Vacuum cleaners F.A.Q
How does a vacuum cleaner work?
Before you can understand how an everyday vacuum cleaner works, it’s important to learn a few basic concepts. There is a reason why vacuum cleaners have the word ‘vacuum’ in them. When air gets drawn out from a space it creates a low-pressure system or a partial vacuum. When that happens, air from the outside tries to rush into and fill that low-pressure space. We see it all the time. If you suck out the air from a disposable plastic bottle, the walls of the bottle crumble inward. That’s just the air from the atmosphere attempting to balance the pressure difference. Now, what if there is a single opening from where air can get in? That’s exactly what happens when you use a drinking straw to sip on a soda. By sucking out the air from the tube of the straw you create a negative pressure. The air from outside attempts to fill the straw tube and in the process it pushes the liquid upward.
Imagine the vacuum cleaner as a giant drinking straw and its motor is the mouth that’s sucking the air out. Much like an exhaust fan, the electric fan sucks the air out. The negative pressure created forces air from the atmosphere into the cleaner tube. The rush of inward flowing air picks up dust and debris. The air is then passed through a filter, which acts as a fine strainer. The filter allows the air to flow out while trapping the dirt particles.
What is the beater bar on a vacuum cleaner?
A beater bar is a rotating brush that’s attached in front of the intake spout from where the air gets sucked in. The bristles of the brush go deep within the carpet fibers to drive out the dust particles trapped within. The inward rotation of the brush helps in directing the agitated dust particles towards the suction spout. Different companies use different names to describe the beater bar technology. Dyson calls it a Motorized Cleaner Head while Shark describes it as the DuoClean technology. While there are subtle differences between the two, the core technology remains the same. Beater bars often have rotation speeds of up to 6500rpm. This means the bristles of the bar get worn out following regular usage. This is why when buying a cleaner with a beater bar consider the cost of replacing the bar once every year.
If you have a home with carpets, then buying a beater bar vacuum cleaner is almost a no-brainer. The beater bar is also ideal for people with pets as the bristles help pick up hair from stubborn surfaces. However, you should know that beater bars are not suited to clean hardwood floors. In fact, in some cases, the rotating bristles can damage hardwood flooring and polished surfaces.
Are bagless vacuum cleaners better?
When pitting bagless vacuum cleaners against bagged units there are no clear winners. Each vacuum cleaner type comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, the question really should be whether bagless vacuum cleaners are suited for you? Before we discuss what each vacuum cleaner type brings to the table, let’s first understand the core difference between the two.
Like the name suggests, bagged vacuum cleaners have a disposable bag to contain the dirt and debris. When the bag is full, you would need to take out the bag and throw it away. Bagless vacuum cleaners, on the other hand, do not contain bags. They instead come with a plastic container to store the dirt. Also known as dust cup or dust tank, these container needs to be detached and cleaned.
People who have bagged vacuum cleaners have to incur the recurring cost of buying disposable bags. If you have an average-sized home, then you would probably need one bag per month. However, clearing out the dust from a bagged cleaner is much easier. All you need to do is take out the bag and throw it away. This is a great solution for people who e.g. have allergies and don’t want to come in direct contact with the dirt.
Bagless vacuum cleaner users save on the cost that would otherwise be spent on buying disposable bags. However, cleaning the dust tank can be a bit of a chore. Dirt with high moisture content could stick to the walls of the tank. There is also the risk of spillage when emptying the dirt cup over a dustbin. Bagless vacuum cleaners are more popular than bagged cleaners in US. However, it’s really up to the individual customers to decide which one is suited for their needs.
How do you deodorize a vacuum cleaner?
Vacuum cleaners can become smelly for a number of reasons ranging from dirty filters and bags to unclean hoses and attachments.
Reasons for a smelly vacuum cleaner:
- dirty container
- dirty filters
- dirty hose
- dirty attachments
If you have a bagged vacuum cleaner that’s spewing a foul odor in your home, then the first thing you need to do is replace the bag with a fresh one. For bagless vacuum cleaners, the first deodorizing step is to empty the dirt cup and possibly wipe the inner walls with a dry microfiber cloth.
