Vacuum cleaner
Overview
 
A vacuum cleaner, commonly referred to as a "vacuum," is a device that uses an air pump
Pump
A pump is a device used to move fluids, such as liquids, gases or slurries.A pump displaces a volume by physical or mechanical action. Pumps fall into three major groups: direct lift, displacement, and gravity pumps...

 to create a partial vacuum
Vacuum
In everyday usage, vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, such that its gaseous pressure is much less than atmospheric pressure. The word comes from the Latin term for "empty". A perfect vacuum would be one with no particles in it at all, which is impossible to achieve in...

 to suck
Suction
Suction is the flow of a fluid into a partial vacuum, or region of low pressure. The pressure gradient between this region and the ambient pressure will propel matter toward the low pressure area. Suction is popularly thought of as an attractive effect, which is incorrect since vacuums do not...

 up dust
Dust
Dust consists of particles in the atmosphere that arise from various sources such as soil dust lifted up by wind , volcanic eruptions, and pollution...

 and dirt, usually from floors, and optionally from other surfaces as well. The dirt is collected by either a dustbag or a cyclone
Cyclonic separation
Cyclonic separation is a method of removing particulates from an air, gas or liquid stream, without the use of filters, through vortex separation. Rotational effects and gravity are used to separate mixtures of solids and fluids...

 for later disposal. Vacuum cleaners, which are used in homes as well as in industry, exist in a variety of sizes and models: small battery-operated hand-held devices, domestic central vacuum cleaner
Central vacuum cleaner
A central vacuum cleaner is a type of vacuum cleaner appliance, installed into a building as a semi-permanent fixture. Central vacuum systems are designed to remove dirt and debris from homes and buildings, sending dirt particles through tubing installed inside the walls to a collection container...

s, huge stationary industrial appliances that can handle several hundred litres of dust before being emptied, and self-propelled vacuum truck
Vacuum truck
A vacuum truck is a truck mounted, heavy duty industrial vacuum loader designed to pneumatically convey solids, liquids, sludge or slurry through suction lines typically 2-4" in diameter with 3" being the norm. The typical pump used in the industry is the rotary vane vacuum pump. The truck can be...

s for recovery of large spills or removal of contaminated soil.
The vacuum cleaner evolved from the carpet sweeper
Carpet sweeper
A carpet sweeper is a mechanical device for the cleaning of carpets. These were popular before the introduction of the vacuum cleaner and have been largely superseded by them....

 via manual vacuum cleaners.
Encyclopedia
A vacuum cleaner, commonly referred to as a "vacuum," is a device that uses an air pump
Pump
A pump is a device used to move fluids, such as liquids, gases or slurries.A pump displaces a volume by physical or mechanical action. Pumps fall into three major groups: direct lift, displacement, and gravity pumps...

 to create a partial vacuum
Vacuum
In everyday usage, vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, such that its gaseous pressure is much less than atmospheric pressure. The word comes from the Latin term for "empty". A perfect vacuum would be one with no particles in it at all, which is impossible to achieve in...

 to suck
Suction
Suction is the flow of a fluid into a partial vacuum, or region of low pressure. The pressure gradient between this region and the ambient pressure will propel matter toward the low pressure area. Suction is popularly thought of as an attractive effect, which is incorrect since vacuums do not...

 up dust
Dust
Dust consists of particles in the atmosphere that arise from various sources such as soil dust lifted up by wind , volcanic eruptions, and pollution...

 and dirt, usually from floors, and optionally from other surfaces as well. The dirt is collected by either a dustbag or a cyclone
Cyclonic separation
Cyclonic separation is a method of removing particulates from an air, gas or liquid stream, without the use of filters, through vortex separation. Rotational effects and gravity are used to separate mixtures of solids and fluids...

