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Vacuum
 School

Vacuum School is the place to learn about vacuums.
Educate yourself before shopping for a new vacuum cleaner.

ARTICLE: ENVIROMENT 101
Air Filtration
 

Now that you've educated yourself with the power class, it's time to move on to air filtration. It doesn't do any good to pick up the dirt if you can't keep it in the machine! These is especially important to those of have someone in the houshold with allergies and breating problems. Even if you don't suffer from allergies, why would you want to do all the hard work, and have a poor filtering machine 'work against you'?

Now the bad news - as misleading as the manufacturer's were about the power ratings, they've been equally devious about filtration ratings. Before about 10 years ago, few companies paid any attention to this issue. Now, they're scrambing to 'one up' each other, but instead of doing it with quality design, most of them are doing it with advertising.

Let's get into the facts....


By now, you've seen the word 'HEPA' associated with vacuum cleaners. For the first couple of years as this became a buzzword, you paid a hefty premium for machines which were advertised as being 'HEPA'. Now, almost every cheap vacuum uses that word in their advertising.

HEPA stands for 'High Efficiency ---- ------'. The defination of HEPA is being able to capture 99.97% of particles down to .3 microns in size. (For reference, a human hair is about 100 micron in diameter, so this is supposed to filter out stuff 300 times smaller than that....things so small that you can't see them with the naked eye. Even germs, bacteria, and dustmites are larger than .3 microns in size.

You're thinking to yourself 'Great, that solves all of my problems!!!'. Uh...no so fast....


See, there's something that most manufacturer's forgot to put on the box next to the word 'HEPA'. They forgot to tell you that:
(1) They only tested the filter, and not the entire machine. The filter also wasn't tested with the volume of air moving through it that a vacuum cleaner produces, so it may not work as advertised. (Tissue paper could probably be certified HEPA under the right 'laboratory' circumstances!!)
(2) They forgot to tell you that they sell a cheap plastic machine, and only slapped the HEPA filter on as an afterthought. Because you educated yourself with the power article. You know that air has to go through the machine. Anywhere that air can leak out from a poorly designed machine, dust is going to leak out with it, before they can even reach the filter.
If filtration is important to you, look at the design of the machine AND the design of the filter itself. Some companies put their filter in a cardboard housing (yeah, that'll be 'airtight'), and charge you $30 for it. Some don't even do that!!

A few companies actually deliver what is advertised, and encase their HEPA filter in a hard plastic casing, surrounded by a rubber seal, ensuring that the filter is 'airtight'.

Even fewer actually design their machines the same way, with thick rubber seals around intake, door, exhaust, bag compartment, etc. - this ensures that the air (and dust) will not leak out of the machine BEFORE it reaches the filter.


Now that you've educated yourself with the facts about filtration, in addition to the facts about cleaning power, you know more than 99% of the shoppers out there. Armed with your new knowledge, you can browse the ratings, or get an idea of the machines available in our shopping section.

PLEASE NOTE: We do NOT sell machines. We simply list knowledge we've acquired and our opinions on the various brands and models available. Use the knowledge you attain there to get what you want and need when dealing with a 'vacuum salesman'.


More Vacuum Cleaner related classes...
Homeroom Vacschool: Vacuum cleaner Ratings
English 101 Vacuum cleaner vocabulary
Psychology 101 Tricks of the Trade
Economics 101 How much do I need to spend
Enviroment 101 (You Are Here)
Math 101 Vacuum Power Ratings
Ratings 101 See the vacuums we like (and some we don't)!
Shopping 101 Learn to be a wise online shopper and save money!