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Is your Vacuum Cleaner leading to poor Indoor Air Quality?

Posted in Weather, on August 15, 2019

Most people think that the more you clean your home the cleaner the home will be. However, the opposite might be true. Many of our indoor air quality clients are surprised to learn that their vacuum cleaner is actually polluting the air they breathe and contributing to poor indoor air quality.

There are basically two types of vacuum cleaning systems. 

The first is the central vacuum cleaning system. This usually has a motor and dust collection canister located either in the basement of the home or in the garage. The system sucks up dirt and debris from the carpets and flooring and deposits the waste into a canister. However, the air that is expelled through the exhaust system may contain millions of small dust particulate that can become airborne and settle on surfaces. This is a viscous and continuous cycle of picking up dust off the floor and blowing it back into the breathable air where it settles out on the floor and furniture again. Some central systems have filters but very few of these work properly. 

If you have a central vacuum system, ensure that it is HEPA filtered or make sure the exhaust system is vented outdoors. This way the exhaust with the millions of small dust particles will not lead to poor indoor air quality.

The second type of vacuum cleaner is a portable system. This also has many different kinds. There are upright vacuum cleaners as well as canister type vacuum cleaners. These can be with a dust collection bag or bag less. It is very important that this type of vacuum have a properly designed and properly sealed HEPA filter for the exhaust. Otherwise millions of dust particles can be aerosolized into the breathable air leading to poor air quality. If you do not have a HEPA filter on the exhaust of the vacuum, dust is basically picked up from the floor and blown into the air you breathe.

Be careful, some vacuum cleaners advertise that they are HEPA filtered when they actually are not! There are a number of vacuum cleaners that list a HEPA filter as part of the product. However, we have found through numerous tests, that these vacuums indeed have a HEPA filter but its not working.

A properly HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner will need to have a perfect seal. A proper seal is what prevents air containing millions of dust particles from leaking past the HEPA filter and through the exhaust. Air will choose the path of least resistance. It will not force itself through a tightly woven HEPA filter if it can just as easily leak or flow past it. So improperly designed or improperly installed HEPA filters that do not provide a perfect seal will not be effective. This will once again lead to poor indoor air quality as the dust is picked up off the floor and introduced into the air your breathe.

The only way to ensure your vacuum system is not polluting the indoor air is to have your home checked and tested. We can test your vacuum system with a laser particle counter that will show us if it is leading to an increase in airborne dust.

Call us today for an indoor air quality testing and breathe better.

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