 for later disposal. Vacuum cleaners, which are used in homes as well as in industry, exist in a variety of sizes and models: small battery-operated hand-held devices, domestic central vacuum cleaner
Central vacuum cleaner
A central vacuum cleaner is a type of vacuum cleaner appliance, installed into a building as a semi-permanent fixture. Central vacuum systems are designed to remove dirt and debris from homes and buildings, sending dirt particles through tubing installed inside the walls to a collection container...

s, huge stationary industrial appliances that can handle several hundred litres of dust before being emptied, and self-propelled vacuum truck
Vacuum truck
A vacuum truck is a truck mounted, heavy duty industrial vacuum loader designed to pneumatically convey solids, liquids, sludge or slurry through suction lines typically 2-4" in diameter with 3" being the norm. The typical pump used in the industry is the rotary vane vacuum pump. The truck can be...

s for recovery of large spills or removal of contaminated soil.

History

The vacuum cleaner evolved from the carpet sweeper
Carpet sweeper
A carpet sweeper is a mechanical device for the cleaning of carpets. These were popular before the introduction of the vacuum cleaner and have been largely superseded by them....

 via manual vacuum cleaners. The first manual models, using bellows, came in the 1860s, and the first motorized models came in the beginning of the 20th century.

Daniel Hess

Daniel Hess of West Union, Iowa
West Union, Iowa
West Union is a city in Fayette County, Iowa, United States. The population was 2,549 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Fayette County...

 invented a vacuum cleaner in 1860, calling it a carpet sweeper instead of a vacuum cleaner. His machine did, in fact, have a rotating brush like a traditional carpet sweeper, and also possessed an elaborate bellows mechanism on top of the body to generate suction of dust and dirt. Hess received a patent (US No. 29.077) for his invention of the vacuum cleaner on July 10, 1860.

Ives W. McGaffey

The first manually-powered cleaner using vacuum principles was the "Whirlwind", invented in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 in 1868 by Ives W. McGaffey. The machine was lightweight and compact, but was difficult to operate because of the need to turn a hand crank at the same time as pushing it across the floor. McGaffey enlisted the help of The American Carpet Cleaning Co. of Boston to market it to the public. It was sold for $25. It is hard to determine how successful the Whirlwind was, as most of them were sold in Chicago and Boston, and it is likely that many were lost in the Great Chicago Fire
Great Chicago Fire
The Great Chicago Fire was a conflagration that burned from Sunday, October 8, to early Tuesday, October 10, 1871, killing hundreds and destroying about in Chicago, Illinois. Though the fire was one of the largest U.S...

 of 1871. Only two are known to have survived, one of which can be found in the Hoover Historical Center.

McGaffey was but one of many 19th-century inventors in the United States and Europe who devised manual vacuum cleaners. He obtained a patent (US No. 91,145) on June 8, 1869.

Melville Bissell

In 1876, Melville R. Bissell of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is located on the Grand River about 40 miles east of Lake Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 188,040. In 2010, the Grand Rapids metropolitan area had a population of 774,160 and a combined statistical area, Grand...

 created a push-powered carpet sweeper for his wife, Anna Sutherland Bissell
Anna Sutherland Bissell
Anna Sutherland Bissell was president and later chair of the board of the Bissell Corporation.- Early years :She was born in River John, Nova Scotia, the daughter of a sea captain. At an early age her family moved to Michigan were they settled.Years later at 19 she married Melville R. Bissell and...

, to clean up sawdust
Sawdust
Sawdust is a by-product of cutting lumber with a saw, composed of fine particles of wood. It can present a hazard in manufacturing industries, especially in terms of its flammability....

 in carpeting. Shortly after, Bissell Carpet Sweepers
Bissell Inc.
Bissell Inc., also known as Bissell Homecare, is a privately owned vacuum cleaner and floor care product manufacturing corporation headquartered in Walker, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids...

 were born. After Melville died unexpectedly in 1889, Anna took control of the company and became one of the most powerful businesswomen of the day. The company later added portable vacuum cleaners to its line of cleaning tools.

