When you’re shopping for a new vacuum cleaner, you’re very likely to run across the term ‘HEPA filtration’ when you’re reading about different makes and models. But what exactly is a HEPA filter and why do you need one? Our Vax Expert has the answers…
Vax Expert says:
Vacuum cleaners use bags, filters or cyclonic technology (or a combination of these) to filter out dirt from the air that it is sucked into the machine. This filtering process cleans the air before it is blown back out into your room. One of the types of filter used to do this is the HEPA filter, which stands for high efficiency particulate air.
To understand what a HEPA filter is and why you need it, we need to look at how a vacuum cleaner actually works and then at the different types of filter.
In its simplest form, vacuum cleaners use air pressure to create a small vacuum that draws the air, dirt and dust out of your carpets and upholstery. It then either drops this dust into a bag or a dirtbin and finally the clean air is pushed out of the machine.
Types of HEPA filter
There are two types of HEPA filter:
1. True (or absolute) HEPA
2. HEPA type
True or absolute HEPA filters are able to capture at least 99.97 percent of particles sized 0.3 micros. HEPA type filters capture between 85 to 90 per cent of these particles. The main difference though is price. True HEPA filters will have a serial number and the results of tests on the retail box.
HEPA filters are made up of a random arrangement of fibres and these are usually made from fibreglass. An interesting fact is that they were first used in the 1940s in the Manhattan Project (the development of the Atomic bomb) to stop the spread of airborne radioactive contaminants.
These filters evolved over the decades improving all the time and being used in many commercial areas until they developed into the filters we have today.
Unlike ‘normal’ membrane filters which do not allow large particles to pass through, the HEPA filter actually targets much smaller pollutants and particles, which are trapped in various ways.
Benefits of HEPA filters
What does the above mean to you as a customer? It means that when you use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter, you are trapping very small particles and this makes for cleaner air in your home. As a result, anyone who suffers from any form of breathing difficulties or allergies will be more comfortable.
Anti-bacterial HEPA filters
Anti-bacterial HEPA filters include an anti-bacterial agent coating, which helps to reduce the growth of bacteria on the filter. This means that less bacteria is expelled from the machine, ensuring better protection for allergy suffers and helping to reduce unpleasant pet-related odours.
Try looking on your vacuum cleaner manufacturer’s website for more information about its filters. You may also be able to purchase new filters for your machine from their site, with the assurance that they are genuine spares. While you can often buy cheaper, compatible filters that will fit your vacuum cleaner, the quality of these varies greatly and you could invalidate your warranty by using them.