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Vacuum Cleaner Filter FAQ

Vacuum Cleaner Filter FAQ by KwikiVac

What is HEPA Filtration?

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) is a filtering efficiency specification for highly sophisticated filters developed during World War II to remove radioactive dust from nuclear power plant exhausts. HEPA filters must retain all particles as small as 0.3 micrometer (formerly microns with an efficiency rating of 99.97%. A 0.3 micrometer filter will capture soot, pollen, black and color copier toner and the majority of atmospheric dust particles.

HEPA filters are a pleated or 'extended surface' filter made of glass microfibers. The HEPA acronym is used primarily in the United States, while Europeans often refer to the same filter as an S-Class filter. Certified HEPA filters in both the U.S. and Europe are marked with a certification number.

What is a sealed HEPA system?

A sealed HEPA system is not only a HEPA filter but an entire system that meets HEPA standards. This is accomplished by not allowing the air passing through the system to escape around the filter. If you have a HEPA filter but air is allowed to escape without passing through it, the filter is not accomplishing its purpose.

Is HEPA always HEPA?

Some manufacturers have developed their own terms. For example, several manufacturers use a 'HEPA type' filter which does not meet the stringent standards set for a true HEPA filter. The key to proper comparison is the size and percentage of particles captured. Almost any systems could be rated at 100% filtration if the dirt particles were large enough.

How effective are multi-layer filters?

  Experiments were conducted on the filtration performance of multi-layered media, such as the white-yellow-green filters used by some vacuum cleaner manufacturers. The experiments showed that multiple layers do not perform as well as calculated from filtration data on the individual layers. The layers must be separated for best results.

What are important filter characteristics?

Filter efficiency is determined by the type, size and number of particles the filter is able to trap. Overall filter performance depends on a number of factors:
  • Is it pleated? A pleated filter provides additional surface area on which particles can be trapped
  • Is it electrostatically charged? Filters with electrostatic charging can attract and capture particles that other filters can miss
  • What type of particulates does it capture?
  • What is the filter substate's efficiency?

How many filters does a vacuum cleaner have?

Not counting the bag, which is part of the overall filtration process on bagged vacuum cleaners (see

What happens if I do not change my vacuum cleaner filters?

Vacuums lose suction power and eventually stop picking up dirt when the filters are dirty. Some poorly designed motor filters let air bypass the filter when they are dirty. This can damage the vacuum cleaner's suction motor and result in an expensive repair.

In addition, a clogged output filter (alternatively known as exhaust filter or after filter or final filter) increases strain on the suction motor. This can result in poor suction performance and reduced motor lifespan.

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