John S. Thurman

On November 14, 1898, John S. Thurman of St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, submitted a patent (US No. 634,042) for a "pneumatic carpet renovator". It was issued on October 3, 1899. Thurman created a gasoline powered carpet cleaner for the General Compressed Air Company. In a newspaper advertisement from the St. Louis Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the major city-wide newspaper in St. Louis, Missouri. Although written to serve Greater St. Louis, the Post-Dispatch is one of the largest newspapers in the Midwestern United States, and is available and read as far west as Kansas City, Missouri, as far south as...

, Thurman offered his invention of the horse drawn (which went door to door) motorized cleaning system in St. Louis. He offered cleaning services at $4 per visit. By 1906, Thurman was offering built-in central cleaning systems that used compressed air, yet featured no dust collection. Thurman's machine is sometimes considered the first vacuum cleaner. However, the dust was blown into a receptacle rather than being sucked in, as in the machine now used. In later patent litigation, Judge Augustus Hand
Augustus Noble Hand
Augustus Noble Hand was an American judge who served on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and later on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. His most notable rulings restricted the reach of obscenity statutes in the areas of literature and...

 ruled that Thurman "does not appear to have attempted to design a vacuum cleaner, or to have understood the process of vacuum cleaning".

H. Cecil Booth

Hubert Cecil Booth
Hubert Cecil Booth
Hubert Cecil Booth was a British engineer who invented the first powered vacuum cleaner.He also designed Ferris wheels, suspension bridges and factories. Later he became Chairman and Managing Director of the British Vacuum Cleaner and Engineering Co.-Early life:Booth was born in Gloucester, England...

 has the strongest claim to inventing the motorized vacuum cleaner, in 1901. As Booth recalled decades later, that year he attended “a demonstration of an American machine by its inventor” at the Empire Music Hall in London. The inventor is not named, but Booth’s description of the machine conforms fairly closely to Thurman’s design, as modified in later patents. Booth watched a demonstration of the device which blew dust off the chairs, and thought it would be much more useful to have one that sucked dust. He tested the idea by laying a handkerchief on the seat of a restaurant chair, putting his mouth to the handkerchief, and then trying to suck up as much dust as he could onto the handkerchief. Upon seeing the dust and dirt collected on the underside of the handkerchief he realized the idea could work.

Booth created a large device, driven first by an oil engine
Oil engine
Oil engine may refer to:* Hornsby-Akroyd oil engine* Hot bulb engine* Hesselman engine...

, and later by an electric motor
Electric motor
An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.Most electric motors operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors to generate force...

. Nicknamed the "Puffing Billy", Booth's first petrol-powered, horse-drawn vacuum cleaner relied upon air drawn by a piston pump through a cloth filter. It did not contain any brushes; all the cleaning was done by suction through long tubes with nozzles on the ends.

Booth initially did not attempt to sell his machine, but rather sold cleaning services. The vans of the British Vacuum Cleaning Company (BVCC) were bright red; uniformed operators would haul hose off the van and route it through the windows of a building to reach all the rooms inside. Booth was harassed by complaints about the noise of his vacuum machines and was even fined for frightening horses. Gaining the royal seal of approval, Booth's motorized vacuum cleaner was used to clean the carpets of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 prior to Edward VII's coronation in 1901.

Booth received his first patents on February 18 and August 30, 1901. Booth started the British Vacuum Cleaner Company, and refined his invention over the next several decades. Though his "Goblin" model lost out to competition from Hoover in the household vacuum market, his company successfully turned its focus to the industrial market, building ever-larger models for factories and warehouses. Booth's company, now BVC, lives on today as a unit of pneumatic tube system maker Quirepace Ltd.

David T. Kenney

Nine patents granted to the New Jersey inventor David T. Kenney
David T. Kenney
David T. Kenney was an inventor with nine patents, granted between 1903 and 1913, applicable to both machine-driven and manual vacuum cleaners, dominated the vacuum cleaner industry in the United States until the 1920s....

 between 1903 and 1913 established the foundation for the American vacuum cleaner industry. Membership in the Vacuum Cleaner Manufacturers' Association, formed in 1919, was limited to licensees under his patents.

