Hepa Vacuum Cleaners for Allergy Sufferers
HEPA Vacuum Cleaners For Allergy Sufferers
Choosing a Hepa Vacuum Cleaner? Complete buyers guide to the features you should consider.
by Mercia Tapping
A vacuum cleaner can be a healthy way to clean up dust, dirt and allergens. By using the hand tools, you can remove all the dust with a vacuum cleaner from all hard surfaces, upholstery and furniture. In fact, we recommend frequent vacuuming as your first line of defense. The trouble with most vacuum cleaners is that they are not completely sealed, and the filters are poor, so when you vacuum, you end up inhaling all sorts of dust which is getting exhausted from the machine into the air. In addition, the vacuum cleaner needs to be powerful enough to suck up all the particulates.
How a vacuum cleaner works
Most people use a vacuum cleaner on average one hour per week. Incidentally, when vacuum cleaner manufacturers talk about the life of a HEPA filter, they are basing it on one hour of weekly usage. A vacuum cleaner usually works by having a power head attachment to a canister or integrated into an upright, which has some rotating brushes, which first of all loosens up the dirt on the carpet. At the same time, the vacuum cleaner contains a strong fan, which sucks in the loosened debris into a special multi-layer filter bag and exhausts the air, which first passes through a HEPA filter before entering the air in the room. What most people do not realize, is in order to get a carpet really clean, you should not just pass the vacuum cleaner once or twice over the target area, but in fact as many as eight times, which is why we recommend highly machines with a dirt alert. A dirt alert will signal you when the vacuum cleaner is no longer pulling dirt out of a carpet or other surface. If the vacuum cleaner is not completely sealed, or all particulates sucked into a HEPA filter, such as in Miele vacuum cleaners, then a delightful allergic mixture of dust-mite allergens, cat allergen, household dust, pollen fragments, mold spores are blown back into your face where you inhale it. For this reason, many asthma and allergy sufferers are advised to have someone else do the vacuuming for them.
For those of us who do not have that luxury or dislike wearing a facemask, a good HEPA vacuum cleaner is a necessity. Interestingly enough, you should only half fill a vacuum cleaner bag, because as the vacuum cleaner bag fills up there is no longer so much air flow, and hence the vacuum cleaner loses its suction capacity. Both the Eureka Oxygen and Miele vacuum cleaners have a mechanism, which automatically closes the bag completely when you need to change the vacuum cleaner bag. Thus you do not breathe in dust when you change the bag. In the newer cyclonic vacuum cleaners, the suction power is not decreased as the collection bin gets full .The problem with cyclonic vacuum cleaners is that they are very awkward to empty for an allergy sufferer who has to endure a completely unsealed container of dust and allergens when they empty it. So although a cyclonic vacuum cleaner completely eliminates the need for vacuum bags, we do not recommend them for allergy sufferers, unless someone else does the vacuuming for them.
What is HEPA?
The ‘HEPA‘ in HEPA filter stands for ‘High Efficiency Particulate Arresting’. These vacuum cleaner filters are made out of a media such as fiberglass, bonded together by a synthetic resin and the construction is so tight that almost all the tiny particulates up to .3 microns get trapped permanently in the filter. HEPA filters were first designed by the Atomic Energy Commission in World War Two for trapping plutonium particles. Since the HEPA media is very dense, HEPA filters need heavy-duty fans to move the air through them. Pollen, one of the largest particulates at 10 microns, is easy to filter. Cat allergen is much smaller. Since there are true HEPA filters and ‘HEPA like’ filters, you need to be sure that as an allergy sufferer, the filter you are buying will really do the job you want. Miele vacuum cleaners offer a ‘certified HEPA filter’ to assure its customers that they are getting a high efficiency filter. We believe that a HEPA vacuum cleaner is an essential part of any allergy sufferer’s campaign to reduce the number of allergens in their home.
Canister or upright vacuum cleaner?
There are two main types of portable vacuum cleaners – canisters and upright vacuums . Each type of vacuum cleaner has its advocates. Quite frankly, we think that most uprights are heavy, difficult to maneuver, and almost impossible to lie flat to get under furniture. What’s more, an upright often does not have tools on board, or only has a very short hose at the back to which you can attach tools. The long and short of it is you have to torture an upright to use hand tools and in torturing it, it often keels over. Therefore, after having been brought up with upright vacuum cleaners we are now canister vacuum converts. Why? They are lighter, easier to maneuver and the better ones such as the Miele or Eureka Oxygen lines have their tools on board. Our observation is that if the tools are not on board you will never you use them- and you SHOULD use them. In recent years, many canister vacuums (Eureka Oxygen and Miele models) now include improved storage design features such as a ‘wand parking system’, ergonomic carrying handle, and the canister can be easily stored in a stable upright position.
With a built in vacuum cleaner there is no possibility that allergens can be exhausted back into the room, making it unequivocally the vacuum cleaning method of choice for an allergy sufferer. Since they are stationary they often have more powerful motors than portable vacuum cleaners. Dirt is either collected in a container usually located in a garage or basement, or exhausted directly outside a house. The connection hoses for central vacuums have become lighter and easier to manipulate in recent years. However, the biggest disadvantage of central vacuums is they do not have any onboard tools and you need to carry them separately [read stay in the closet].They are also more costly initially to install, requiring at least a half day of professional installer time. In addition, despite design improvements many people find a 30 foot hose awkward to carry around. As with all product choices, there are tradeoffs to be considered.
Our Range of HEPA Vacuum Cleaners
We offer an excellent selection of hepa vacuum cleaners and we have rated each one. If you only have a studio apartment the Eureka Mightymite could be all you need. On the other hand, if you want the best, the new Miele Silver Moon vacuum cleaners are our category winner and favorite. The Miele Solaris vacuum cleaners are new for 2001 and give you increased performance over the Miele Red and White Stars machines. Eureka Oxygen vacuum cleaners are also interesting with their washable hepa filter. Click on the photos of each of the vacuum cleaners for more details.