Originally Posted by CatskillMtnMama
I have been trying to find a true HEPA filter VAC but unable to get a strong recommendation from anyone. How did you settle on a Nilfisk? Does it have a truly sealed cannister? Where are you going to get it?
I think someone recommended a Miele but I don't know if it has the blow-by problem or the air is all forced through the HEPA filter.
Thanks so much. Yes, we are ready to pay that amount, too.
Thanks for all your other info.
OK, I finally have more info on the Nilfisk. I emailed the company directly and asked a few questions, specifically stating that I had an old home with some lead issues, and asked if the vac would be safe for household use as well as final type cleanup on small renovations/vacuuming paint chips out of my windowsills, etc. An employee emailed back--here's the text of her message:Thank you for your inquiry. The Family Vac will absolutely work for
> all of your applications. In fact, your applications sound like a
> description of a week of my personal vacuum's life. I have a child
> with allergies and asthma, two cats and an old house that is in a
> constant state of renovation. Although I don't have the Family Vac, I
> have had it's predecessor for more than 15 years.
> Our largest dealer for the Family Vac is Aller-caire. Their phone
> number is 800-547-8095. Because they purchase in volume, they offer
> great prices. They are very helpful and will work with you.
She also sent me the specifications sheet for it. (I want to add that the company does not advertise it specifically for lead removal, and she was cautious about saying that it should be used that way, but my gut feeling is that stating that is a liability issue and that she personally felt comfortable with it, if that makes any sense.)
Today I called her for more info and asked a few more questions. The Nilfisk vacuum is definitely sealed--all air must go through the filters before exiting the machine. It has 3 'filters', the first is a paper bag, which collects the large particles and debris. The second is a cotton filter which fits inside the lid and supposedly lasts 'for ever'--like 2000 hours. Behind that is the HEPA filter, which is supposed to be replaced once every other year, I think (thought I wrote that down, but I can't find it now). The woman from Nilfisk said that the filters they use for this vacuum are the exact same filters
that are used in some of their commercial vacuums that lead abatement contractors and other 'clean room' type people use. I didn't specifically ask, but I assume the difference is in the power and size of the vac, and the attachments needed for a household use as opposed to commercial use.
So I called Aller-caire and ended up buying it today. After looking around on the web for comparison pricing, their price was definitely the best at $470 plus $15 shipping for the vac, 5 bags, crevice, upholstery and brush tools, wand and hose. I bought an extra pack of bags for additional $15. The sales person there said the basic floor tool would work for my home because we have no carpet, just wood floors with a few area rugs. That floor tool has two settings with a switch--brushes for the area rugs or plain for the wood floors. They also sell 2 power nozzels which are extra if you have a lot of carpet to vac.
Anyhow, that's a lot..whew! I also have a few details about emptying the bag and cleaning the cotton filter for anyone who wants more info, and I can dig up the PDF file with the specs if you want those as well. Feel free to PM or email me for more info!