Walter Griffiths

In 1905 "Griffith's Improved Vacuum Apparatus for Removing Dust from Carpets" was another manually operated cleaner, patented by Walter Griffiths Manufacturer, Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. It was portable, easy to store, and powered by "any one person (such as the ordinary domestic servant)", who would have the task of compressing a bellows-like contraption to suck up dust through a removable, flexible pipe, to which a variety of shaped nozzles could be attached. This was arguably the first domestic vacuum-cleaning device to resemble the modern vacuum cleaner.

Hermann Bogenschild

German immigrant engineer Hermann Bogenschild filed a patent in 1906 for a mechanical "dust removing apparatus". He had emigrated from Berlin to Milwaukee in 1892. Bogenschild's device was mounted on wheels for portability and its motor was connected to a hose and filter system. http://www.google.com/patents?id=iEhSAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA2&lpg=PA2&dq=patent+867006+dust&source=bl&ots=sF37zcle3K&sig=3rL57JWeEX6Iz381mUt5NIoS39Y&hl=en&ei=IrTqTIP6B4b0tgP8j62xCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=patent%20867006%20dust&f=false

James Murray Spangler

In 1907, James Murray Spangler
James M. Spangler
James Murray Spangler was an American inventor, salesman and janitor who invented the first commercially successful portable electric vacuum cleaner that revolutionized household carpet cleaning. His device was not the first vacuum cleaner. However, Spangler’s device was the first that was...

, a janitor
Janitor
A janitor or custodian is a professional who takes care of buildings, such as hospitals and schools. Janitors are responsible primarily for cleaning, and often some maintenance and security...

 from Canton, Ohio
Canton, Ohio
Canton is the county seat of Stark County in northeastern Ohio, approximately south of Akron and south of Cleveland.The City of Caton is the largest incorporated area within the Canton-Massillon Metropolitan Statistical Area...

, invented the first practical, portable vacuum cleaner. Crucially, in addition to suction that used an electric fan, a box, and one of his wife's pillowcases, Spangler's design incorporated a rotating brush to loosen debris. Unable to produce the design himself due to lack of funding, he sold the patent in 1908 to William Henry Hoover who had Spangler's machine redesigned with a steel casing, casters, and attachments. Subsequent innovations included the first disposal filter bags in the 1920s and the first upright vacuum cleaner in 1926.

Hoover

Spangler patented his rotating-brush design June 2, 1908, and eventually sold the idea to his cousin's husband, Hoover. He was looking for a new product to sell, as the leather goods produced by his 'Hoover Harness and Leather Goods' company were becoming obsolete, because of the invention of the automobile. In the United States and other countries, the Hoover Company
The Hoover Company
The Hoover Company started out as an American floor care manufacturer based in North Canton, Ohio. It also established a major base in the United Kingdom and for most of the early-and-mid-20th century, it dominated the electric vacuum cleaner industry, to the point where the "hoover" brand name...

 remains one of the leading manufacturers of household goods, including vacuum cleaners; and Hoover became very wealthy from the invention. Indeed, in Britain the name Hoover became synonymous with the vacuum cleaner so much so that one "hoovers one's carpets". Initially called 'The Electric Suction Sweeper Company' - their first vacuum was the 1908 Model O, which sold for $60.

Constellation

Hoover is also notable for an unusual vacuum cleaner, the Hoover Constellation, which is a cylinder type but lacks wheels. Instead, the vacuum cleaner floats on its exhaust, operating as a hovercraft
Hovercraft
A hovercraft is a craft capable of traveling over surfaces while supported by a cushion of slow moving, high-pressure air which is ejected against the surface below and contained within a "skirt." Although supported by air, a hovercraft is not considered an aircraft.Hovercraft are used throughout...

