The importance of indoor air pollution and its impact on respiratory health continues to grow. It can be especially challenging in retail spaces, business and commercial properties that see a lot of foot traffic. Every person who enters your professional space is bringing things like dust, pollen with them, and dirt on the bottoms of their shoes that settles onto hard floors and carpets.
This is why so many retail shops and commercial properties need to be vacuumed on a daily basis or multiple times a week. Though the problem is, vacuum cleaner technology uses air suction to pull dust, dirt, and pollen from the floor. It then passes through a filter where seemingly clean air is exhausted out the back.
The problem is, that low-quality vacuum filters don’t always do a good job of trapping fine particulate matter, and allow it to blow into the air where it can be breathed in, instead of leaving it on the floor, where it is an unhygienic eyesore. Unfortunately, it’s also this fine particulate matter that tends to be the biggest threat to respiratory health.
When you consider the immense square footage of these buildings, the amount of airborne particulate matter spread by low-quality vacuum cleaners with outdated filter systems can be staggering. Especially in older buildings, that typically have insufficient ventilation filtration systems, and high-traffic areas with carpeting. All these factors can contribute to employee absences, sick days, and even higher medical insurance premium costs.
One of the best ways to deal with this problem is to use a commercial-grade vacuum cleaner with a high-quality HEPA filter.
What Is A HEPA Filter?
The acronym HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate absorbing filter and High-Efficiency Particulate Air” filter. These filters are found in a wide range of high-quality air filters and vacuum filters.
HEPA filters can theoretically remove up to 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, and other types of fine particulate airborne matter with a size of 0.3 microns. The diameter specification of 0.3 microns is meant to be the lowest threshold a HEPA filter can have and still carry the term HEPA. This means that particles that are larger or smaller are trapped with even higher efficiency.
How Do HEPA Filter Vacuums Help Improve Indoor Air Quality?
Commercial-grade vacuums that are properly equipped with HEPA filtration systems can help improve indoor air quality throughout a business office or large commercial property. They are especially helpful during times of the year when pollen counts are high, or there are a lot of airborne mold spores in the air. HEPA filter vacuum cleaners are especially helpful for buildings where allergies are a concern, as well as older buildings with ventilation or other air handling problems.
The 0.3-micron minimum size of the pores in a HEPA filter is about 240 times smaller than a human hair. Items with HEPA classification range from vacuum filters and disposable dust bags to completely sealed systems that essentially force the air leaving the vacuum through a HEPA exhaust filter.
The engineering of the vacuum cleaner itself can also be a factor in improving indoor air quality in your commercial space. Ideally, you want to use models that have a “Sealed HEPA Filtration System, which is completely sealed to prevent collected contaminates from escaping back into the air through gaps in the casing.
The Science Behind HEPA Filters To Manage Air Quality
A growing body of research published by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology notes that roughly 34.1 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma. Adding to this is the fact that around 70% of asthmatics also have allergies. When these allergies are triggered by airborne particulate matter, it can compound the severity of their respiratory distress, as well as lead to an increased number of asthma attacks.
With the number of positive diagnoses for asthma on the rise, indoor air quality is an increasing concern for commercial property managers. In a lot of urban indoor pollution can be potentially worse than outdoor pollution. Not to mention that a lot of common office appliances such as printers and fax machines slowly release pollutants into the air people breathe all day long.
Multi-Level HEPA Filtration To Reduce Indoor Air Pollution
One of the best ways to reduce the presence of these microscopic pollutants, airborne particulate matter, and allergens, is to use vacuum filtration systems with four levels. Each of these levels essentially works to sift out smaller and smaller-sized particles until virtually 99.9% of all particulates one micron in size or larger are removed from the indoor environment.
Outdated vacuum cleaners typically have two methods or levels of filtration, which are meant to help reduce the emissions created when vacuuming: the disposable bag and the filter system that has been designed into the vacuum cleaner.
Unfortunately, bag and filter media material can decrease emissions and increase air quality as well, leading to poor vacuum performance. At the same time, a traditional vacuum filter that becomes severely clogged can release bursts of dust, allergens, and particulate matter as the machine’s airflow strains to meet the demands put on the device.
HEPA Filters The New Industry Standard
Taking into account the increased incidence of “Sick Building Syndrome” linked to indoor air pollution, the majority of commercial property managers are ditching old fashioned two-stage vacuum cleaners with their messy bags and ineffective filtration in place of sealed HEPA 4 stage vacuum cleaning systems, like the ones used by Building Services Inc.
While these commercial-grade sealed HEPA vacuums might cost a little more than a traditional two-stage vacuum, they more than pay for themselves in the course of a single calendar year.
Not only do they tend to do a better job of cleaning carpets and hard floors, but the improvements in overall indoor air quality also lead to a reduction in sick days, employee absenteeism, and lower medical insurance costs. Not to mention insulating your commercial property against liability issues linked to Sick Building Syndrome.