vacuuming cleaner in office cubicles with electrical cord

With so much focus on improving indoor air, BSCs definitely want a vacuum with a HEPA filter, says Trinks. He explains that this should be a True HEPA, which will retain 99.97 percent of all particulates down to and including 0.3 microns, or 300 nanometers. BSCs should look for ratings of H13 or H14, which capture microns as small as 0.2 microns and retain 99.95 or 99.995 percent of particulates, respectively.  

Another option is a True UPLA (Ultra-Low Penetration Air) filter. This filter (look for a rating of U15) will retain 99.999 percent of all particulates down to and including 0.12 microns, or 120 nano meters. Another plus is that these filters are independently third-party tested, says Trinks, adding this is normally done by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI).  

It's also important to choose the correct designation for the dust class present in the facility, particularly when it comes to hazardous dust. Dust falls into three categories, Trinks says. These are Class L, moderate-risk dust; Class M, medium-risk dust; and Class H, high-risk dust. 

When selecting vacuum equipment, BSCs should also factor in the types of areas and surfaces being cleaned and potential obstacles, suggests Sawchuk. For example, will staff be tasked with vacuuming elevators or stairs? Is the carpeting commercial low-pile, something plusher, or hard flooring? (For daytime cleaning he advises against sweeping or dust mopping these surfaces.) What about the soil load and type? And don’t overlook seasonal impacts on the carpeting or surfaces and how this may change what is required of the vacuum. Taking these factors into account will help BSCs begin to zero in on the best solution for the facility, amid the myriad options available.  

For example, there are corded or battery-operated vacuums to choose from. According to Sawchuk, cordless equipment is a better option for tight spaces, where outlets are not accessible and where tripping is a concern.   

Uselman encourages BSCs to review the benefits between backpack or upright vacuums with distributors. Backpacks can be more productive, he says, but there are times when an upright is called for. 

When it comes to deciding between bagless and bagged vacuums, Trinks leans toward bagged equipment. He comments that if a bagless vacuum isn’t working properly, there’s a higher chance of dispersing particulates back into the environment. The risk of opening up a bagless unit and inadvertently dispersing dust is also high.  

Robotic vacuums are also worth consideration. These could prove potentially useful in the face of labor shortages or for freeing up staff to perform other duties, says Sawchuk. With so many options and benefits to each, it’s likely that a BSC’s arsenal will consist of multiple types of vacuums in order to meet the cleaning requirements, labor capabilities and of course, budget.

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