, although this is not true of the earliest models. They had a swivel top hose with the intention being that the user would place the unit in the center of the room, and work around the cleaner. Introduced in 1952, they are collectible, and are easily identified by the spherical shape of the housing. They tended to be loud, had poor cleaning power, and could not float over carpets. But they remain an interesting machine; restored, they work well in homes with lots of hardwood floors.

The Constellations were changed and updated over the years until discontinued in 1975. These Constellations route all of the exhaust under the vacuum using a different airfoil. The updated design is quiet even by modern standards, particularly on carpet as it muffles the sound. These models float on carpet or bare floor—although on hard flooring, the exhaust air tends to scatter any fluff or debris around.

Hoover has now re-released an updated version of this later model Constellation in the US (model # S3341 in Pearl White and # S3345 in stainless steel). Changes include a HEPA
HEPA
High-Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA is a type of air filter. Filters that are awarded the HEPA accolade are used in various locations, whether in medical facilities, automotive vehicles, airplanes, home filters, or wherever very pure air is sought. The filter must satisfy certain standards of...

 filtration bag, a 12 amp motor, a suction turbine powered rotating brush floor head, and a redesigned version of the handle, which tended to break. This same model was marketed in the UK under the Maytag brand as the Satellite because of licensing restrictions.

The 5.2 amp motor on older US units provides respectable suction but they all lack a motorized brush head. Therefore they generally work better on hard floors or short pile rugs. Old units take Hoover type J paper bags but the slightly smaller type S allergen filtration bags can be easily trimmed to fit the retaining notches on the old vacuums. Replacement motors are still available from Hoover US for some models.

Hoover made another hovering vacuum cleaner model called the Celebrity in 1973. It has a flattened "flying saucer" shape. Hoover added wheels to it to make it a conventional cylinder model after a brief run as a hovering vacuum. It uses "Type H" bags.

Nilfisk

In 1910, P.A. Fisker patented a vacuum cleaner using a name based on the company’s telegram address—Nilfisk. It was the first electric vacuum cleaner in Europe. His design weighed just 17.5 kg and could be operated by a single person. The company Fisker and Nielsen was formed just a few years before. Today the Nilfisk vacuums are delivered by Nilfisk-Advance
Nilfisk-Advance
Nilfisk-Advance is one of the world's leading suppliers of professional cleaning equipment.The company is headquartered in Denmark, with sales companies in 43 countries and manufacturing facilities in Brazil, China, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Mexico and the United States. It has approximately 5000...

.

Electrolux Model V

The first vacuum cleaners were bulky stand-up units and not easily portable. But in 1921 Electrolux
Electrolux
The Electrolux Group is a Swedish appliance maker.As of 2010 the 2nd largest home appliance manufacturer in the world after Whirlpool, its products sell under a variety of brand names including its own and are primarily major appliances and vacuum cleaners...

 launched the Model V, that was designed to lie on the floor on two thin metal runners. This innovation, conceived by Electrolux founder Axel Wenner-Gren
Axel Wenner-Gren
Axel Lennart Wenner-Gren was a Swedish entrepreneur and one of the wealthiest men in the world during the 1930s....

, became a standard feature on generations of future vacuum cleaners.

There is a recorded example of a 1930s Electrolux vacuum cleaner surviving in use for over 70 years, finally breaking in 2008.

Post-World War II

For many years after their introduction, vacuum cleaners remained a luxury item, but after World War II they became common among the middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

es. Vacuums tend to be more common in Western countries because, in most other parts of the world wall-to-wall carpeting
Fitted carpet
Fitted carpet, also wall-to-wall carpet or carpeting, is a carpet intended to cover a floor entirely. In most western countries a"Carpet Layer" or "Carpet Fitter" is usually required to complete a 4 year apprenticeship...

 is uncommon and homes have tile
Tile
A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, stone, metal, or even glass. Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, walls, showers, or other objects such as tabletops...

 or hardwood floors, which are easily swept, wiped, or mopped manually without power assist.

