Your #1 Essential Tool for Carpet – The Vacuum!
We always get asked – “what kind of vacuum should I buy?” The short answer – “ the one that gets used the most!” But there is more to consider.
We like built in vacuum systems! Compared to all others, their setup makes them convenient to use, therefore used more frequently. Also when possible, try to have the exhaust plumbed directly outdoors. They come in “1, 2 or 3 stage” vacuum motors – always get the biggest motor you can get and/or afford as this directly links to how much suction you will have. More suction = better vacuuming.
Our next choice are upright vacuums that have 2 motors. These are the cleaning industries recommended ‘standard’. One motor for the vacuum part, and a separate motor for the beater bar/brush. Be absolutely sure that it is a ‘bypass motor’ system. This means that the dirt goes directly into the soil catching system, rather than through the motor first as this dirt will significantly shorten the life span of the motor, & reduce airflow or ‘suction’ as time goes on. Due to the shortness of the average upright vacuum attachment hose, detailed vacuuming such as furniture can be inconvenient. Although, in many instances you can buy an ‘extension hose’ to compensate. Uprights also tend to be ‘handle heavy’ & can make muscles sore if vacuuming for a period of time.
Canister vacuums (pull behinds) are great for doing steps & furniture. There is a level of convenience to your arm as you are operating this vacuum.
Most well known brands that have been around for years work very well. In any case, all the vacuums worth buying will cost a least $300 and up to $1300 in our opinion . Be sure to buy brands that repair parts are available.
The key to any vacuum system is to keep it in good repair. We highly recommend that every vacuum get a ‘tune up’ at a vacuum store every 2 years! (There are internal filters in almost every vacuum that the homeowner cannot reach, clean or replace.) This is another good reason for the tune up!
Though I didn’t list it first, it is probably the most important factor in your vacuum selection. Many vacuums have HEPA filtration, which will ensure removal of particles down to 0.1 micron. Try to avoid bagless units, as they cannot be sealed and often leak- which is not what you want to do with the “stuff” in your bag (unless it is built in system that is plumbed outside). Vacuum systems without HEPA filtration tend to allow more contaminants back into your breathable air, which cause damage to your lungs. HEPA Vacuum bags are fairly inexpensive and will aid in filtering so that dust and allergens so they do not become airborne in your home or office. Change bags when they are about 60% full and do it outside, if possible.
Agitation is a key ingredient when it comes to selecting a proper vacuum. The ‘beater bar’ lifts & separates the carpet yarns which moves the air to go through the carpet thereby sucking the sand & dirt particles with it. The brush part ‘sweeps’ the dirt into the suction port, the beater bar – a hard plastic beam that wraps itself on the shaft like the brush – “hits’ the carpet thereby shocking the sandy soils out of the base of the carpet. Our preference is that your agitation system include 1 brush & 1 bar, however any combination of these is far better than none at all. Be sure that the powerhead has adjustable height positions for various carpets!
Adjust your powerhead so that the powerhead motor slows down slightly when it is on the carpet. Setting it too high may damage the tips of the carpet fiber. Too low & you may burn out the motor on the powerhead. Do not allow the powerhead to be running while standing in one position on the carpet for more than 5 – 10 seconds. There is enough friction that may cause damage to specific carpets.
Maximizing airflow is a function of the main vacuum motor. Look for a motor which is power rated to at least 12 amps – more amps is more airflow which creates better suction. (Should you need to replace your built in motor, most of these systems can be changed to a 3 stage motor.) Uprights & canisters generally have to have the exact motor that is designed for that brand of vacuum.
Use a crevice tool to get that hair, dust, or dirt from along the baseboards. Especially if you notice your home having a section or two of heavy black lines along the baseboard of a given room. This condition is known as filtration soils & is difficult to remove with professional cleaning, but preventable by crevice tool vacuuming every 2 weeks or more often. Best vacuumed homes need less carpet cleaning!
Lastly, you must vacuum the carpets for your vacuum to be effective. That sounds silly doesn’t it, but most homes are not vacuumed nearly often enough. Most carpets should be vacuumed two to three times each week in the main traffic lane. If you have kids & pets, vacuum four to five times each week. You cannot over vacuum a carpet — it is physically impossible!