Importance of Good Vacuum Cleaner Bag Filtration
When it's down to vacuum cleaner performance, people often look primarily at the cleaner's suction motor power and the quantity brush roll bristles and although these are important factors, it is the size and quality of the vacuum dust bag which are often overlooked.
The quality of the dust bag's filter paper/media affects its ability to retain fine dust and allergens as well as allowing air to flow through it easily. The dust bag size will also affect how easily the air flows through it. Good bag quality is very important and care needs to be taken to always replace it with an equally high quality bag in order that good vacuum cleaner performance is maintained.
Although some standard vacuum cleaner bags are still being marketed, the vacuum cleaner industry has developed several high filtration bags specially designed for people with dust related issues. We recommended these for most vacuum cleaners with motors rated at 10 amp or higher. High filtration bags generally consist of several layers of special filter paper/media in order to increase filtering efficiency.
Manufacturers of vacuum cleaners give these dust bags special names, e.g. "HiClean" (Miele), "Filteraire" & "Premium" (Eureka) and "Allergen Filtration" (Hoover). Some makers of generic dust bags also produce very high filtration bags like "Micro-Lined" (DVC) and "Filtrete" by 3M filtration products.
Deciding what is the actual filtration efficiency of dust bags can quickly become a frustrating experience. Although some manufacturers do provide complete specifications, many others simply express it simply in terms of efficiency percentage or particle size.
Statements such as "retains dust down to 0.1 microns in size" can be misleading because the actual percentage retained at that size could be quite low. Some manufacturers just state a percentage on the package as the "down to", but that also doesn't state the actual efficiency percentage at the particle size stated. If you suffer from dust related allergies it's recommended to use a high filtration bag together with a certified HEPA exhaust filter in a completely sealed system.
Dust bag quality can have a significant impact on the flow of air through the system. Although the bag's filter media must be able to stop allergens and fine dust, it should give the least amount of air resistance as possible. The dust bag's resistance is inversely proportional to the filter media's total area.
So doubling the area of a bag's surface will reduce the total resistance to air flow by half. Consequently, if two different size bags are made of the same quality filter media, the bigger one will enhance the cleaning performance by making air flow easier. Well designed high filtration bags not only filter air better but often improve the air-flow because the multi-layer construction reduces the amount of clogging of the tiny holes (pores) through which the air passes.
In the vacuum cleaner industry numerous generic bags, filters, belts and brushes are available but no official standards have been laid down which manufacturers must follow. Although generic dust bags may be high quality, some of them fall far short when looking at performance and durability. There are significant differences in the quality and construction of filter media used when making disposable filters and bags.
Some filter media won't permit air to easily flow through it and consequently cleaning performance is reduced - especially as the bag begins to fill up. Other filters are just not strong enough to prevent bursting and therefore create an unwanted mess in the bag chamber. When thinking about buying a set of generic dust bags instead of those sold by the vacuum cleaner manufacturer, you usually can't tell if it will give you the best performance.
So we tend to recommend dust bags sold by the original vacuum cleaner manufacturer - that way you can be confident you are receiving and using a good quality bag. These bags are often marked with the manufacturer's logo and words like "Genuine Filter Paper" or "To Fit Hoover".
Some dealers offer generic dust bags free of charge or as an option when you buy a new vacuum cleaner. While such offers may seem promising, be aware of a potential problem - the use of generic bags usually voids any manufacturer's warranty.
A high quality vacuum cleaner dust bag is important but it isn't the only critical performance factor. Other important factors are the effects of brushing action, air flow through the cleaner, the filtration efficiency and suction motor power.
When selecting a vacuum cleaner you also need to find out about durable designs and construction and how to match your tasks with your cleaning style. A knowledgeable vacuum cleaner sales person can help you determine which vacuum cleaner will work best for you and your particular cleaning situation. They'll be happy to discuss with you regarding your various vacuum cleaner needs and preferences.
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