When Should A HEPA Vacuum Be Your Weapon Of Choice?

There are all sorts of vacuum cleaners available in the commercial and industrial world – wet/dry, soot and powder, machine shop and heavy-duty, to name just a few.  In most cases, it seems fairly clear which sort of vacuum cleaner you use for which application.  But one kind of vacuum – the HEPA vacuum – carries with it more than a little uncertainty about when it should be used.

“When should we use a HEPA vacuum?” we often hear you, our readers, ask. The answer is – a HEPA vacuum is like the old “roach hotel”.  Dirt goes in but it doesn’t come out.  So,  you should use it when you want to fully contain everything that enters the vacuum cleaner.

A true HEPA vacuum cleaner has been tested to a specific standard, usually MIL-STD 282 – and has been proven to capture 99.97% of particles .3 micron or larger.  It takes a pretty good filter to capture all but 3 of every 10,000 particles that pass through it.

So, as a service to you, our loyal readers, here are a few ideas about when to use a HEPA vacuum instead of a regular vacuum system:

Lead paint – this is a great use for a HEPA vacuum cleaner. In fact, to paraphrase an old joke, it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law. If you do any work with lead paint you will need a HEPA vacuum to clean up any walls or other surfaces covered with dust in order to comply with the EPA rules that went into effect earlier this year.

Asbestos – If you do any any renovation, repairs or replacement of any material that is or might be asbestos, you will need to clean it with a HEPA filtered vacuum system to prevent the fine particles or powder from escaping into the atmosphere and creating potential health hazards — not to mention possible legal ramifications.

Clean environments – You don’t necessarily need a clean room to need a HEPA vacuum. Any environment which you need to keep extremely clean and dust free, such as where you have delicate electronic gear or optical/photo equipment.  Food or pharmaceutical production floors are other places to have HEPA vacuums present.

Biological contamination – Because HEPA vacuums are so good at keeping in what they pick up, they may be the best way for you to clean up after an infestation of vermin, birds or any other creature that leaves “residue” behind.   HEPA vacuums are also standard for clean up after any type of mold, mildew or fungus.

Nuclear Power – Any place where you have the need to clean up radioactive materials, whether at a power plant, a laboratory or a medical facility — they’re the right place to use a HEPA vacuum.

Now that you have a better idea about when to use a  HEPA vacuum system, your next question might be  “Gee, there are lots of HEPA vacuum cleaners.  Which one is best for me?”  To answer that question, you need look no further than past editions of “Just Venting” blog posts.

In August of last year we ran a post called “Here’s What To Look For In a HEPA Vacuum” and in March, we ran a story about how the new EPA lead paint rules will require use of HEPA vacuums.  If you still have any questions about this admittedly most technical of vacuums, just contact Goodway Technologies directly.

Rich Silverman
Goodway Blogging Team

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