HEPA filters keep coming back if you are interested in a new vacuum cleaner . Either without being interested in it – or because you are looking for it as an allergic or asthmatic.
But some questions are often also open, if you have already dealt with the topic HEPA something. Because information can be found relatively difficult. And most of the time, these are only brief references to specific products.
But what is a HEPA filter actually? What are the differences between the different models, and which one is the right one for whom? Here you will find a neutral overview, which hopefully will help you.
WHAT IS A HEPA FILTER ANYWAY
Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters help keep your home free of dust. Unlike “normal” devices, they use particulate matter filters . These air cleaners retain even the smallest particles . And there’s a lot of that, as scientists have calculated.
In average households fall according to this analysis of the Federal Environment Agency Austria about 6 milligrams of dust per square meter. The causes are manifold: eg laundry fibers, washing powder residues – and of course dirt that is carried in from outside. In addition, all residents of a household virtually produce dirt by itself. This starts with skin particles and continues on animal hair – up to the excretions of dust mites and bacteria.
What does the abbreviation HEPA stand for
HEPA is the abbreviation for “High Efficiency Particulate Air”. This translates into German as “highly efficient against particles in the air”. What this means is that these filters help to keep the room air free of microscopic parts.
HEPA filters are available in certain filter classes . Depending on the filter class (see below), they hold particles of different sizes – down to 0.0001 millimeters (!). This class is named in the name, eg HEPA-11. For example, you can filter house dust, mite eggs and pollen.
ADVANTAGES OVER NORMAL FILTERS
To describe the benefits of HEPA filters , briefly summarize the design of a vacuum cleaner. The engine first ensures that a strong vacuum is created at the suction nozzle. This creates an air suction that transports dirt of all kinds into the interior of the device.
In order to be able to use the advantages of HEPA filters permanently, you have to clean or change them from time to time.
- The fundamental problem : The sucked air itself must escape, but all particles should remain in the device. For the rough dirt done that – in vacuum cleaners with bag – sometimes even the classic dust bag, bagless vacuum cleaners of the dirt filter. But for fine dirt, a separate air filter is required.
- The disadvantage of simple filters is that microscopically small amounts of pollen, spores, allergens and house dust return to the indoor air. Since the air flow is strongly moved, even the danger that one inhales these particles increases. For while they were “in good hands” on the floor – eg deep in carpet fibers – they now whirl through the air for a while. The very finest particles can even enter the lungs.
- HEPA filters remove this permeability and even these tiny particles as far as possible from the exhaust air. How completely this succeeds is characterized by different HEPA classes. All in all, the filters used as air cleaners are a clear improvement for allergy sufferers and those who value special hygiene. Because in this way you can both clean the floors while sucking while keeping the indoor air clean.
DO I NEED A HEPA FILTER?
It can be roughly said that if you disturb the particles that let normal filters through, you should probably get a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Or at least check more closely, which concrete advantages this offers him. The reason can simply be a special attention to hygiene and purity. Or, above all, allergies .
These filters are especially recommended for allergy sufferers who are allergic to house dust or pollen, for example. For many allergens are sucked in by normal devices – but then ejected again, swirled with the air and distributed in the room. A more effective air filter is therefore more than useful. Models with HEPA filters can release the expelled air almost 100% from allergens and dust.
Doctors recommend to allergy sufferers that they avoid contact if possible with allergenic particles . This is precisely what HEPA filters contribute to suction: Particulate matter that remains in them and no longer exhausts with the exhaust air can not cause any allergic symptoms.
Allergy sufferers and asthmatics rely on vacuum cleaners that meet their specific needs. This is very well possible today in the state of the art – however, not every manufacturer, and certainly not every model, uses the appropriate equipment for people with asthma or allergies. Here you will find a selection of current devices with optimized filtering.
IN COMPARISON: HEPA FILTER CLASSES AND THEIR EFFECT
The European Standard EN 1822-1: 1998 regulates the classification of particulate filters such as HEPA filters. To express the efficiency of the filters, there are so-called particle filter classes ranging from 1 to 17 in Europe. For HEPA filters, especially the filter classifications E10, E11, E12, H13 and H14 are important. Sometimes that is letter E by H replaced.
|HEPA class||How much fine dust does this class filter in percent? (So-called “degree of separation”).|
|E10 or H10||85% of the fine dust is retained.|
|E11 or H11||The degree of separation of the filter class is already much higher, it is 95%.|
|E12 or H12||Can clean the exhaust air of the vacuum cleaner to 99.5%:|
|H13||Separation efficiency of 99.95%. Allow only 0.05% of microscopic particles:|
|H14||The degree of separation is 99.995%. So they offer the best protection for allergy sufferers:|
By the way: The most common filter classes for normal households are the classes E10 and E11.
SPECIAL FEATURE: ULPA FILTERS OF CLASSES 15 TO 17
Basically, there are also Schwebstofffilter that filter even finer dust. They are called, for example, Ultra HEPA filters or Ultra Low Penetration Air Filters (ULPA filters). Most of these, however, are used in places where very high hygienic requirements apply: eg operating rooms, quarantine stations or in science. For ULPA filters, there are the filter classes U15 to U17.
