Thread Number: 43789  /  Tag: Brand New Vacuum Cleaners
Does A HEPA bag = HEPA filtration?
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Post# 456952   9/21/2022 at 17:51 by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

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Hey - I know lots and lots of vacuums use HEPA bags but in addition to that they have a HEPA filter (often sealed)...what I'm wondering is...what if a vacuum uses a HEPA bag but does not have a HEPA filter? Is the result going to be the same since practically nothing escapes those HEPA bags?

Sorry if this has been discussed before

Post# 456954 , Reply# 1   9/21/2022 at 19:49 by vacuumdevil (Vacuum Hell )        

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Yes according to many manufacturers.
However I wouldn't consider that a "sealed system".

However if we're talking about a vintage maybe not so since a lot of them do leak air. However if you washed out your machine and install a HEPA bag with a gasket, I wouldn't be worried about air quality with it.

Post# 456955 , Reply# 2   9/21/2022 at 21:05 by Durango159 (State College, PA)        

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A HEPA post motor filter is a great feature to have as it captures emissions from the motor. The carbon brushes from the motor put out a lot. It also captures anything that got around or missed the bag or if there was a hole in the bag. It's nice to have a final filter

Post# 456961 , Reply# 3   9/22/2022 at 05:21 by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

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A lot depends on the quality and price point of said materials. Henry has some really good HEPA bags but the price you pay for those is steep. Kirby's HEPA bags are also good and a bit cheaper. Some HEPA bags can leak dust which gets caught by the HEPA filter. No amount of filters can totally make a vacuum dust-free and most of it is just marketing (remember what Fantom did with their gloating about HEPA filtration?)

I have a HEPA bag and a HEPA filter in my Shop Vac and it's set up for dry pickup. I can't speak for the exhaust air, and it seems to make the motor run hotter trying to get through those filter materials (they really weren't designed to be a dry vac primarily), but I will say the inside of it is about the cleanest ShopVac you'd ever find. And yes some debris did punch through the bag unknowingly and the filter picked up most of the leaking dirt.

Post# 456962 , Reply# 4   9/22/2022 at 05:50 by wstonehockertv (North Carolina)        

HEPA cloth bags are also ideal for direct-air machines.

Post# 456963 , Reply# 5   9/22/2022 at 07:44 by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

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Vac devil...

what do you mean leaking air of vintage machines? If you used a HEPA bag where would the air leak if it's going into a HEPA bag...

also... I totally didn't even think about motor emissions...Carbon dust.... etc.

Post# 456970 , Reply# 6   9/22/2022 at 12:03 by dysonman1 (the county)        

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The carbon emissions is nothing to worry about. Your blender and mixer exhaust them onto your counter. I use many vintage vacuums at my home, I have a HEPA bag for all the ones I can. HEPA Eureka F & G bags are wonderful for the vintage machines. I use HEPA type C bags in my old Model G Electrolux. There's no smell of dust. I have HEPA bags for my Compact and TriStar machines as well. Even my very old Air-Ways have HEPA bags I made for them.

Post# 456971 , Reply# 7   9/22/2022 at 12:40 by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

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Hey Dysonman...that's true. I did not think of that. Then when you said that it hit me that power nozzles on canister vacuums have their own motor but they do not have filters on them.. LOL

Post# 456978 , Reply# 8   9/22/2022 at 15:03 by kirbylux77 (London, Ontario, Canada)        

kirbylux77's profile picture
Not necessarily. HEPA Cloth bags are usually rated for the HEPA H11 Filtration Standard. And that's for most OEM bags with the vacuum manufacturer's name on it. Generic HEPA Cloth bags work well too, but aren't quite as efficient. If you look at VacLab's tests on YouTube of the Clean Fairy brand Kirby HEPA Cloth bags vs the OEM Kirby HEPA Cloth bags, that illustrates it well the difference in filtration between OEM and generic.

I think HEPA H11 is most efficient in capturing particles down to 1.0 micron if I remember correctly? Whereas HEPA H12, non washable HEPA filters, and HEPA H13, washable HEPA filters, filter down to 0.3 microns according to the EN1822 standard. HEPA H15 is the latest revision to the EN1822 standard, rated to capture down to 0.1 microns. ULPA Filters, such as offered by Nilfisk and Fakir, also capture particles down to 0.1 microns. So while your OEM HEPA Cloth bags will capture most large and fine dust particulate, it will not capture ultra-fine particulate such as bacteria, smoke and odour particles. That's why most vac shops and manufacturers recommend the use of a vacuum with a HEPA Cloth bag and a HEPA Filter in a sealed system for allergy sufferers.

