaner filter from time to time, but since the mesh is larger compared to a HEPA one, it’s less prone to slow down airflow and overwork the vacuum’s motor.
All in all, the decision on what type of vacuum and canister vacuum filter is up to you. You choice is determined whether you can live with a regular filter or if you need the extra air quailty provided by a HEPA filter