The last decades of the twentieth century saw the more widespread use of technologies developed earlier, including filterless cyclonic dirt separation, central vacuum systems, and rechargeable hand-held vacuums. In addition, miniaturized computer technology and improved batteries allowed the development of a new type of machine — the autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner.

Recent developments

In 2004 a British company released Airider, a hovering vacuum cleaner that floats on a cushion of air. It has claimed to be light weight and easier to maneuver (compared to using wheels), although it is not the first vacuum cleaner to do this — the Hoover Constellation predated it by at least 35 years.

A British inventor has developed a new cleaning technology known as Air Recycling Technology which instead of using a vacuum uses an air stream to collect dust from the carpet. This technology was tested by the Market Transformation Programme (MTP) and shown to be more energy efficient than the vacuum method. Although working prototypes exist, Air Recycling Technology is not currently used in any production cleaner.

Modern configurations

A wide variety of technologies, designs, and configurations are available for both domestic and commercial cleaning jobs.

Upright

Upright vacuum cleaners are common in the US, Britain and several Commonwealth countries, but very unusual in Continental Europe
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

. They take the form of a cleaning head, onto which a handle and bag are attached. Upright designs usually employ a rotating brushroll or beater bar, which removes dirt through a combination of sweeping and vibration. There are two types of upright vacuums; dirty-air/direct fan (found mostly on commercial vacuums), or clean-air/fan-bypass (found on most of today's domestic vacuums).

The older of the two designs, direct-fan cleaners have a large impeller (fan) mounted close to the suction opening, through which the dirt passes directly, before being blown into a bag. The motor is often cooled by a separate cooling fan. Because of their large-bladed fans, and comparatively short airpaths, direct-fan cleaners create a very efficient airflow from a low amount of power, and make great carpet cleaners. Their "above-floor" cleaning power is less efficient, since the airflow is lost when it passes through a long hose, and the fan has been optimized for airflow volume and not suction.

Fan-bypass uprights have their motor mounted after the filter bag. Dust is removed from the airstream by the bag, and usually a filter, before it passes through the fan. The fans are smaller, and are usually a combination of several moving and stationary turbines working in sequence to boost power. The motor is cooled by the airstream passing through it. Fan-bypass vacuums are good for both carpet and above-floor cleaning, since their suction does not significantly diminish over the distance of a hose, as it does in direct-fan cleaners. However, their air-paths are much less efficient, and can require more than twice as much power as direct-fan cleaners to achieve the same results.

The least common upright vacuum cleaners use a drive-belt powered by the suction motor to rotate the brush-roll. However, a more common design of dual motor upright is available. In these cleaners, the suction is provided via a large motor, while the brushroll is powered by a separate, smaller motor, which does not create any suction. The brush-roll motor can sometimes be switched off, so hard floors can be cleaned without the brush-roll scattering the dirt. It may also have an automatic cut-off feature, which shuts the motor off if the brush-roll becomes jammed, protecting it from damage.

Cylinder

Cylinder models (in the US also often called canister models) dominate the European market. They have the motor and dust collector (using a bag or bagless) in a separate unit, usually mounted on wheels, which is connected to the vacuum head by a flexible hose. Their main advantage is flexibility, as you can attach different heads for different tasks, and maneuverability (the head can reach under furniture and makes it very easy to vacuum stairs and vertical surfaces. Many cylinder models have power heads, as standard or add-on equipment, which contain the same sort of mechanical beaters as in upright units, making them as efficient on carpets as upright models. Such beaters are driven by a separate electric motor or a turbine which uses the suction power to spin the brushroll via a drive belt.

