What is a HEPA filter?
High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA).
To qualify as HEPA by US government standards, an air filter must remove 99.97% of particles that have a size of 0.3 microns. Soot and ash from burning wood can range from 2 to 3 microns or larger. Currently the most efficient way to eliminate particles of this size is the use of a HEPA filtration system.
HEPA filtration technology is currently the only type of air purification tool recommended by the U.S. Government’s Department of Homeland Security.
Why is it so important to have a HEPA filter in your ash vacuum?
Well, the main reason for using this technology is to better filter the air that blows out the exhaust of your vacuum. Ash and soot particles in particular are very small and can pass through the filtration system of most cleaners. This leads to smells and a covering of dust around the home. There are also health implications.
There is a definite health benefit to using a cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. Asthma and Allergy sufferers benefit from breathing cleaner air devoid of mite faeces and fine particles such as pollen and dust. These particulates can and do trigger allergy and asthma episodes. Everyone benefits from cleaner air and not blowing dust into your home while cleaning the stove or hearth is to be desired.
Sometimes the HEPA filter is “grade” only so if you have allergies or are asthmatic you should go for an ash vacuum with a true HEPA filter.
Types of HEPA filter
For a HEPA filter in a vacuum cleaner to be effective, the vacuum cleaner must be designed so that all the air which is drawn into the machine is expelled through the HEPA filter. None of the air bypasses the filter. This is often referred to as "Sealed HEPA" or "True HEPA."
These cleaners have HEPA filters but to keep the suction high they compromise on filtration and not all the air passes through the filter.
Finally, vacuum cleaner filters marketed this way will typically use a filter of a similar construction to HEPA, but without the filtering efficiency. Because of the extra density of a HEPA filter, HEPA vacuum cleaners require more powerful motors to provide adequate cleaning power.
You can usually clean a HEPA filter by just shaking or tapping it a few times over a trash can. Don’t use any tools such as a screwdriver or knife as you can easily damage the filter. Also when cleaning the filter don’t forget to avoid windy areas otherwise you and everything around you will be covered in a cloud of dust!
If the filter needs a more thorough cleaning compressed air may be used and it may be washed using the following procedure.
Turn the power off and for your own safety unplug the electrical cord from the power supply. You can now unclip and open the lid. Remove the filter from the vacuum.
Rinse your filter under warm water or simply wash in a bucket of warm water and dish liquid.
Allow your filter to dry out. Remember to not expose it to sunlight.
Once it’s dry replace it back in your ash vacuum.
If you have read all the way here to the bottom have a beer or a glass of wine and put your feet up until the stove needs
cleaning again ; )
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