Interesting Facts About Vacuum Cleaners.

Interesting Facts About Vacuum Cleaners.

  • Most of the cleaning is actually accomplished by the brush system.
  • The primary job of the air flow is to transport the dirt to the containment system.
  • The secondary job of the air flow is to cool the motor.
  • High powered motors that produce very high volumes of air movement can cause particles to blow by the dirt transport path to the back of the floor nozzle housing, and escape capture.
  • In modern vacuums, the dirt path is through the hose and not through the fan chamber.
  • Most modern vacuums employ have filters in front of the motor, on the exhaust air vents, and in the motor compartment itself. All these filters require either cleaning or replacement.
  • Dirty filters can inhibit the free flow of air in the system and cause the motors’ operations to be compromised.
  • Dirty filters will cause dust to collect in the motor and be ejected into the room.
  • HEPA filters clogged with dust will inhibit air flow and cause the motor to overheat and possibly burn out.
  • A clogged HEPA filter will also create extra pressure on the seals and gaskets of the system and cause dust to be aerosolized into the vacuumed room through leaks in the seals and gaskets.
  • Filters in high wattage systems require more maintenance than those in lower power systems.

Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Vacuum!

Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Vacuum!

If you don’t want to pay for a bunch of marketing and a lot of “features” that don’t really help you clean your floors any better, you should buy it from a place that also fixes them. Nobody understands what makes a vacuum work like the people who actually have to repair and maintain them. That’s what we do here at the Vac Shop in Mayfield.

We’ve been fixing and selling vacuums for over decades and we’ve worked on just about every single make and model made in that time. We know our vacuums and we have some vacuum buying advice for you.

You need the right vacuum for the surfaces that you’re cleaning
There is no one size fits all when it comes to vacuums. What you’re vacuuming and how often you vacuum it matters when selecting a vacuum cleaner. Each vacuum has a range of applications that its best suited for performing. Most vacuums are made to work best on medium to low-cut pile carpet. Vacuums that can be fitted with different kinds of tools are the most versatile.

Suction alone does not clean carpet
You do not need a vacuum with more horsepower than a muscle car to get your carpet and floors clean. The bulk of the cleaning is accomplished by the brush roll which agitates the debris loose, and then the suction/air flow of the vacuum transports the debris to the collection chamber. Carpet requires a precise combination of brushing & agitation with airflow appropriate for the pile/nap of your carpeted surfaces.

Delicate Surface Should be Cleaned with Suction Only Tools
Fine hand made pieces, silks, cottons, wools or hook rugs that could be damaged by brushing or agitation at high speed or with stiff bristles should only be cleaned with a tool that only provides suction to avoid damaging the material. With the most delicate carpets and rugs you may only want to hand clean them because even a suction only tool may be too much for them.

All Vacuum Cleaners Require Maintenance
The promise of a maintenance free vacuum is purely marketing spin. All vacuum cleaners should be serviced once a year to keep them functioning at their best. A poorly maintained vacuum may not only be cleaning less effectively, it could also be kicking out airborne particles into the air that you’re breathing through leaky seals, gaskets, and filters. A properly maintained vacuum doesn’t just last longer. It cleans better.

No Really, you need to get your vacuum serviced
Too many vacuum operators do not realize that the belt on many inexpensive vacuums stretch with use and over time. When it does, the brush roll agitation is hampered and the unit cannot deep clean. Your vacuum works on dirty surfaces and dirt gets trapped in the filters, motors, foam mutes, all the moving parts, seals, and gaskets. The end result is the free flow of air is disrupted and clouds of particles are ejected into the air whenever you vacuum. A well maintained vacuum with a fresh brush roll, a new belt, and new filters will usually operate like it were new.

Don’t buy a bagless vacuum
Our experience is that vacuums that do not use disposable bags lose their dust management capabilities faster than vacuums that do use disposable bags. Bagless vacuums are less sanitary and require more frequent disposal of collected dirt and also require more frequent filter replacement or maintenance. Any money you save on buying vacuum bags you’ll quickly spend on replacing filters ahead of schedule and on service (if you can get it). We consider bagless vacuums to be so unsanitary that we refuse to use one in our own personal home .

If you have allergies, the wrong vacuum will make them worse
All vacuums tend to produce airborne dust.  The better vacuums do a better job of keeping the dust in, and the best vacuums do that well for a longer period of time than do the economy priced and department store versions.

The right vacuum cleaner for you will help your carpets last longer
A well maintained and properly matched vacuum cleaner for your cleaning needs will not only result in cleaner carpets and floors for you, it’ll also help you make your carpets last longer. Dirt and shampoo residue trapped in your carpet pile accelerate the wear and tear on your carpet.

Types of Vacuums?


Upright Vacuum

If you were to give a 4 year old a carton of crayons and paper and ask him or her to draw a “vacuum cleaner” he or she would draw a picture that would resemble an upright vacuum. This is a popular style in Australia,  These vacuums are pushed in front of the user and have a handle extending from the main body. Most have a spinning brush roll, and many have onboard tools for cleaning upholstery, stairs or hard to reach areas.

Canister Vacuum

This type of vacuum is usually identified with its long hose and separate motor and filtering unit, usually rectangular or oval shaped, and wheels that allow it to be pulled behind the user. Canister vacuums come with several types of nozzles. One type is a “straight suction,” usually a combination floor/rug tool. This type has no brush roll and is used primarily for hard style floors and/or throw rugs. Some canisters are fitted with a “turbo brush,” which is driven by the power and speed of the air moving through the nozzle much like the action of a windmill. No electric motor is present in these types of heads. Many canister vacuums are equipped with a “powerhead.” These heads are driven by a separate electric motor (separate from the motor inside the canister housing) and are used where thicker carpets are in place. Most “powerheads” have a switch that can be turned “off” so that hard floors can be cleaned with the same head. This is the most versatile of vacuum types as it can accomplish nearly all household vacuuming jobs (not suitable for wet/dry applications).

