By Andy Weter
Vacuum Prices: Then and Now
In todays world of big box stores, cheap prices and overseas
labor, there is a huge selection of full size disposable vacuums
on the market that cost as low as $39.
Contrast this to the average high-end vacuum price of $700-800,
and it seems like a big difference. "Why are these vacuums
so expensive?" people ask. Judging from their reactions, you
would really think that vacuums were always cheap, just like
the ones at the mass merchants.
Let's compare some prices of machines from the past, and then
look at the equivalent amount of money today will buy, and I
think you will agree with me that today's quality machines are
a better value than ever.
It was the 1990's. Hoover was in the process of turning a
department store janitor's vision into a house hold name.
Thanks to the beating-sweeping action of Hoover brushroll, the
powerful airflow, and the exceptional quality, Hoover was the
best vacuum money could buy at that time. If you were in the
market for a vacuum, chances are you were dreaming of owning a
Hoover. But that ownership came at quite a cost. The price for
a Hoover 700 in 1928 was $75. If you wanted attachments it was
another $12.50. According to an online inflation calculator
(www.westegg.com/inflation), that would be $799.82 today
($933.12 with the attachments).
Get More Out Of Your Vacuum
- Check the bag or dust cup. If it is half full empty or change it.
- Check filters. Clean, or change if necessary.
- Check the belt. Clean lint and thread from pully and roll brush if needed.
- Inspect the cord and plugs for breaks.
Adjusting the vacuum:
Set the vacuum for the height of the carpet to be vacuumed.(If
you don't know what setting to use, set the machine to the
highest setting and turn it on, then lower while running until
the roll brush agitates the carpet.) Not all vacuums have
height settings; some are self adjusting. If using a canister,
you may want to open the sucton regulator so the vacuum only
picks up the dirt, not the carpet.
- Let the vacuum do the work for you and proceed slowly. You
should only have to go over the carpet once.
do not bump into furniture or run over cords.
- Pick up anything that you can see, such as pennies or
paperclips passing through the vacuum can cause damage to
Care & Maintenace:
- Check for air and dirt leakage.
- Change the belt at least every six months.
- Wipe out the inside of the bag compartment when changing
paper bags since some dirt may fall out when changing bags.
- Unplug the vacuum by the plug, not the cord.
- When wrapping the cord, always wrap from the machine
and not from the wall. It keeps knots out.
- Do not vacuum water unless the machine is made for that purpose.
- If the vacuum makes strange sounds, turn it off, unplug
it and do not use it until the machine is repaired.
- Wipe the vacuum off when finished. Then store it.
How To Pick a Vacuum
When picking out a vacuum you must decide what you are going to
clean with it. Are you cleaning carpet, bare floors, upholstery,
the garage, the car? Next, how many floors do you have? Are
your steps carpeted? Who is the operator? Can they carry it up
the steps or get it out of the closet? Now that we know how it
will be used and who will be using it, you can decide on the type
of vacuum that you will need and what features and benifits you
want. The type of vacuums are whole house built-ins, uprights,
and the canisters as well as backpacks, power teams, handheld,
broom and robot vacuums.
- Whole house vacuums are the cleanest and quietest to
use. They either use straight suction, an air driven brush
for carpet, or an electric driven power nozzle. Backpacks and
canisters offer the same options for cleaning the carpet. These
are the best choices for cleaning bare floors and getting under
funiture. The backpack will let you do the job faster if you
have larger areas to clean. If you won't or can't wear it,
don't consider it.
- Hand vacuums and brooms are specailty items to be used
for specific purpose and for the most part are not designed to
clean the whole house.
- Upright vacuums are sold the most. With uprights, there are
two different types of air movement. The oldest type is direct,
where the dirt is moved past the fan and thrown into the bag. The
other type is where a canister type motor is used and the dirt
is pulled in the dirt container or bag and then the air passes
through the canister and through the motor, then exhausted. On
some models you can get onboard tools.
- Remember when you add features, the weight of the machine
goes up. Cord winds, self propelled, tools onboard, etc. All
are nice but they add weight.
- Horsepower, amps and cleaning effiency numbers do not tell
the whole story. The engineers decide how well the vacuum will
clean and how well it will filter the air passing though it.
- When a vacuum is made to sell at a low price it may even have
HEPA filteration, but that does not mean it will maintain its
good filteration after the second or third time of use. When
vacuums are tested at national cosumer groups or labs they
are only tested when brand new -- not after the machine has
ever been used; and they are tested with the dirt container
empty. Also, when a vacuum is made for a price point, genrally
the materials are not the most durable. Some name manufactures
have some high priced machines that will give you three years
of good use, while others can last 20 plus years. But no matter
what brand you have it must be maitained on a regular basis.
- Filters on some machines need to be changed every three
months. Others need to be washed at least once a month and some
other don't need to be washed but once a year.
- For belts, some last a lifetime but they are made to last and
have safty devices installed to protect the permanent belt. Most
other belts stretch so they must be changed at least every four
to six months to maintain the proper speed of the brush row.
- Brush rows or brush strips on some machines need to be
changed every five years because the the bristles become soft
and lose their cleaning effectiveness.
- Motors today are mostly sealed bearings and for the most
part they are balanced at the factory and cannot be repaired
or relpaced. Some motors can still be serviced. The direct air
machines for the most part fall into that category.
- Warranties will vary with the manufactures, but they all
exclude abuse. Also, availability of parts and service will
vary. Some manufactures don't make replacement parts and will
justs replace the machine for another. Others make you send
it off and some are local service. Beware of buying on the
internet. Quite a few high-end vacuums charge a higher price
on the internet compared to if you were to buy it locally at
a store. Also, if you need warranty service, you have to send
it back to where you bought it. These practices were put in by
the manufactures to protect their dealer network.
- In order to maitain your cleaner, you must be able to
get parts. Most independent dealers have most parts for most
machines, either on the shelf or readily available in just a
matter of days.
- Some brands have restricted dealers who are the only place
to get parts.