what is HEPA

What is HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrest) - Warners Stellian Minneapolis, St. Paul MN
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what is HEPA and why should you care about it?

Miele canister vacuum with HEPA filtration

HEPA, or high efficiency particulate arrest, was invented by the Army Corps of Engineers to combat chemical toxins. The U.S. HEPA standard requires 99.75% of all particles 0.3 microns in diameter be filtered. That’s teeny tiny — about 1/200th of a strand of hair.

The average home contains about 250,000 particles per square foot. And when we breathe, pet dander, pollen and even dust mite fecal matter enter our blood stream through our lungs.

Does this matter to you? Maybe. If you have allergies or respiratory health problems, it definitely should. There’s no question using a HEPA filter to trap particles improves your breathing. And if you live in a newer construction home, HEPA becomes important because the quality of the insulation and windows mean that “fresh air” doesn’t really get in and current air simply recycles itself.

And if you’re already using a “HEPA” vacuum, you might want to double-check it.

Some vacuum cleaners spit out particles through their exhaust system instead of trapping them inside the vacuum. Just about every brand has a HEPA vacuum. But those units aren’t necessarily making use of the HEPA. It has to be able to filter all those particles to 99.7%.

HEPA filters are tested to 10 cubic feet of airflow per minute. Even low-quality vacuums can move about 60 cubic feet per minute. So what happens when you put a HEPA designed for 10 cubic feet per minute on a vacuum that moves 60 cubic feet of air per minute? The air is going to go around the filter and basically recirculate the debris.

There are many vacuums created with leaks to help the air escape. It’s like putting your thumb on a hose.

Miele vacuums, which Warners’ Stellian carries, are the only truly HEPA certified vacuums on the market. Miele vacuum cleaners generate over 100 cubic feet of airflow per minute and the HEPA filter is tested on the vacuum to ensure it’s truly sealed and can contain the debris. For more info, read our vacuum cleaner buying guide.

These vacuums are certainly an investment — they last upwards of 20 years — or a really, really generous gift (we ship for free!).
Shop all Miele vacuums.