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Residential Vacuums – Information

The right tool for the job: A residential vacuum cleaner is an extremely important tool to help keep the home environment healthy and clean:

Today, Miele – a 100+ year old German appliance manufacturer – arguably makes the finest canister and upright vacuum cleaners available. Other, first-quality vacuum cleaners are made by Lindhaus (Italian) and Sebo (German). Simplicity is made in the USA. Most other types of vacuums are made today in China (read “Hoover, Eureka, Dirt Devil”, etc.) and typically last only a few years.

  • The vacuum should clean efficiently. Proper cleaning is a result of the balance of three elements:
    • Vacuum power (normally measured in waterlift in inches). Waterlift is the “oomph” that digs & lifts dirt out of carpets, etc. e.g., high waterlift is needed to remove sludge (a heavy material) from a pit
    • Air movement (normally measured in cubic feet per minute – CFM). CFM is the mechanism whereby particles are carried back to the bag or dirt container; e.g., high CFM is needed to remove flour (a lightweight material) from a bare surface
    • Agitation. Agitation is provided by a specific cleaning tool. A dust brush provides a certain type of agitation by its bristles. A crevice tool provides a concentrated agitation by its hard end. A motorized carpet brush provides agitation by its spinning brushes, etc. A well-designed cleaning tool will always maximize airflow, suction & agitation
  • The vacuum should filter efficiently (filtering pollutants is as important as removing them.) Effective filtering can only be accomplished by:
    • A high quality micron or HEPA filter (or, ULPA; although an ULPA filter is a rarity on a home vacuum). Without a high quality filter the air exhausting from the vacuum will contain literally hundreds of millions of microscopic pollutants. These tiny pollutants will then be breathed into the deep lung passageways. This filter is normally the last filter in the vacuum to also catch the tens of thousands of carbon dust particles from the vacuum motor’s carbon brushes.
    • A sealed dirt system Without a sealed system the air pressure from the vacuum will force the (microscopic) pollutants being removed from the environment out of the dirt passageways or vacuum housings back into the indoor air environment In many instances these pollutants are so tiny they will transfer directly into the blood stream At best, the body has to labor to move them back up the lung passageways to be expelled out
  • The vacuum should be easy to use. Ease of use is largely a result of good design.
    • Weight plays a part in ease of use; but proper balance and mobility are more important
    • Flexibility in use is an important consideration; e.g., upright vacuums are popular with many; however: it is more difficult, in most instances, to effectively clean bare floors; cleaning stairs, cars and other places are usually impossible; frequently, a second, canister-type vacuum has to be purchased to accomplish these and like cleaning chores.
  • The vacuum should last as long as possible. This provides the best return on the investment dollar
    • The most cost-effective vacuum is rarely going to be the cheapest vacuum
    • The quality construction & engineering built into a better vacuum is going to result in a higher initial cost than a low-end machine
    • The vacuum should need as little repair as possible. Many vacuums are so poorly designed & constructed that the cost of repairs rapidly overtakes the purchase price. It is then more sensible to replace rather than repair the vacuum. In many/most instances such vacuums are replaced every several years. This becomes the most expensive way to buy vacuums. We call it “hundred-dollaring” (the “low” average cost of these units new ) yourself to death – i.e., $100 every several years results in $1,000 in vacuum expense in 20 years
  • It should be the proper vacuum for the job
    • A canister or an upright for the house proper. A canister generally offers the most cleaning power & the most flexibility. The low profile provides a good center of gravity for proper manuverability. Different cleaning accessories store on the canister & can instantly be installed onto the end of the hose or extension wand for different cleaning tasks If a power carpet nozzle is used, it is usually of a much lower profile than an upright enabling usage under lower furniture & beds. Bare floors are best cleaned with a bare floor brush specifically designed for that purpose – a standard tool on canister vacuums. The main vacuum motors are usually larger than those on uprights because the extra weight of the motor can be supported by the canister riding on the floor.
    • An upright is better for those who hate canisters. Most better uprights today actually clean like a canister – i.e., through a hose using a bypass system and a canister-style motor. This protects the motor. This allows for immediate use of cleaning accessories similar to as on a canister. Some uprights use two motors. This is an improved design in which the main motor provides the suction & airflow, while the second motor spins the revolving brush assembly. One particular two-motor upright allows for the spinning brush head to be removed with a push of a single button and a bare floor tool to be installed in its place. Miele today arguably makes the best upright and canister vacuum cleaners.
    • A commercial type shop vacuum for messy jobs. Wet pickup. Construction dust & debris.
    • A hand vacuum for quick, in-between vacuuming of spills & crumbs. Either, Cordless: Convenient – no plugging in to use. The better ones use sealed lead-acid batteries rather than nickel-cadmium batteries. Lead-acid batteries develop no memory – can be charged any time. Nickel-cadmium batteries quickly develop a “memory” which results in little usable run time. Lead-acid batteries typically provide much longer initial run times even before recharging/memory issues; or, Corded: More power. Less convenient as a result of the cord.
    • An electric broom for quick touch-ups before company comes, etc. Some have excellent filtration making them a better choice than simple dirt cup or cleanable filter models.

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