Central or Ducted  Vacuum System

This type of vacuum system is typically mounted in the basement or garage and has 1 or 2 larger and more powerful motors. These systems have the air routed through the walls via PVC pipe and wall outlets with a 30’ long hose inserted into the vacuum inside the house. Some systems use a “turbo” brush and others permit the use of a separate “powerhead” to provide the same cleaning performance as upright or canister type vacuums. With this type of system, the dirt and allergens are exhausted outside of the house. Some people do not like having to hang or store the 30’ hose and powerhead.

Handheld Vacuum

These are small vacuums that are used for small or quick jobs around the home. They can be made with an electrical cord that must be plugged in or may be “cordless” with a rechargeable battery.

Steam Vacuum

This type of vacuum is a misnomer, as these carpet cleaning systems do not actually produce steam. However, this is the label that has typically been applied to these types of cleaners. They are more correctly household “extractors.” In most cases, these cleaners inject carpet cleaning solution into the carpet through one or more jets, the solution is agitated by the use of a brush to loosen the embedded dirt in the carpet and then a vacuum motor “extracts” the dirt and water based solution and deposits it inside an internal tank in the unit where it can then be emptied.

Stick Vacuums

Stick vacuums are usually small and lightweight in their design. They have a long handle and can have an electrical cord or can be powered by a rechargeable battery. They are used primarily for small areas or for quick pick ups.

Backpack/Hip Vacuum

Vacuums of this style are very portable and are carried on the back with a shoulder or waist harness for equal weight distribution. They are quite powerful and are used mostly in commercial applications as they can do a wide variety of jobs. These types of vacuums can be used with a turbo brush or a powerhead (the vacuum must be manufactured or retrofitted with an appropriate plug for use with a powerhead).

Wet/Dry Vacuums

These vacuums are used for a variety of industrial or heavy duty jobs. The vacuums can be used to pick up water or wet solutions as well as large particles of a dry nature. Some wet/dry vacuums have multiple motors for additional power, and some can be fitted with a squeegee to funnel water or wet material into them more easily. Some units may be fitted with advanced HEPA filtration when being used for hazardous material cleanup. They come in a variety of sizes—from a few litres to those that can be fitted to a large barrel.

Carpet Sweeper

Although technically this is not a vacuum as it has no motor to create air flow, we include it as another means of cleaning your floors. Many of you have seen these in use at restaurants. During the time when patrons are eating, it is not desirable to turn on a vacuum cleaner and have the noise and the potential churning up of a lot of airborne dust. This mechanical device utilizes a brush, or rubber vanes, to sweep particles on top of floors or carpets, and brush them into a holding compartment to be emptied later.

What is a HEPA Filter?

What is a HEPA Filter?


HEPA is not a material. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresting) is a standard of filtration. Specifically the standard requires that (99.97%  of all particulate as large  as .3 microns is trapped within the filter. The designation of HEPA is awarded by certified testing laboratories. There is nothing however in the rules that defines how long the filter must retain that efficiency. Neither are they rules that define under what rate of air flow the filter must perform.

vacuum manufacturers routinely have their filters performance tested at 55–60cfm (cubic feet of air per minute) and then install the filters in vacuum cleaners that move air at upwards of 75 to 100 cfm. That is not against the rules in the United States. There are also no rules to define the type and effectiveness of the sealing the filters have in the systems that they’re installed into. Consequently, even when you have a HEPA filter that’s every bit as good as advertised, leaky seals and gaskets can result in your vacuum cleaner aerosolizing allergens, microbes, and other particles into the air you’re breathing.

In contrast, HEPA standards Europe apply to the entire system and not just to the filter. European HEPA standards have teeth and they’re enforced by European Common Market. The European standard is known as EN (European Norm) 1822.

If you are buying a vacuum with a HEPA filter because you or someone at home is highly reactive to airborne allergens, be sure you are buying one made to the European Norm (EN 1822). Many vacuums produced by American companies fail to meet the more aggressive European standards and are aggressively marketed with special features to distract your attention from the lower quality of their filtration systems.

Here are some examples of vacuums that are sold more on marketing power than on technical merit.

Bagless Vacuums
Based on our experience in repairing vacuums, we are convinced that bagless vacuum systems do not age well and may make allergies worse as they get older. HEPA filters installed in bagless systems become occluded with dust and microscopically small particulate quickly, and to compensate for their clogged condition the vacuum leaks exhaust air.

Super Powerful Motors
A well designed vacuum cleaner only needs so much suction to clean effectively. More does not mean better and having too much suction in a poorly engineered vacuum will only degrade the unit’s HEPA filter and its seals and gaskets even faster.

All-In-One Systems
All vacuums are designed for a targeted flooring surface. The wrong vacuum design will make the allergic response conditions and the hygiene of the home worse. Your vacuum should be able to employ a variety of cleaning heads for a wider selection of vacuum surfaces. For example, a cleaning head with a brush roll may be great for carpets, but you wouldn’t want it on a hard wood surface where it’ll kick dust and debris around.

Want to see the difference between a properly sealed HEPA filter vs. the leaky filter found in your typical department store brand vacuums?