Do I Need A HEPA Filter For My Vacuum Cleaner?

Vacuums with HEPA filtration cost significantly more than without that filtration. So why pay the premium? What benefits make them a great investment for owners, staff and customers when buying from Rapid Clean Newcastle?

What Is A HEPA Filter?

HEPA is an acronym for "High-Efficiency Particulate Air" and has become a generic term for highly efficient filters. HEPA vacuum filters capture smaller particulates that might otherwise not be trapped by your vacuum bags. This provides added relief for allergy sufferers and cleaner air for all. The operator of the vacuum then breathes highly filtered air exhausted by the vacuum cleaner during the hours of usage. It also benefits customers working afterward in these cleaned areas as particles are not airborne.

HEPA filters trap small particles that may cause problems for allergy sufferers and others with health problems. And if you have acute allergies, asthma, COPD or other respiratory conditions, HEPA filters are an important component of a healthier home, office or school.

A HEPA filter works by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles.  Commercial vacuums with HEPA filters capture 99.97 percent of particles from air, such as dust, animal dander, smoke, mould, and other allergens down to 0.3 microns thus improving the quality of air. To put 0.3 microns in perspective, it's worth remembering that a typical human hair is roughly 50–150 microns in diameter, so a HEPA filter is trapping dust several hundred times thinner. A genuine HEPA filter is much more hygienic than an ordinary filter because it will stop mould spores and even some bacteria and viruses.

While it is widely accepted that HEPA filtration refers to filtering 99.97 percent of particles down to 0.3 microns, there are different international standards. The most widely used is the European Standard EN 1822:2010. This states three filtration classifications:

  1. EPA 10 – EPA 12: Efficiency Particulate Air Filter – 85% of particles 0.3 microns and over
  2. HEPA 13 – HEPA 14: High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filter – 99.97% of particles 0.3microns and over.
  3. ULPA 15 – ULPA 17: Ultra Low Penetration Air Filters - 99.999% of particles down to 0.12 microns (Required for industrial-strength air cleaning).

Why Buy a HEPA Filter?

Knowing a bit about how filters work comes in handy when you're deciding what to buy. A vacuum with proper HEPA filtration will channel virtually all (over 99 percent) of the dirty airstream through the filter, if it doesn't do this, it's simply rearranging the dirt. HEPA filters obstruct the airstream in vacuum cleaners: it takes quite a lot of suction to pull air past all those convoluted fibres. That's why vacuums with true HEPA filtration need more powerful motors and ones with low power may not clean effectively. Air purifiers that use HEPA filtration may have higher power consumption for the same reason (which means they're more expensive to run for long periods and noisier than rival technologies). A HEPA filter will also need cleaning or replacing periodically as well, you might want to check how much replacement filters cost before you commit yourself.

So if you have a need to manage air quality to remove bacteria, mould, dust, small parasites and allergens invest in a vacuum fitted with a HEPA filter.

Rapid Clean Newcastle stocks vacuums with HEPA filter in both canister and backpack formats manufactured by Nilfisk, Hako and Pacvac.