When pollen, dust and other particulates invisible to the naked eye enter a building, they lead to poor indoor air quality and may trigger allergy and asthma symptoms in building occupants. Cleaning professionals can improve their facilities’ IAQ with vacuums equipped with the appropriate filters.

Many different filter types exist to help prevent poor IAQ. High-efficiency filters capture particles down to 1 micron in size. For routine carpet care in commercial facilities, these filters should be sufficient because they remove hair, dust mites, pollen and pet dander — particles found in typical office environments.

However, many facilities, especially hospitals and other healthcare facilities want filters to capture even more particles. HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, filters offer a minimum particle collection efficiency of 99.97 percent at 0.3 microns and capture bacteria, yeast and mold.

ULPA or ultra-low-penetration air collect particles at an efficiency of 99.99 percent at 0.1 to 0.2 microns, including viruses and tobacco smoke.