Drum

Drum or shop vac models are essentially heavy-duty industrial versions of cylinder vacuum cleaners, where the cylinder consists of a large vertically positioned drum, which can be stationary or on wheels. Smaller versions, for use in garages or small workshops, are usually electrically powered. Larger models, which can store over 200 litres (53 US gallons), are often hooked up to compressed air, utilizing the Venturi effect
Venturi effect
The Venturi effect is the reduction in fluid pressure that results when a fluid flows through a constricted section of pipe. The Venturi effect is named after Giovanni Battista Venturi , an Italian physicist.-Background:...

 to produce a partial vacuum.

Wet/Dry

Wet or wet/dry vacuum cleaners are a specialized form of the cylinder/drum models that can be used to clean up wet or liquid spills. They commonly can accommodate both wet and dry soilage; some are also equipped with a switch or exhaust port for reversing the airflow, a useful function for everything from clearing a clogged hose to blowing dust into a corner for easy collection.

Pneumatic

Pneumatic or pneumatic wet/dry vacuum cleaners are a specialized form of wet/dry models that hook up to compressed air. They commonly can accommodate both wet and dry soilage, a useful feature in industrial plants and manufacturing facilities.

Backpack

Backpack vacuum cleaners are commonly used for commercial cleaning: they allow the user to move rapidly about a large area. They are essentially cylinder vacuum cleaners strapped on the user's back.

Hand-held

Lightweight hand-held vacuum cleaners, either powered from rechargeable batteries or mains power, are also popular for cleaning up smaller spills. Frequently-seen examples include the Black & Decker DustBuster
Black & Decker DustBuster
The Black & Decker DustBuster is a cordless vacuum cleaner that was introduced in January, 1979.It was invented by Mark Proett and developed by Black & Decker. Carroll Gantz, FIDSA, was Manager of the Black & Decker United States Consumer Power Tool Division’s Industrial Design Department at the...

, introduced in 1979, and the various hand-held models from Dirt Devil
Dirt Devil
Dirt Devil is a brand name of household vacuum cleaners and floor care. There are two main units: Power for large houses, and RV unit for smaller houses or apartments, as well as a number of other floor care products including hand-held vacuum cleaners and carpet shampooing machines.-Company...

, first introduced in 1984. Some battery-powered handheld vacuums are wet/dry rated; the appliance must be partially disassembled and cleaned after picking up wet materials, to avoid developing unpleasant odours.

Robotic

In early 1999/2000 several companies developed robotic vacuum cleaners, a form of carpet sweeper
Carpet sweeper
A carpet sweeper is a mechanical device for the cleaning of carpets. These were popular before the introduction of the vacuum cleaner and have been largely superseded by them....

, usually equipped with limited suction power. Some examples are Roomba
Roomba
The Roomba is a series of autonomous robotic vacuum cleaners sold by iRobot. Under normal operating conditions, it is able to navigate a living space and common obstacles while vacuuming the floor...

, Robomaxx
Robomaxx
Robomaxx is a robotic floor cleaner.However, in contrast to most other robotic cleaners, no vacuum cleaner mechanism is present, nor are there any circuits to decide on which path the robot takes. Instead an oil impregnated cloth is attached to the bottom of the robot and this picks up dirt...

, Intellibot, Trilobite
Electrolux Trilobite
The Electrolux Trilobite is a robotic vacuum cleaner manufactured by the Swedish corporation Electrolux. It takes its name from the extinct arthropod, which scoured the ocean's floor. The original prototype cleaner was first seen on the BBC television programme, "Tomorrow's World", in 1996; when it...

, FloorBot and Dyson
Dyson
-People:*Andre Dyson , an American football player*Charles W. Dyson , a U.S. Navy rear admiral*Esther Dyson , consultant and philosopher in emerging digital technology, the daughter of Freeman Dyson...

. These machines move autonomously
Autonomous robot
Autonomous robots are robots that can perform desired tasks in unstructured environments without continuous human guidance. Many kinds of robots have some degree of autonomy. Different robots can be autonomous in different ways...

