Are you looking for an easy way to improve the air quality in your home? Regardless of whether or not you suffer from allergies, a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter can make a noticeable difference in the air you breathe by filtering out 99.97% particles that can trigger respiratory irritation. So, what should you look for when purchasing a HEPA vacuum?
True HEPA filter
This is important because many companies will use the acronym HEPA, but that does not mean the vacuum is HEPA-certified. A true HEPA-certified vacuum must pass a test proving it is able to trap 99.97% of particles of .3 microns. These certified HEPA filters are then assigned a serial number. Anything less is considered a HEPA-type filter. Look for the serial number and the test results printed on a true HEPA filter.
Typically, a canister vacuum is more efficient and less likely to leak exhaust air than an upright. A canister vacuum also makes it easier to clean stairs and draperies. However, canister vacuums can be bulky and difficult to store. If you prefer an upright vacuum, make sure it comes equipped with plenty of attachments and a hose long enough to easily clean vertical surfaces.
Pre-filter to catch dust and debris
This will trap all of the larger particles and prevent the HEPA filter from clogging. HEPA filters are expensive to replace, so having an additional filter will prolong the life of the HEPA filter. Even better is a vacuum with multiple pre-filters.
Avoid bagless vacuums
Bagless vacuums are great because you don’t have to worry about stocking vacuum cleaner bags. On the other hand, when emptying a bagless vacuum, much of that dust and debris is emitted back into the air. That’s why it’s advisable to take your bagless canister outside for emptying.
Water-filtered vacuum isn’t a HEPA
There are a few brands of vacuums on the market that use water to trap dust rather than a government-certified HEPA filter. These vacuum cleaners are not as efficient. In fact, a few independent testing laboratories found that water-filtered vacuums leak a significant amount of dust back into the air.
For people with asthma and allergies, it’s interesting to note that according the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, “People with allergies should use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or a double bag, since using a standard or water-filtered vacuum cleaner stirs dust up into the air.” More on dust and allergies can be found on the site National Allergy.
This will remove more dirt and allergens from your carpet. However, you also want suction control so you can reduce the power when cleaning upholstery and draperies. Ideally, look for a vacuum with a twin-fan motor which will provide the most powerful suction.