The next step is to clean the filters. Most vacuum cleaners have two filters. Depending on the type of the filters, they either need to be cleaned or replaced. Foam and felt filters, which are usually fitted in most cordless Shark models need to be washed in warm water, air dried and refitted. If you have a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, then you need to detach the filter and check for a typical musky smell. If it’s a positive on the smell, then it’s time to replace the filter with a new one. For reference, most HEPA filters fitted in vacuum cleaners typically need to be replaced every couple of years.
Once your vacuum’s dirt container and filters are clean, you need to make sure the attachments and hose are free from dirt. Some vacuum cleaner hoses need to be submerged in warm soapy water while others need to be cleaned using a thin broom. We suggest checking the product manual for detailed instructions.
The final step towards an odor-free vacuum cleaner is cleaning the attachments. We found that spraying warm soapy water and wiping the attachments clean using a dry cloth is pretty effective. If you are especially sensitive to bad odors, then you should know that you can use your vacuum cleaner as a room freshener. Vacuum air fresheners are a type of product that adds a beautiful scent to the air passing through the vacuum. The fragrant air gets spread around the house as and when you use the cleaner.
How is vacuum cleaner suction measured?
When describing the suction power of their products, different companies stress on different measurements. Shark, for example, stay clear from releasing any suction measurements. They simply release the wattage and amperage ratings of their vacuum cleaner models. Dyson, on the other hand, stresses on the Air Watts specifications. However, none of these ratings are indicative of the true suction power of a particular model.
If you want to know the suction power of a vacuum cleaner then the unit you should be interested in is inches. Surprised? Believe it or not, the suction power of a vacuum cleaner is measured in inches of water by running it through a test called the Water-Lift test. The vacuum cleaner is connected to a tube that pulls in water. The suction power of the motor is then measured by the number of inches water travels up the tube. More the suction power, higher the water would travel up the tube, resulting in a larger measurement in inches.
However, you should know that this is not the only way to measure the efficiency of a cleaner. Other measurements such as air flow and air wattage are equally important when judging a model’s performance.
What is suction pressure in vacuum cleaners?
The suction power of a vacuum cleaner can be measured in two ways. One is by the distance of water that travels up a tube during the water-lift test, which is measured by inches of water. The other method is by measuring the pressure difference created by the cleaner. Lower the pressure inside the vacuum cleaner compared to the normal atmospheric pressure the more suction pressure it generates. It’s typically measured in kPa (kilopascal). Without going into details, Pascal is the measurement of pressure and the kPa unit of a vacuum cleaner is the difference between the normal atmospheric pressure and the pressure inside the vacuum cleaner hose. More the difference, higher the suction pressure.
For reference, most vacuum cleaners can generate a suction pressure of 20 kPa. This simply means the pressure inside the vacuum hose is 20 kPa less than the normal atmospheric pressure of 100 kPa. 249 Pa of pressure generates a suction of 1 inch of water in the water-lift test. Taking that into consideration the average suction pressure of 20 kPa of a vacuum cleaner generates a suction of
80 inches of water.
How does a vacuum cleaner use atmospheric pressure?
To understand how vacuum cleaners use atmospheric pressure to clean up your home, you must first learn a basic scientific principle. The principle is that air from normal atmospheric pressure zones will always flow towards a low-pressure system in an attempt to balance the pressure difference.
The electric motor of a vacuum cleaner powers a fan, which is angled to evacuate air from the cleaner’s airway. By drawing out the air from the vacuum cleaner, the fan creates a pressure difference. The sudden drop in pressure inside the cleaner encourages the air from the atmosphere to rush in to balance the pressure difference. The air flows in through the only available opening, which is the intake port of the vacuum cleaner. The stream of inward flowing air catches the dust particles and drives them inside the vacuum cleaner. These dust particles are then trapped by the filters and clean air is driven out through the exhaust port.
How can I improve the suction on my vacuum cleaner?