Also pay attention to special dust bags , which are recommended. They prevent particles from escaping through a hygienic seal, have an antibacterial layer and can be easily removed with just one hand.
HOW COMMON ARE ALLERGIES?
How widespread allergies are currently, as studies by allergists show. The most common triggers of respiratory allergic diseases were investigated .
|Share of the population||Allergic to these triggers|
|38.3%||House dust mites|
|10-15% *||House dust|
With 38.3 percent house dust mites are therefore the second most common trigger of allergic diseases – eg breathlessness, runny nose or watery eyes. Ten to 15 percent of the German population are already allergic to house dust. Even more common is the reaction against pollens – but they are also worn over clothing, shoes and hair in the apartment. And their spread can narrow down a really good filter while sucking.
IS THE SIZE OF THE PARTICLES SO DIFFERENT?
Even if they are barely recognizable with the normal eye, the dimensions actually differ significantly. To give you an idea, we have put together some typical diameters here.
|smoke particles||0.03 μm – 1.5 μm|
|bacteria||0.1 μm – 0.5 mm|
|coal dust||1.0 μm|
|House dust||2.0 μm|
|mite eggs||2.0 μm|
|mites||3.5 – 5.0 μm|
For comparison , the average hair thickness of Europeans is 50 to 70 μm. HEPA filters can filter particles from indoor air that are a hundred times thinner than a hair.
HOW DO HEPA FILTERS WORK
Normal filters work much like a very fine kitchen sieve. Objects of a certain size get stuck in the sieve. Accordingly, larger dust particles can be separated from the exhaust air. Clean HEPA filter air flow in a completely different way. As a so-called HEPA filters do not work with the sieve effect, but put special effects one. HEPA filters look a bit like paper, but are made of cellulose, glass fibers and other synthetic materials . So that the filter surface is as large as possible, very many, very thin filter layers are superimposed.
- Inertia Effect: Larger particles follow the airflow, but due to their inertia, they can not make any change in direction. So they bounce straight against a filter fiber and stick there.
- Locking effect: If the particles in the air flow get very close to the fibers of the HEPA filter, adhesion or attachment forces ensure that they adhere to the fiber.
- Diffusion effect: The so-called diffusion effect is responsible for the smallest particles. They are so small that even the collision with gas molecules can influence their direction. This physical effect is called Brownian motion. Due to the frequent changes in direction, the particles eventually come into contact with the fibers of the filter. There, the adhesion comes into play again.
All effects together cause even the smallest objects to get stuck.
WHERE IS THE HEPA FILTER LOCATED
This can basically differ from model to model. For most vacuum cleaners – and for devices without bags – it is part of the design. Normally, it is included once in the delivery. After a certain period you have to either clean it or replace it. Where exactly he is, please note the manufacturer’s information on each model. Cleaning instructions can be found at the bottom of this page.
WHICH VACUUM CLEANER TYPE IS RECOMMENDED
Experts recommend hypo-allergens to vacuum cleaners with bags . For bagless devices, you have to remove the dust container and empty it in the air. On this occasion, allergy sufferers come in contact exactly with the particles that can cause allergic reactions. This can be reduced by tricks, but is less recommendable. Nevertheless, there are also bagless models that use HEPA filters. So if you value this technique, you can find corresponding offers.
TIP: THIS IS TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN EMPTYING THE DUST BAG
When emptying the dust bag you should proceed carefully and without hectic movements. Because the danger is great that sucked dust is released again. High quality HEPA vacuum cleaners have an easy-to-use drain device, the bags can be carefully closed. Allergy sufferers should wear a respirator in case of doubt in case of doubt.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU HAVE TO CHANGE HEPA FILTERS
The more frequently they are used, the more particles accumulate in the filters. They clog, the suction decreases. Therefore, it is recommended to change a HEPA filter regularly. But before that you should check if you can clean it as well. A sign that one of both is due, is given at the latest when the suction decreases significantly.
CAN ALL HEPA FILTERS BE CLEANED
There are disposable HEPA filters and reusable models that can be washed out. If the latter is the case, one usually proceeds as follows. Crucial but the information from the manufacturer, eg in the manual or on the packaging!
- Remove the superficial dust. So that he does not get into the room air, you should put the filter in a plastic bag and knock out easily.
- Give the dust time to sit down
- Carefully remove the filter from the bag.
- Clean the filter under running water.
- A brush and / or soap should only be used if it complies with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Let dry
- Put it back in the vacuum cleaner.
Important: Never put the filter back into the vacuum cleaner before it has completely dried. Because it is hardly possible to clean the filter “pore-deep”. A moist HEPA filter would be a good breeding ground for spores and molds.
WHAT SHOULD ONE PAY ATTENTION TO AS AN ALLERGIC PERSON
Allergy sufferers should make sure that the vacuum cleaner itself is HEPA certified. It is not enough if only the HEPA filter helps to keep the air clean. The vacuum cleaner itself must be particularly tight. This concerns, for example, the connection for the hose and any joints.