Vacuum cleaners are an essential part of the arsenal of cleaning supplies in most households. With the advent of new technology, vacuum cleaners come in a variety of forms, shapes, and sizes, from large industrial-type machines for larger jobs to handheld, battery-operated machines for smaller cleaning tasks, as well as self-operating machines that require little effort to maintain.
Vacuum cleaners come in a range of prices as well, from less than £30 to over £500, depending on the type of machine, the brand, the quality of construction and effectiveness, and the technology involved in its manufacture.
While vacuum cleaners are quite common, many people don’t fully understand how they work and what many of the benefits and risks are. Since vacuum cleaners are an important part of most households’ cleaning regimen, it’s important to know how the vacuum cleaner you choose affects your health, your home, and your wallet.
Read below to find out the answers to some frequently asked questions.
- Are vacuum cleaners bad for your health?
- Do vacuum cleaners cause cancer?
- Can vacuum cleaners cause hearing loss?
- Can vacuum cleaners overheat?
- Do vacuum cleaners use a lot of electricity?
Are vacuum cleaners bad for your health?
Most people use vacuum cleaners to rid their homes of dirt and dust that may cause allergies or illness for themselves and their families. However, it’s important to realize that under certain conditions, some vacuum cleaners can actually make matters worse by releasing dirt, dust, and allergens into the air.
It comes as no surprise that newer, more expensive models tend to be better at trapping such problematic materials within the filter, so keep this in mind when selecting a vacuum cleaner to purchase.
If you or someone in your family is sensitive to dust or other common household allergens, you might want to avoid purchasing a lower-end model that will cause dust to be released into the air rather than trapped within the filter.
Models that use HEPA filters are especially good at trapping dirt, dust, and allergens. If you have an older vacuum cleaner or a lower-end model, regular cleanings, filter changes, and bag changes (or emptying of the receptacle in bagless models) will help reduce the amount of dirt, dust, and allergens released into the air.
Keep in mind that with bagless models, the debris trapped in the receptacle tends to become dislodged and may be released into the air when emptying it into the trash, so they may not be the best choice if you or someone in your family is highly allergic to household allergens such as dust.
Do vacuum cleaners cause cancer?
If you have shopped for a vacuum cleaner recently, you may have noticed that some models come with a warning sticker stating that they may contain hazardous materials that have been known to cause cancer.
Usually, the materials used to make vacuum cleaners are safe, but some models do have traces of lead or petroleum byproducts. This may cause serious concern for some, as these materials have been linked with serious illness including cancer.
While the levels used to manufacture the machines are typically very low, there is no guarantee, and it’s often impossible to know just how much exposure you’re getting while using the vacuum cleaner. If you find yourself feeling wary of such chemicals, it may be helpful to research brands and models that use materials that you are more comfortable introducing into your home.
Can vacuum cleaners cause hearing loss?
The risk to your hearing will vary with the type of machine you use. Some vacuum cleaners produce more noise than others. Prolonged exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels has been shown to affect hearing. Some vacuum cleaners will reach this level, and should be used only for short periods of time, unless proper personal protective devices such as ear plugs are worn, to reduce the harm done to your hearing.
Some household vacuum cleaners are much quieter to the point that you can barely hear them, such as self-operated roaming models that are designed to clean with minimal disruption to your routine.
The best way to know if a vacuum cleaner will harm your ears is to test it out before buying it. If you notice that you have to shout over the vacuum cleaner, it is probably too loud to use for prolonged periods of time.
Can vacuum cleaners overheat?
Some vacuum cleaners may begin to overheat with age or excessive use. Usually this is due to poor airflow, which can be caused by a variety of different things such as buildup of dirt and dust, a clogged hose or filter, or wear-and-tear on the motor.
Many modern vacuum cleaners come equipped with a thermal shut-off in case the machine begins to overheat. Older models, however, may not have this safety feature. This is important to keep in mind if your vacuum cleaner is aging and has not been kept particularly clean.
The best way to prevent your vacuum cleaner from overheating is to keep it clean and perform regular filter changes, as well as replacing the bag when it becomes too full, or regularly emptying the receptacle on bagless models.
If your machine has a thermal shut-off feature and automatically turns off due to overheating, it will take a few hours for the machine to cool properly and to turn back on.
Do vacuum cleaners use a lot of electricity?
Some vacuum cleaners are more energy-efficient than others. The energy efficiency of the machine will depend on a variety of factors, including its size, its intended purpose, and its age.
As with other appliances, an easy way to determine whether a vacuum cleaner is energy efficient is to look for an Energy Star rating, which are typically advertised on the box, since this is a desirable quality for most households.
As a general rule, bagless models are more energy efficient than traditional models that use waste bags.
After considering these five frequently asked questions, you are now well-equipped to choose the right vacuum cleaner. With this information in mind, you will be sure to choose the model that best suits your health, household, and financial needs.