As you may already know, we are in the midst of a big remodeling job around here. And remodeling means dust. Lots of it.
To try to combat the dust and keep as many toxins as possible from floating around and accumulating in our house, I decided to buy a vacuum with a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate-air. These specialty filters force air through a fine mesh and capture the very fine particles that are often missed (and blown around the house) by regular vacuum cleaner filters. They are popular for reducing allergens in the home but are also important for removing lead dust and other toxic particulates like PBDE's and other flame retardants.
Not wanting to spend all summer researching vacuums, I did some quick investigation and discovered that the most critical attribute for a HEPA filter vacuum is that it has a sealed filtration system. This ensures that all dust is forced through the filter instead of escaping through openings in the vacuum. I also learned that it is equally important to wet wipe and mop your house to really bust all that bad dust!
I ended up buying an Electrolux Nimble HEPA Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner. I got it at Target, on sale for $250 (from $299). It has sealed HEPA filtration system, with washable filters that minimize replacement costs and claim to capture 99.97% of dirt, dust, and allergens in your home. I have to wash the filter once a month but that's easy to do and much better than having to buy new filters and bags all the time.
Do you have a vacuum with HEPA filtration? How do you like it?