Here’s What To Look For In A HEPA Vacuum

In the past 50 years, the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter has gone from very specialized uses in selected industries to a device that can be found in hundreds of applications.   What started life as a means of cleaning the air for clean rooms used in the Manhattan Project that created the world’s first atomic bomb has now found its way into such everyday uses as cleaning up and abating asbestos and lead-based paint (i.e. HEPA Vacuum).

Along the way, many vacuums and filters have taken to calling themselves HEPA, but they aren’t necessarily the real deal.   The following is a guide to make sure that when you invest in a HEPA system you are getting the most filtration for your money.

  • Make sure your vacuum is HEPA certified. A true HEPA filter will remove 99.97% of all particles that pass through it down to a size of .3 microns (a micron is 1 millionth of an inch).  Particles that small – such as bacteria — are invisible to the human eye.  Many vacuums may claim HEPA levels of filtration but won’t give you those numbers.  If they aren’t individually tested and given a serial number, then they are not true HEPA filters.
  • Look for a solidly built case, including heavy-duty seals and connections at seams, joints or any location where air might leak out.  A poorly constructed HEPA vacuum might have a true HEPA filter but give poor performance because the case leaks.
  • Another tip – get a vacuum with a bypass motor.  A bypass motor is sealed and separated from the impeller that actually creates the vacuum.  Because it has its own filtered air supply, it can’t pick up particles that get past the filters, particles that can reduce the life of the motor.
  • Also, look for a pre-filter that will capture most of the larger particles flowing through the vaccum cleaner before they get to the HEPA filter, which will extend its life.  Even better are multiple layers of pre-filters, which will further exctend the life of the HEPA filter.
  • There is some debate about where the HEPA filter should be placed for best results – at the air inlet or the outlet.  While putting the HEPA filter on the air inlet side may protect the motors a little and lessen the possibility of particles escaping through leaks in the vacuum’s case, placing the filter on the exhaust side will capture any carbon dust created by the motor and brushes.
  • Be certain that your HEPA filter is certified to work at the speed at which your vacuum operates.  One that is certified at a different rate might not work at your vacuum’s rated speed.

Over the years, HEPA vacuums have become an important part of the building maintenance professional’s arsenal in the fight against particulate contamination.   They are used every day in thousands of places in jobs as diverse as mold remediation, asbestos and lead paint cleanup, and the day-to-day cleaning and maintenance of food, pharmaceutical and electronics companies.

For more information about Gooodway HEPA vacuum systems, take a look at our website.

Rich Silverman
Goodway Blogging Team

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