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RRPedia has been created by Shawn McCadden to help remodelers and others affected by the New EPA Renovation Repair and Painting Rule. 

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RRP HEPA Vac Options That Meet EPA Requirements

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Feb 07, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

RRP HEPA Vac Options That Meet EPA Requirements

The following information comes from the EPA RRP Info page of my web site.   It is included at the end of an article titled “Choosing The Proper Commercial/Industrial HEPA Vacuum Cleaner”, written by Barry Cohen, the owner at Absolute Air Cleaners, Air Purifiers, & Allergy Products

DRRP HEPA Vacisclaimer: This post is shared for informational purposes only.  I have no experience or any financial arrangement with these companies. 

These links were suggested by others in the industry as options to consider when searching for a HEPA vac.  Feel free to suggest additional sources and or suppliers of HEPA vacs to include on RRPedia.  If you are a renovator doing RRP work feel free to post a comment about your experience with a HEPA vac.

If you are a HEPA vac manufacturer and you would like me to try out and review your product feel free to contact me.   


All current Festool CT Dust Extractor models have been independently tested and certified to be FULL UNIT HEPA Dust Extractors. When you purchase a new Festool CT Dust Extractor, regardless of model, you will find a printed certificate in the box as well as labeling on the dust extractor documenting its Full Unit HEPA certification.

Nikro Industries Inc.

Nikro offers a complete line of critical filtered vacuums for use in removing asbestos, lead, toxic, and nuisance dusts or other applications were H.E.P.A. filtration is a must.

Dustless Technologies

One of the big advantages of the Dustless HEPA Wet/Dry Vacuum is the optional Micro Pre-filter that greatly extends the life of the HEPA filter. The Micro Pre-filter is an inexpensive disposable filter that captures the vast majority of the dirt and dust before it reaches the more expensive HEPA filter.

Industrial Vacuums

Industrial Vacuums has supplied vacuums to industry, contractors, home users, fire departments, and federal, state and local government agencies since 1992. 


Pullman-Holt HEPA Vacuums are designed for the efficient recovery of asbestos, lead, mold and many other hazardous materials. Each model meets or exceeds all EPA, OSHA and RRP filtration requirements.



Click here for other helpful RRPedia posts about HEPA Vacs


Topics: HEPA Vac Info, Production Considerations, Tools and Supplies

How to Safely Use a HEPA Vacuum and Change a Contaminated Bag

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 @ 01:09 PM

Hepa Vac


The EPA RRP Model Certified Lead Renovator Courses do not address one of the critical tasks for an renovation project:  How to use and maintain the HEPA vacuum.  But if a renovator gets this wrong, then HEPA may not help cleanup dust.  Worse, it could spread dust and cause contamination and poisoning. 


Some suggestions:

  • Cleaning:  If the filter - whether the HEPA filter or the prefilters - gets loaded down with dust and debris, the HEPA vacuum will not move enough air to properly and efficiently collect lead dust and lead debris from the renovation. The renovator must periodically clean the vacuum and replace the prefilter - and depending on the design - the HEPA filter. 

  • Sealing: Before you turn off a HEPA vacuum, you need to cover the end of the air intake home with tape or bag the beater bar.  If you don't do this, the dust and debris in the hose will fall out and recontaminate the workplace or be released in the truck or someone else's home.  When you need to use the vacuum, turn the vacuum on and then remove the tape or bag.  Remember, when the unit is turned off, the air intake openings must be sealed.

  • Training: When training workers consider the following:

    • Consider adding a demonstration about HEPA vacuum cleaning to the training.  Allow traineees to open up a HEPA vacuum and see how it works. 

    • Consider having the trainees practice with a new unused HEPA vacuum so you can observe and help them.  Make sure it has not been used and contaminated with lead. 

    • Watch the trainees during hands-on exercises to make sure they seal up the vacuum when it is turned off.  If they forget, dump the debris and dust on the cleaned up workplace for a great visual and have them reclean.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services developed this great two-page fact sheet on "How to Safely Change a Lead Contaminated HEPA Vacuum Bag." They use a common canister vacuum to show how to change the prefilter.

How to change a HEPA Vac bag 

change a hepa vac bag 

Use the following link to view and/or download the fact sheet to your computer: How to Safely Change a Lead Contaminated HEPA Vacuum Bag

Topics: HEPA Vac Info, Worker Training, Production Considerations, Work Practices, Personal Protection, Tools and Supplies

EPA RRP definition of a HEPA VAC and how to choose one

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Mon, Apr 19, 2010 @ 02:01 PM

Shop vacThe EPA has established a specific definition for a HEPA Vacuum under the EPA RRP Rule.  A Shop vac equipped with a HEPA filter will not satisfy the requirements of the RRP Rule.  Using the wrong vacuum for RRP work could subject you to a $37,500 fine per violation per day of use of the wrong vacuum. 


Here is the EPA definition of a HEPA vacuum taken from the rule itself:

Hepa vac"Final rule requirements. Vacuums used as part of the work practices being finalized in this final rule must be HEPA vacuums which are to be used and emptied in a manner that minimizes the reentry of lead into the workplace. The term "HEPA vacuum'' is defined as a vacuum which has been designed with a HEPA filter as the last filtration stage. A HEPA filter is a filter that is capable of capturing particles of 0.3 microns with 99.97% efficiency. The vacuum cleaner must be designed so that all the air drawn into the machine is expelled through the filter with none of the air leaking past it."

The rule also further specifies the use of a beater bar when vacuuming carpets or rugs during final cleaning. 

"After the sheeting has been removed from the work area, the entire area must be cleaned, including the adjacent surfaces that are within 2 feet of the work area. The walls, starting from the ceiling and working down to the floor, must be vacuumed with a HEPA vacuum or wiped with a damp cloth. This final rule requires that all remaining surfaces and objects in the work area, including floors, furniture and fixtures, be thoroughly vacuumed with a HEPA-equipped vacuum. When cleaning carpets, the HEPA vacuum must be equipped with a beater bar to aid in dislodging and collecting deep dust and lead from carpets. Where feasible, floor surfaces underneath area rugs must also be thoroughly vacuumed with a HEPA vacuum."

Renovators should think about the kind of work they do and related cleanup requirements before purchasing a HEPA vac.  It might even be wise to have more than one depending on the purpose it would be used for.  For example, a small HEPA vac might be easy to carry and adequate for small and or quick cleanups.  But, dragging a small vac with wheels around a large work area might be cumbersome and dragging it around through dust and debris might contaminate the vac.  On the other hand, a back pack style HEPA vac would be great for vacuuming the walls and or floors of a large work area.

Click here for an article about HEPA Vacuums, things to consider before purchasing one and some helpful links to manufacturers offering HEPA vacuums.

EPA Waffles on Which Vacuums Can Be Used to Clean Up Lead: This JLC article by Ted Cushman discusses challenges manufacturers are having verifying compliance of their HEPA vacs with the EPA requirements.  In addition to the high price tag that comes with a HEPA vac, these same challenges are also making it difficult for renovators trying to choose which vac to purchase.

Topics: HEPA Vac Info, Definitions, Tools and Supplies