When you vacuum your home you do so in the hopes that you are creating a cleaner and healthier environment for you and your family to live in. The whole reason for doing the work of vacuuming is to rid the carpet of all the dirt and allergy irritants hanging out in there.
This is why vacuum companies have produced machines with HEPA filters. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate air Filter. The word HEPA has become a term in the vacuum world associated with higher quality cleaning performance. What does a HEPA filter really do and is the added cost of a HEPA filter worth the investment?
The HEPA filter was originally designed in the 1940’s to aid in the prevention of radioactive contaminates in the air and soon after the filter was used in the commercial world and later was produced for residential purposes. An actual HEPA filter is one that removes a minimum of 99.97 percent of airborne particles measuring 0.3 micrometers or more. That is about 300 times smaller than a human hair.
Most allergens and particles found in a home are actually much much larger than 0.3 micrometers. Dust mite droppings, pet dander, and pollen particles are huge compared to this. Most high-quality vacuum cleaners will be able to filter out these irritants.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has a certification program that provides guidelines for purchasing allergy friendly vacuum cleaners. These guidelines neither promote or denote machines with HEPA filters. The AAFA currently certifies 33 vacuum cleaning machines made by Dyson, Kenmore and Samsung. The pricey Rainbow Cleaning System that uses water filtration is also certified by the AAFA.
In simple terms if you stay on top of your vacuuming and do it correctly, a HEPA filter in a vacuum won’t give you a huge edge on keeping allergy symptoms at bay. A HEPA filter will not collect a larger amount of pollen, dander, and other allergens than a regular vacuum.
What a HEPA filter does do is trap most bacteria, pathogens, microbial spores, tiny soil particles, soot particles, some construction dust and even some virus particles stuck to larger particles. A HEPA filter does help to create a super healthy environment even for those not suffering from allergies. If you have allergies that weaken an immune system this can help prevent illness, it is also helpful for people with asthma, COPD and other respiratory issues.
If you have decided a HEPA filter is worth the investment you will want to pay attention to the deism of the filter itself and its placement in the machine. The filter should be made of a pretty sturdy semi-rigid material that is pleated held tightly in a frame with an airtight gasket. Avoid foam filters and filters not held tightly in place as particles still will pass through and not be caught inside.
You will also want to be aware of the bags you choose for you vacuum. Avoid products with the words HEPA-style or HEPA-like as these do not have the benefits of an actual HEPA system.
The best way to keep allergens at bay is to find an AAFA certified vacuum and use it on a regular basis (once or twice per week) with slow methodical passes on the carpet. Trying to get your vacuuming done as quickly as possible will only kick allergens into the air and not get them sucked into the vacuum to be deposited in the trash.
For more carpet cleaning advice and tips please browse our blog. For the best professional carpet cleaning in the Snohomish and North Seattle area make an appointment with All Kleen.