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A Vacuum cleaner is a labor saving device. It is a common household appliance used for cleaning of carpets, sofas, floor, fans, drapes, beds, ceiling etc in homes. It creates a partial vacuum to suck dust, particles, dirt etc. The dirt is collected in a paper bag for later disposal.
The idea for a vacuum cleaner was started by Henry Cecil Booth of England. He first made a vacuum cleaner called the “Puffin Billy” which was run by a petrol driven piston pump. They were large and bulky and were carried on horse driven carts. The hoses were taken through windows to clean the carpets. These were however not commercially viable. The real break to vacuum cleaners was given by James Spangler who invented a vacuum cleaner from a fan, a box and a pillow case. Spangler sold the patent to William Hoover of England who made it a commercial success. Hoover made a fortune out of the invention. In England the vacuum cleaner is still called a Hoover colloquially.
The vacuum cleaner consists of a motor, a fan and a disposable paper bag along with other necessary assemblies. There are different configurations available.
- Cylinder: In this type of vacuum cleaner, the motor, fan and bag are kept in a cylinder which is usually mounted on a wheel trolley. The cylinder is connected to flexible hosepipes. Even though they are not as efficient in cleaning as other models, they are the most popular models in the market.
- Upright: This is a push pull configuration mounted on wheels. The motor is housed in a housing over the fan and the bag is mounted on a handle. They usually have rotating brushes at the end of the handle to brush up dust which can be sucked by the hose, hence they tend to be cleaner. These are usually used by people who do not want to bend while cleaning. They are less maneuverable.
- Wet Vacuum cleaners: These are special types of vacuum cleaners which can clean spillages also. They have reversible air flow for blowing out obstructions and dust. They are also known as wet vacs.
- Centralized Vacuum cleaners: These are housed in the central part of a large building with piping on all floors. The flexible hose can be connected to vacuum points in various parts of the building for cleaning of rooms.
- Special Vacuum cleaners: These include robots and hand held cleaners. The robots have obstacle detecting sensors to clean an entire room without human help. Hand help vacuum cleaners are small portable cleaners for clearing of small spills.
Few things are needed to be considered before buying a vacuum cleaner. Amperage is directly related to the power of the vacuum cleaner. Generally the higher the amperage the better performance. Airflow rate in liters/sec, airflow velocity in miles per hour (mph) and suction capacity in Pascal (Pa) are other specifications which need to be considered. Generally the higher these values are the better cleaning the vacuum cleaner provides. One more element to be considered is whether to buy a bag or bagless vacuum cleaner. The bagless vacuum cleaner provides greater suction power and the container has to be cleared into a garbage can periodically.