Everyone hears about the benefits of having a HEPA filter for their vacuum, but not everyone knows what a HEPA filter does or even what it is. While we all want to do what’s best for our families and ourselves in terms of health, many will not invest in something that they don’t understand. And, yes, a HEPA filter is an investment. Using one can greatly reduce the number of allergens in your air simply by removing more particles and smaller particles than can be picked up by a vacuum not equipped with HEPA filters.
First, let’s discover what HEPA is. HEPA is an acronym standing for “high efficiency particulate air”. That’s a mouthful and the reason the filter became known as a much smaller word. For the sake of simplicity, as I enjoy the simple things, a HEPA filter is a filter capable of trapping and eliminating much smaller particles from the air in your home that other vacuum cleaner filters would simply redistribute throughout the air. These particles are invisible to the naked eye and can’t be seen without the aid of a microscope. Therefore, those who don’t use a HEPA filter can’t be told on by the “look” of these particles in their home. It is only in air quality that the HEPA filter can be compared. Less particles in the air equate to less possible irritants for allergy sufferers.
Now, not all filters touted to be HEPA filters are truly HEPA filters. To be sure of the type of filter you are purchasing, there are a few things you need to know to look for when purchasing. True HEPA filters are tested and must meet strict guidelines to be called HEPA at all. HEPA filters must trap at least 99.97% of particles in the air measuring .3 microns or larger. The size of a micron can’t be seen without help, so this is done scientifically.
When HEPA filters pass the test, they are assigned a serial number. In addition, the test results are printed directly onto the filter to assist the consumer in making a decision. The cost of this performance is higher than what is termed “HEPA type filters”. Only true or absolute HEPA filters are given serial numbers and test results.
HEPA type filters are similar to true HEPA filters, but there are some major differences. While their cost is lower, they only have to capture 85% of particles. In addition, the size of the particles captured only has to be 1 micron, which is much larger than what a true HEPA filter must capture.
Basically, the real decision comes down to the consumer. If you are an allergy sufferer or just want the cleanest air possible, then a true HEPA filter may be what is best. If your pocketbook is a little on the light side, then a HEPA type filter may suit your needs best. But, before you purchase, make sure to double check the test results and ensure you are purchasing the right type of filters. All true HEPA filters must meet the .3 micron particles at 99.97%. If it doesn’t then what you are purchasing is a HEPA type filter.
HEPA type filters are still better than the conventional bag, but be aware of what you are getting for your money before you spend. Making clear and informed decisions will always yield a higher rate of satisfaction and that is what every consumer is after with every purchase.