About Vacuum Cleaners

The most important tool within the carpet cleaning industry is the vacuum cleaner. Vacuum cleaners are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes, specifically designed for various cleaning applications.

Vacuum cleaners can be grouped into two basic categories. Those which are designed for the removal of dry soils, and others designed for extraction of liquids.

Many various attachments are available for use in conjunction with most of these vacuum cleaners. Each one designed for specific cleaning tasks.

All of these factors taken into consideration make vacuum cleaners a most versatile and indispensable cleaning tool of the trade.

The selection of the proper vacuum unit along with the appropriate attachment(s) for the cleaning task to be performed is most important to the carpet cleaner technician

In order to accurately choose the right combination, the operator must first understand the basic principles of how a vacuum system functions.

Firstly, let us define the true meaning of word “vacuum”. A “Vacuum” is a space partially exhausted, or from which almost all air has been removed by artificial means. On the other hand; a ‘vacuum cleaner’ is a device of creating, containing, or utilizing a partial vacuum for cleaning as in a vacuum cleaning system.

Vacuum cleaners contain a vacuum motor assembly which serves as a blowing fan creating a vacuum behind itself. Since a vacuum is an unnatural state, air pushes in to fill the void. It is this in-rushing air, moving through the fan that creates airflow and suction need for vacuum cleaning.

“Vacuum Cleaning,” in short is the removal of soils from a surface by means of suction. Vacuum cleaning for the purpose of removing dry soils is generally considered to be a form of sweeping.

A vacuum cleaner’s efficiency ratings should be based on airflow and suction, and not on amperage or horsepower as they were rated in the past. Far too much emphasis has been placed on the horsepower rating of the electric vacuum cleaner motor. The ralationship between horsepower and cleaning power,
as applied to a vacuum cleaner, has reached the point where knowledgeable consumers and operators look as horsepower ratings with skepticism. When looking at horsepower ratings one must determine whether the horsepower is applied to airflow or suction.

Generally a vacuum cleaner designed for the removal of dry soils has a high airflow rating and a relatively low suction rating. A vacuum cleaner specifically designed to remove liquids, conversely, would have a low airflow rating, and a relatively high suction rating. To have ratings on both airflow and suction is virtually impossible, but a high average compromise is possible and usually incorporated with wet dry vacuum cleaning systems designed to remove both wet and dry soils from surfaces.

To better understand the difference between airflow and suction. Let us begin with describing airflow.

Firstly, let us define the true meaning of word “vacuum”. A “Vacuum” is a space partially exhausted, or from which almost all air has been removed by artificial means. On the other hand; a ‘vacuum cleaner’ is a device of creating, containing, or utilizing a partial vacuum for cleaning as in a vacuum cleaning system.

Airflow relates to air volume, and is totally different from suction. The airflow of a vacuum cleaning systems is measured in ‘cubic feet per minute’ or (C.F.M). This measure is used to indicate how many cubic feet of air that a vacuum motor is able to inhale and exhaust without restriction within a one minute period. A high efficiency vacuum cleaner for dry soil removal on carpets for example, might have the ability to move 156 (CFM) whereas a high efficiency vacuum cleaner specifically designed for the removal of
liquids might only have the ability to move 88 (CFM).

Suction is measured in ‘inches of waterlift’. Inches of waterlift, is how high a vacuum motor can lift a column of water one inch in diameter within a tube. At that point, no airflow is present only suction. Special hand held vacuum gauges for measuring ‘inches of waterlift’ are available for measuring the suction of vacuum cleaners. A high efficiency vacuum cleaner for dry soil removal on carpet for example might have an ‘inches of waterlift’ rating of only 12″”, whereas a high efficiency vacuum cleaner specifically designed for removal of liquids might
have a rating of 150″.

Therefore it is the balance between the CFM rating and the “inches of waterlift” rating of a vacuum cleaner which determines its most suitable cleaning application.

The following list sites some examples of popular vacuum cleaning systems:

Upright Carpet Vacuum Cleaners
Backpack Vacuum Cleaners
Pile Lifter Vacuum Cleaners
Wet / Dry Canister Vacuum Cleaners
Industrial Drum Vacuum Cleaners

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