Some customers notice a reduction in suction power as their vacuum cleaners get older. There are a few reasons why a vacuum cleaner loses its suction power. Following is a list of these reasons and the things you could do to fix them.
- Bag-related issues: The first thing you need to do is check if your bag is full. This may sound like an obvious advice, but a full bag can drastically reduce the suction power of a cleaner. It’s also a good idea to buy genuine bags from the manufacturer. That way you know for sure that the loss of suction is not caused by a bag-related issue.
- Caked up filters: The pre-motor filter prevents dirt and dust from getting into the motor. Over time this filter can accumulate a cake of dirt and debris. A clogged up filter can cause your vacuum to lose its suction. Read the instruction manuals and either replace or clean the pre-motor filter.
- Blockages: From a small Lego piece to a pencil, a vacuum cleaner can literally suck in more than it can swallow. When that happens the object, usually gets lodged in the hose, which in turn obstructs the airflow. This is why it’s a good idea to regularly check the hose and attachments for obstructions.
- Air leakage: A rip in the hose can drastically compromise the suction power of a vacuum cleaner. Air leakage can also occur if the attachments are not fitted properly. Check the hose and attachment to ensure there are no air leakages.
- Faulty motors: If everything else is fine then there is a good chance there is a problem in the motor. Now, just because you have faulty motor doesn’t mean you would have to buy a new cleaner. There are many online tutorials that show you how to replace and repair vacuum motors.
Can I use a vacuum cleaner on hardwood floors?
If you have hardwood flooring in your home, then using a vacuum cleaner is the best way to suck in all the dirt and dust. Hardwood floor experts recommend using a vacuum cleaner for a couple of reasons. Firstly, a vacuum cleans the flooring with minimal contact and if you are using a machine that is fitted with quality wheels then there is little chance of scratches and scrapes. Apart from that, vacuuming is a dry method, which is always recommended when cleaning hardwood surfaces. Following are a few precautions you might want to take when cleaning hardwood floors using a vacuum cleaner.
- Don’t use vacuums with beater bar turned on: The beater bar attachment is meant for cleaning carpets. When used on a hardwood floor the rotating bristles can end up damaging the surface.
- Go with the grain of the wood: Experts recommend going with the grain of the wood when navigating the vacuum cleaner. This not only ensures a smooth glide, but it reduces the chances of scratches.
How do you clean a waxed wood floor?
A recently waxed floor needs to be cleaned with care to avoid scratches and scuff marks. The best way to ensure that that is by prepping your vacuum. Make sure the wheels of your vacuum cleaner are absolutely clean. This will ensure a smoother glide and prevent scratches. You should also avoid using the beater bar attachment as the hard bristles can not only compromise the polished sheen of the floor but also scratch the wood underneath the polish.
Most experts recommend not using any attachments that may come in direct contact with the floor. However, if your vacuum cleaner comes with an extra soft brush attachment, we recommend giving it a test run on a small sample area. To prolong the sheen of the polish, it’s essential to keep dust and dirt off the wooden flooring. We recommend vacuuming daily to keep the floor dust free.
What is dry foam carpet cleaning?
Dry foam cleaning is a relatively low moisture method of deep cleaning your home’s carpets. The name ‘dry foam’ comes from the solution used to shampoo the surface of the carpet. This special solution is made up of 10% water and 90% foam. Its low moisture content ensures the drying time is drastically reduced. It takes a mere 25 to 30 minutes for the carpet to dry completely after it has been cleaned using dry foam. Here’s how dry foam carpet cleaning works:
- Step 1: You first need to vacuum the carpet to remove dirt and debris.
- Step 2: Mix the dry foam shampoo as per manufacturer’s instruction.
- Step 3: The mixed solution which needs to be poured in a dry foam generator machine.
- Step 4: The machine dispenses the foam and spreads it uniformly using rotating brushes. You can either rent the machine or hire a carpet cleaning expert to operate it. Use the machine to apply the foam uniformly covering all parts of the carpet.
- Step 5: The final step is to use the vacuum cleaner to remove the dry foam solution and dirt from your carpet.
Do steam cleaners work on carpet?
