Choosing A Vacuum Cleaner
You’ve probably heard that regular vacuum will help your carpet to last longer. This makes sense when we think about it because carpet traps and collects dirt and grit between fibres. When walked on, the dirt rubs between the carpet fibres, wearing away at the carpet fibres, kind of like sand paper on skin. So, it makes sense that regular vacuuming to remove the dirt will help slow down carpet wear.
Believe it or not, your carpet also serves as your home’s de-facto air filtration system. As air circulates around the house, your carpet filters the air pulling out airborne pollution, giving you a healthier living environment. When the filter clogs up, it stops acting as a filter and fails to clean the air which can pose real problems for asthmatics and allergy sufferers.
So what should you look for when buying a vacuum for your carpet? There are three things that you need to consider: 1) the vacuum’s filtration system, 2) the vacuum’s suction power, and 3) carpet agitation.
Look for a vacuum with an excellent filtration system; this is especially important for allergy sufferers and asthmatics. A HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter vacuum is recommended by the Australian standards. HEPA filters remove at least 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 micrometre in size or bigger. This means that the air that comes out of the HEPA filter vacuum is generally cleaner than the air in our home.
Bag or Bagless? Both types filter the air effectively, but some more effectively than others. Bags are mostly disposable but some are designed to be cleaned and re-used (disposable bags will provide the best filtration). Bags are cheap in the short run but buying bags can be expensive over time. Bagless vacuums are often cheaper and more convenient in the long run. If a paper or cloth filter is used, they will often clog reducing effectiveness so you will need to take time to clean them or replace the filters. If you choose a bagless vacuum, you may wish to look at a Dyson vacuum.
Next is suction power. In theory, a more powerful motor will have more suction power but there are several factors that can affect suction power. The factors are 1) the length of the tubing, 2) number of filters, and 3) how the air path is sealed. Any one of these factors can significantly decrease airflow, making high amperage meaningless.
It is also better to look for a model with an adjustable suction. Most vacuums do not work well on hard floors. An adjustable suction feature is not only useful if you have mixed floor types; its’ also beneficial if you have carpets with different pile types.
Finally, carpet agitation. Effective vacuuming requires the carpet to be agitated to release the dirt and grit. We recommend a vacuum with a rotating brush and preferably a brush that also agitates and beats the carpet. Generally, all upright vacuums have either a rotating brush or a beater bar but some barrel vacuums may just use a sweeping process that does not effectively lift the dirt.
Other factors you may want to consider when picking a vacuum:
- Vacuum cleaners equipped with additional tools. These can help clean not only hard floors and carpets but also a variety of surfaces such as furniture and curtains. Also, check if the attachments seal or lock properly. Loose brushes or extension wands that easily fall off with slight movement can be inconvenient and irritating.
- Check the length of the power cord. A shorter cord is okay with small areas, but if you are cleaning larger areas, this can be frustrating.
- Before purchasing, try different models to gauge the noise level. No one likes a noisy vacuum. Generally, a well-built vacuum will have a better quality motor will produce less noise.
A couple models that may be worth considering include Dyson, Nilfisk and Windsor.
Keep in mind that regular carpet cleaning is still required in addition to vacuuming to properly “clean the filter” and remove the soiling that your vacuum leaves behind.