A vacuum does a lot of good, but it can also be a source of grief. The ordinary vacuum cleaner sucks in sizeable dust particles while most of the finer particles are blown into the air where they float for some time before settling. It helps, but it doesn’t exactly make your home feel clean. Plus, expelling particles causes a lot of problems primarily for people with respiratory allergies like asthma. People with sensitive skin will also get irritated by these micro-particles. Luckily, technology has given rise to filters that can efficiently capture these particles so they don’t pose a risk.
“HEPA” stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. A HEPA filter is able to capture most of the fine micro-particles when vacuuming. For a filter to be considered a HEPA filter, it must be able to trap particles that are bigger than 0.3 microns. In case you don’t know what a micron is, know that it is tiny. A good comparison is human hair, which is 40 microns thick. Using a HEPA filter vacuum takes away almost all of the risks of vacuuming to people with allergies because the particles are no longer in the air.
True HEPA filters
HEPA filters are not equal. Typical HEPA filters will capture 80-90% of particles bigger than 0.3 microns. For a filter to be labeled a true HEPA filter, it must capture 99.97% of particles sized 0.3 microns and above. This is often printed on the vacuum’s label.
Why you need a HEPA filter
- Better indoor air quality—When using a typical vacuum, a lot of dust is left floating in the air along with other pollutants like mold and mildew. These make the air smell stale and musty. A HEPA filter traps these pollutants and keeps the air fresh and dust-free.
- Better for health—A HEPA filter traps particles that are allergens. These include dust and mold spores, as well as pet dander. By trapping these micro-particles, the house is left allergy-free, so vacuuming can be done without the fear of exacerbating household allergies.
- Better cleaning results—A HEPA filter vacuum delivers overall better cleaning results than a common vacuum cleaner. Their ability to thoroughly trap dust leaves less dust particles in the air, which means surfaces in the house will be less dusty and require less dusting.
HEPA filter vacuums are a bit more expensive than non-HEPA filter vacuums. However, the higher cost is easily offset by the health benefits of this type of vacuum.