Steam cleaning has long been a preferred way to deep clean carpets. Compared to dry foam cleaning this method has its set of disadvantages and advantages. The primary advantage of choosing steam cleaning over dry foam cleaning is the fact that it uses fewer chemicals. Notice we said ‘fewer’, not zero. This is because contrary to popular belief, steam cleaners do need detergent to clean the carpet fibers. Another advantage of steam cleaners is that you don’t have to buy costly solutions. All you need is hot water and a bit of detergent to get going.
However, the reason why most people favor dry foam cleaning over steam cleaning is the wait time. After steam cleaning your carpet you might have to wait for as much as 24 hours before the carpet is dry. This long waiting period makes the steam cleaning method unsuitable for offices or commercial spaces that are open 7 days a week. If you are a homeowner and can spare the 24 hours needed for the carpet to dry, then steam cleaning can work for you. If you want to steam clean your carpets, then you can either hire a professional or you can buy or rent a carpet steamer from the neighborhood hardware and equipment store.
How long should it take for a carpet to dry after cleaning?
Depending on the method you use to clean your carpet drying time differs drastically. If you want a moisture-free method to clean your carpet, it’s best to use a quality vacuum cleaner with a beater brush attachment. However, if you are using dry foam cleaning or the steam cleaning method, you would have to wait before the carpet is fully dry before you can step on it again.
- Dry foam cleaning dry time: 25 to 30 minutes
- Steam cleaning dry time: 24 Hours
How soon can I put furniture on shampooed carpet?
Moving the furniture back too soon on a carpet that’s recently shampooed can cause staining. This is because the wet fibers of the carpet are prone to attract dirt and rust stains from furniture legs. Putting the furniture back can also restrict the airflow, which may increase the total drying time. If you have steam cleaned your carpet then you should wait at least 24 hours before you move the furniture back on the carpet. Even if you use the dry foam cleaning method, it’s best to let the carpet dry for at least 30 to 45 minutes before moving back the furniture. You should know that these are general estimates as factors such as humidity, level of air circulation and ambient temperature can greatly influence the drying time. As a general rule of thumb, you should not move the furniture back before the carpet is completely dry.
If you are in a hurry to move the furniture back on the carpet, it’s best you use a waterproof protector between the legs of the furniture and the carpet below. Pieces of small plastic and Styrofoam blocks work really well as protectors. We recommend waiting for the carpet to dry out completely before removing the makeshift protectors.
What is a stick vacuum cleaner?
Stick vacuum cleaners are generally much sleeker than their regular full-sized cousins. They are great for small homes as they require very limited storage space. These cleaners are generally fitted with rechargeable batteries as most of them offer cordless cleaning. The compact size of these cleaners comes at a price because they are in no way as powerful as regular vacuums. However, if you are not using your vacuum cleaner to lift a bowling ball, the power difference shouldn’t be a bother. A stick vacuum cleaner such as the V8 Absolute is efficiently designed to clean floor, carpet, ceiling, and furniture. You can even detach the extension wand and use these as handheld cleaners.
Advantages of Stick Vacuum Cleaners:
- Compact Dimensions: Amazing for one-handed usage, these cleaners are small and light.
- Easy Storage: Stick vacuum cleaners stand independently taking less horizontal space. Their compact dimensions make them ideal for small apartments.
- Less Noise: A less powerful motor generates less noise. If you don’t want to wake up the kids just because you want to do some midnight cleaning then this is your best bet.
- More Versatile: Snapping on or off a few attachments can transform the role of stick cleaners. From one-handed cordless cleaning to deep cleaning the carpets, these smart machines can take on any cleaning chore.
- Budget Friendly: Compared to a regular canister or an upright cleaner, stick vacuum cleaners are generally much more pocket-friendly.
How long does a battery last on a Dyson?
There isn’t a unique answer to that question. It really boils down to the battery capacity and the power of the motor. The Dyson V8 delivers an overall runtime of up to 40 minutes. If you buy a Dyson V7 cordless cleaner then expect a runtime of 30 minutes. The entry-level Dyson V6 series cordless vacuum cleaners usually deliver a runtime of 20 minutes.
