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Reducing allergens in your home

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - I constantly vacuum and dust and my house still looks dusty. I buy expensive filters and change them monthly, I vacuum relentlessly, still I'm surrounded by dust, pollen and dirt.

"You can't filtrate what you don't pickup," said Charlie Lloyd, co-owner of Vac City in Bon Air.

For a filter to meet federal "HEPA" guidelines -- it has to capture at least 99.97 percent of airborne particles. But the machine you put it in does not.

"Once I stick this into that vacuum cleaner, if it's not sealed, you're going to get dust out even though it has a HEPA filter," he said.

If you see dust on the outside of your vacuum, it's not sealed. America does not have a vacuum testing standard, but Europe does.

It's called an S-Class and Charlie Lloyd only sells two vacuums that meet those standards.

"The best vacuum is going to have an airtight door, the bag in it is going to be a HEPA cloth bag instead of a paper bag, you're going to have a charcoal filter for the motor, the exhaust filter, sealed HEPA filter also," Lloyd added.

I thought my Dyson was in pretty good shape. I've taken I apart a cleaned it a few times, but there are parts of this vacuum I can't get to and what's underneath is shocking.

"And if you don't have this serviced yearly and get this cleaned out, it is really unhealthy for your family to breath," said Lloyd.

The next poor air quality culprit, the HVAC.

"We recommend putting these filters inside the house," said President of Ducts Unlimited Chas Clements, Jr.

When looking at one HVAC system, Clements noted the filter was too small for it.

"It's the wrong size filter. You got a lot of air bypassing this. You're getting dirt, see where it's been sucking in over the years. All this needs to be mastic and sealed," he said.

Clearing the drain line ensures water stays out of the unit. "Pour water down here and then go outside and make sure it's flowing freely. This will help prevent mold and mildew from entering your ductwork system," Clements said.

Both experts agreed that consumers should not waste their money on filtration systems.

They say the machines and replacement filters are expensive, they use a lot of electricity and tests have shown they do not remove the particles that cause asthma and allergies.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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