HEPA vacuums

Vacuum cleaners are a quick and convenient way to remove dust, dirt and allergens from a household environment. Most vacuum cleaners come with a variety of tools, and by using these tools, you can remove dust and dirty from more difficult places such as upholstery and furniture.

The disadvantage of conventional vacuum cleaners is that the filters are not completely sealed, so dirt and dust is hovered up and then expelled back into the air again. 

Highly efficient HEPA vacuum cleaners are now common place in homes and businesses to clean and remove dust, micro organisms and allergens from the air to improve its quality

History of vacuum cleaners

The first non-electric vacuum cleaner was invented and Patented in the USA by Ives W. McGaffey. Working in a Chicago basement in 1869, McGaffey invented The Whirlwind,  a wood and canvas hand pump contraption.

The first electric motor-operated vacuum cleaner was patented and produced by Hubert Cecil Booth in 1901.

In 1907 and electric powered vacuum cleaner was invented by janitor James Murray Spangler, from Canton, Ohio.  Spangler's design incorporated a rotating brush to loosen debris as well as suction. Lacking the funds to produce his design himself, he sold the patent to W.H.Hoover.

HEPA vacuum cleaners today

Over the years the design has been modified many times and now many hoovers (vacuum cleaners are known colloquial as hoovers) now employ HEPA air filters as part of their filtration systems. The air filters are removable and replacement HEPA filters can be purchased if needed.

HEPA vacuum cleaners are good for asthma and allergy sufferers, because the HEPA filter work by trapping fine particles such as dust, pollen and house mite faeces which trigger allergy and asthma attacks.

HEPA cleaners are designed so that all the air that is drawn into the filter is expelled from the outlet – no air must pass out of the tool by any other means. This set up is known as a "Sealed HEPA",  "True HEPA" or "Absolute HEPA".

You should always took at the label on a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Those that are just labelled HEPA may have a HEPA type filter, but not all the air that is drawn into the cleaner may pass through it. "HEPA type " cleaners will use filter that is very similar to a true HEPA filter, but have reduced filtering efficiency. If any air does not pass through the filter, the efficiency of the vacuum in removing particles from the air is reduced.

True HEPA vacuums should data will state the following data on the outside of the cleaner:
  • Direction of flow
  • % penetration at rated flow
  • Size of the filter
  • Separator type
  • Resistance at rated flow

Because of the extra density of a HEPA filter, in addition to the additional cost of the filter itself, HEPA vacuum cleaners require more powerful motors to provide adequate cleaning power.

How does a HEPA vacuum cleaner work?

Vacuum cleaners work by having powered rotating brushes which loosen up dirt and dust on a carpet.  The cleaner also has a strong fan which then sucks the loosened particles up into the into a special multi-layer filter bag. In HEPA vacuum cleaners, the air is then passed through a HERPA filter before entering the air in the room again.

To get a carpet really clean, need to pass the suction head over an area eight times.