These runtime figures were collected from Dyson’s official website. The actual runtime can depend on a lot of factors such as power setting, cleaning mode, surface vacuumed and even the age of the battery. If you want a longer runtime, we suggest buying multiple batteries. This way you can replace the depleted batteries with fresh ones and continue cleaning. Buying a few extra batteries is essential if you have a large home because Dyson batteries take nearly 3.5 hours to charge up fully.
Why is a cordless vacuum cleaner not charging?
The best way to figure out why your cordless vacuum cleaner is not charging is by running a diagnostic test. Start by making a list of things that can be faulty and cross things off that list as you zero in on the problem. Most cordless vacuum cleaners have LED lights to indicate the charge status.
Start by connecting the charger and turning the power on. If you have a Dyson cordless cleaner, the light should turn solid blue. This indicates the battery is charging properly. If the light does not turn on then switch to a different power socket. Maybe the problem is with the power outlet and not the charger. Make sure the power outlet is not faulty by plugging in a different device.
If the power outlet is fine, try using a different connector. Ask around, you are bound to find a neighbor or a friend who uses a similar charger. If the light turns on then replace the faulty charger with a new one.
Dyson cordless models display different LED colors for different situations. If you are using a Dyson cordless then check the list below to figure out what’s wrong:
- Blue Light: Battery is Charging
- No Light: Battery is Fully Charged
- Amber Light: Temporary Fault (The Machine is Too Hot or Too Cold)
- Red Flashing Light: Fault (You Need to Consult a Dyson Representative)
If you are not using a Dyson cordless then, the best way forward is to read the instruction manuals for troubleshooting steps.
What is the best cordless vacuum for pet hair?
Removing pet hair from carpet and furniture can be a daunting task if you don’t have the right tools. Thankfully, vacuum manufactures understand this problem and companies like Dyson and Shark have been introducing products that are specifically marketed to serve pet-owning customers. Answering which particular model works the best is subject to personal opinion. Mainly because both these brands have great vacuum cleaners that can remove stubborn pet hair from different kinds of surfaces. However, if we had to pick one particular model, then the Dyson V8 Animal definitely wins the race. Then there’s the Shark IONFlex 2x DuoClean.
Dyson has long been claiming the title of introducing products that are specifically made to tackle pet hair. The Dyson V6 Animal did a great job at that. However, if you are looking for the best cordless vacuum cleaner for pet hair the Dyson V8 Animal definitely takes the cake. It has a powerful motor that has no trouble picking up fur from carpets and floors. It comes with a mini motorized brush attachment that lifts the fur from different surfaces and directs towards the suction port. It also gives users to turn on the MAX power mode, which drastically improves the suction power. Much like a turbo boost, the Dyson goes on overdrive when on Max mode and sucks up even the most difficult to remove hair and dust particles. The Animal cordless range by Dyson has long been the best vacuum cleaners for pet hair and the Dyson V8 Animal currently rules them all.
Which is the best Shark vacuum for pet hair?
Over the years, Shark has introduced some great vacuum cleaners that can efficiently clean up pet hair. The Shark Rocket DeluxePro is a great corded vacuum that comes with a pet upholstery cleaner. It supports one-handed usage, which is perfect for removing pet hair from tricky spaces. However, if we have to crown one shark model as the ultimate pet hair cleaner then there is no debating the practicality of the Shark IONFlex 2X DuoClean (IF251/IF252).
The model comes with a flexible extension wand, which allows you to clean underneath the furniture. This particular model also comes with an extra battery pack and thus trivially delivers twice the runtime of the standard DuoClean cordless model. The IONFlex is fitted with LED headlights to efficiently clean pet hair from poorly lit spaces. Lifting pet hair off carpet becomes a breeze thanks to the DuoClean’s rotating brush roll. It’s safe to say that the Shark IONFlex 2X Duo Clean with the Pet Multi-Tool attachment is one of the best cordless vacuum cleaners for cleaning pet hair.