About older vacuums - What Alex, Vacuumdevil, means is that ya sure you can add a HEPA Cloth bag to a older vacuum, BUT the vacuum itself may not be entirely sealed before the bag. A Hoover Elite is a perfect can put a HEPA Cloth A bag in with a gasket on the bag, but the tube that carries the dirty air up into the bag, where it attaches to the motor isn't perfectly sealed. So yes the air will be cleaner for sure, but you won't be getting the best possible results if the entire air path before the bag isn't entirely sealed, and if you can you should make a effort to seal it up first before adding a HEPA Cloth bag. This is mainly a problem for older direct air vacuums, though, not clean air uprights and canisters.

If somebody comes to me looking for a recommendation for a sealed HEPA vacuum for allergy sufferers, or they are looking to buy one from me and they mention they have allergies, I first find out what vacuum they have, it's condition and if it can be repaired. If it is in good shape or repairs done for reasonable cost, I always suggest to people to first try using a HEPA Cloth bag in their vacuum and see if that helps with their allergies. Then if it doesn't, then they can go ahead and buy a sealed HEPA vacuum with a HEPA Filter on the exhaust and sell the old one. For most people, using a HEPA Cloth bag will be enough filtration. However, for some people, they do need the benefits a sealed HEPA vacuum can provide. I also tell people who use a sealed HEPA vacuum not to worry about the quality of the HEPA Cloth bag and just use the cheapest ones they can find, it's not so important if the vacuum has a HEPA Filter on the exhaust.


Post# 456985 , Reply# 9   9/22/2022 at 19:22 by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

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Hey Rob... thanks for that a vintage vacuum can stir up dust because the airpath where the dirt is being sucked up may not be perfectly sealed...I guess sort of creating some airborne dust as it's vacuuming it? Makes sense...

Post# 456986 , Reply# 10   9/22/2022 at 21:02 by dylanmitchell (San Diego)        

How different is standard Henry with Numatic HEPA-Flow bags and tritex tub filter vs. the Allergy version with added post motor filter? I prefer the Sebo style S class filtration to HEPA.

Post# 457002 , Reply# 11   9/23/2022 at 12:13 by Rolls_rapide (-)        
Hepa bags dust retention

I have a Sebo upright with those genuine Sebo triple layer synthetic fleece bags, and I'm really not impressed with the performance of them. They don't have enough filtration layers.

I find that fine dust, just general house dust, can and does pass right through them, depositing on the rear wall of the bag compartment. The bag door, seals, pivoting latch assembly, bag fill tube and seal are all in fine condition - and the latch/bag collar hasn't been moved/opened whilst the cleaner has been operating.

Also, cut/trimmed hair does too, giving the exterior of the bag a spiky appearance. I wonder whether the older paper bags would be more robust.

Post# 457005 , Reply# 12   9/23/2022 at 13:43 by Thevacomaticiec (Bathurst New Brunswick Canada )        

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i also have hepa filter on my Shopvac and a bag it does have a bit of heat but i was sucking the water from my washing machine when it quit but usually the bag and filter do allow proper air flow .

Post# 457010 , Reply# 13   9/23/2022 at 15:54 by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

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On my cirrus - using the genuine Cirrus HEPA bags (which to me don't feel horribly thick) but they are really good. I see no dust at all in any part of the bag chamber..the bag chamber door..etc... The way the bags are inserted are tricky..I have to lay the vacuum on its back and carefully push hard so that the bag goes all the way to the back of the fill tube...

I hate paper vacuum bags with one exception...the Electrolux 4 ply paper bags seem really good for being paper. In my epic 6500 there's hardly anything in the bag chamber wiping with a white cloth..the ONLY reason I'm still using those is I keep my epic in my laundry room for dryer lint and keeping the laundry room clean after I've done laundry and years ago on Ebay I bought a box of 100 of them for like $39.95 and I still have a lot of them left...One thing that I do notice with those is they lose airflow pretty quickly as the bag fills...but even still it's useable for a long time for what I use it for.

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