Vacuum Cleaner Bag Specifications
When comparing vacuum cleaner bag specifications, it is essential to compare the filtration efficiency between vacuum bag types. So it's especially important to check out the particle sizes filtered out and the air speed of the particles as they impact the bag's filter media. For example, smaller particles of say 0.3 microns in size are more difficult to filter than larger ones of 0.5 micron size.
The slower the particle velocity when it hits the filter media, the easier it is for the media to filter. When performing vacuum cleaner bag tests, a velocity of 30-FPM or 60-SCFM best represents the operating speed of a vacuum cleaner. To achieve a healthy environment, look at the filtration efficiencies in the range of 0.3 to 1.5 microns because these are the most harmful to health.
High quality vacuum cleaners and vacuum cleaner bags are very often recommended to patients suffering from allergies as a way of reducing indoor allergen exposure. Quite a number of vacuum cleaners in today's market claim to capture 99.9% of particles size 0.3µm or larger entering the vacuum cleaner and many vacuum cleaner bags are now sold as micro-filtration bags.
Vacuum cleaners have been tested in an 18 cubic metre laboratory area containing dust with high levels of cat allergen, using techniques similar to those described. Air was used with filters together with a particle counter. Vacuum cleaner bags were tested using a modified dust trap in order to pull sieved house dust across the material used for the bag. Allergen passing through the bag was trapped on a filter covering the trap exit and was analyzed. The results generally showed that vacuum cleaners designed for allergic patients leaked lower amounts of allergen than found in earlier studies.
In general, single layer vacuum cleaner bags performed poorly compared with most of the 2 and 3 layered micro-filtration bags. The range of allergen recovered from the 2 layered bags highlighted the variability found between manufacturers. The results suggest that although allergen leakage was reduced, there remains space for improvement.
Vacuum cleaners are of cours an essential part of home cleaning and it's the primary method for cleaning wall-to-wall carpeting. But the use of vacuum cleaners can significantly increase the quantity of airborne cat and mite allergens.
Previous evidence suggested that proper filtration systems could control the allergen release and many vacuum cleaner manufacturers now claim that their appliaqnces minimize allergen exposure.
More recently its been suggested that vacuum cleaners could be evaluated using airborne particle counts instead of measuring specific allergen levels. There have been earlier experiments when vacuum cleaners were tested for their power to limit cat allergen dispersal. Also investigated have been the release of particles from vacuum cleaners so that the allergen trapping characteristics of different vacuum cleaner bags have been evaluated using a system developed for testing barrier fabrics.
Tests have been conducted in a clean, 18m3 laboratory room with blocked air vents in order to eliminate air exchange. Airborne allergen levels were determined using 2 parallel filters placed inside the room at a height of 24" from the floor and connected to a vacuum pump set to 18L per minute for each of the 2 filters.
A laser particle counter was run at the same time as the filters and swabs were taken from the 4 walls before the testing started in order to ensure no room contamination. The vacuum cleaners were cleaned between tests and new replaceable filters were used for each test. House dust obtained from vacuum cleaner bags containing a known amount of fel d1 was sieved through a 300µm screen and weighed into 36g aliquots containing about 40mg of fel d1.
Background values were determined by taking samples of the air inside the room without a vacuum cleaner present for 30 minutes and then sampling the air inside the room with the vacuum cleaner turned on for 30 minutes with no dust added. The vacuum cleaner was then switched off and removed from the room. One 36g aliquot of sieved house dust was added to the vacuum cleaner by using the flexible hose attachment. The vacuum cleaner was placed inside the room where it was run for 15 minutes and then switched off. Air sampling was performed while the cleaner was running and then continued for an additional 15 minutes for a total time of 30 minutes.
After sampling completion the parallel filters were removed, folded and placed in separate 3ml syringes. 1ml of 1% BSA in PBS-Tween 20 was added to each syringe and the samples were rotated overnight at 4 degrees centigrade. Extracts were recovered by dispensing the contents of each syringe into separate 2.0ml vials.
Results from the filters ranged from 0.23 ng/ml to 5.6 ng/ml. These results were multiplied by the extraction volume and reported as nanograms per cubic meters. The correlation between the parallel filters was high r=0.97, P<.001. The results for individual filters were ±23% of the mean values.
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