Standard vacuum filters consist of a single layer filter bag that does not trap allergenic micro particles that are sucked into the vacuum chamber by the suction motor. Instead, these micro particles can actually be reintroduced into the environment as a result of the vacuum fan blowing them back out into the room that's being cleaned. Stirring up allergens in this way can actually make an allergy sufferer's symptoms worse. If you need a vacuum cleaner that removes allergens, such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander, you can opt for a HEPA filtration or micro-filtration system.
HEPA Filtration Vacuums
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters use microscopic glass fibres that are laid down in multiple layers to trap micro particles as they enter the filter. HEPA filters trap allergenic particles by causing them to stick to the glass fibres or by preventing them passing through the external filter wall, which causes them to build up in the filter until they are hygienically disposed of when the filter is emptied and cleaned.
An electrostatic charge is created when a HEPA filter is in use, and this charge becomes stronger as more and more particles build up in the filter, so a HEPA filter becomes more efficient with heavy use. This makes HEPA filtration vacuums a good option for cleaning large rooms or rooms that are susceptible to a build-up of allergenic particles. HEPA filters only need to be replaced a couple of times a year, and it's best to clean or change the filter outdoors to prevent allergenic particles being released back into the indoor environment.
Micro-filtration vacuums consist of a multi-layer filter bag with a polypropylene layer, and these filters work by catching and trapping allergenic particles as they pass through the layers of the filter bag. The first layer is effective at catching larger particles of dirt and debris, and subsequent layers trap micro particles and prevent them being blown back out through the vacuum exhaust filter. The trapped dust, dirt and allergens are collected in a bag connected to the filter, and the bags can be removed indoors, as they can be sealed to prevent allergenic particles escaping back into the atmosphere. Bags need to be changed regularly, and this creates an added expense that should be considered when choosing your vacuum.
Micro-filtration vacuums can be a good option if you don't want to deal with taking the vacuum outdoors to empty it or if you don't have a large area of flooring to vacuum and, therefore, won't need to change the bags too frequently.
When choosing your vacuum, consider the environment you'll be using it in. If you need to remove pet dander from a room on a daily basis, frequently replacing vacuum bags could get expensive. However, a micro-filtration vacuum could be the most cost-effective option for removing seasonal allergens, such as grass pollen, that are only active for a few months each year.