, usually in a mostly chaotic pattern ("random bounce") across a floor, collecting surface dust and debris into a dustbin. They usually can navigate around furniture and come back to a docking station to charge their batteries, and a few are able to empty their dust containers into the dock as well.

Most robotic vacuum cleaners are designed for home use, although there are more capable models for operation in offices, hotels, hospitals, woodshops, etc. Most models are equipped with motorized brushes that sweep debris from the floor into a collection bin. Additionally, some such as the Roomba are equipped with an impeller motor to create an actual vacuum, to collect finer dust particles. By the end of 2003 about 570,000 units were sold worldwide.

The Dyson robotic vacuum cleaner (DC06) was too expensive for home use due to its high technical specifications. Thus, it was never released, although it is claimed that it would have been the first robotic vacuum cleaner sold.

Cyclonic

Portable vacuum cleaners working on the cyclonic separation
Cyclonic separation
Cyclonic separation is a method of removing particulates from an air, gas or liquid stream, without the use of filters, through vortex separation. Rotational effects and gravity are used to separate mixtures of solids and fluids...

 principle became popular in the 1990s. This dirt separation principle was well known and often used in central vacuum systems, but had not previously been widely applied to portable units. Cleveland's P.A. Geier Company had obtained a patent on a cyclonic vacuum cleaner as early as 1928, which was later sold to Health-Mor in 1939.

In 1979, James Dyson
James Dyson
Sir James Dyson is a British industrial designer and founder of the Dyson company.He is best known as the inventor of the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner, which works on the principle of cyclonic separation. His net worth in 2011 was said to be £1.45 billion.-Early life:Dyson was born in...

 introduced a portable unit with cyclonic separation, adapting this design from industrial saw mills. He launched his cyclone cleaner first in Japan in the 1980s at a cost of about US$1800 and in 1993 brought out the Dyson DC01 upright in the UK for £200. Critics expected that people would not buy a vacuum cleaner at twice the price of a conventional unit, but the Dyson design later became the most popular cleaner in the UK.

Cyclonic cleaners do not use filtration bags. Instead, the dust is separated in a detachable cylindrical collection vessel or bin. Air and dust are sucked at high speed into the collection vessel at a direction tangential to the vessel wall, creating a fast-spinning vortex
Vortex
A vortex is a spinning, often turbulent,flow of fluid. Any spiral motion with closed streamlines is vortex flow. The motion of the fluid swirling rapidly around a center is called a vortex...

. The dust particles and other debris move to the outside of the vessel by centrifugal force
Centrifugal force
Centrifugal force can generally be any force directed outward relative to some origin. More particularly, in classical mechanics, the centrifugal force is an outward force which arises when describing the motion of objects in a rotating reference frame...

, where they fall due to gravity.

In fixed-installation central vacuum cleaners, the cleaned air may be exhausted directly outside without need for further filtration. A well-designed cyclonic filtration system does not lose suction power due to airflow restriction, until the collection vessel is almost full. This is in marked contrast to filter bag systems, which lose suction as pores in the filter become clogged as dirt and dust are collected.

In portable cyclonic models, the cleaned air from the center of the vortex is expelled from the machine after passing through a number of successively finer filters at the top of the container. The first filter is intended to trap particles which could damage the subsequent filters that remove fine dust particles. The filters must regularly be cleaned or replaced to ensure that the machine continues to perform efficiently.

Since Dyson's success in raising public awareness of cyclonic separation, several other companies have introduced cyclone models. Competing manufacturers include Hoover, Bissell, Eureka, Electrolux, Filter Queen, etc., and the cheapest models are no more expensive than a conventional cleaner.

Central

Central vacuum cleaner
Central vacuum cleaner
A central vacuum cleaner is a type of vacuum cleaner appliance, installed into a building as a semi-permanent fixture. Central vacuum systems are designed to remove dirt and debris from homes and buildings, sending dirt particles through tubing installed inside the walls to a collection container...

s
, also known as built-in or ducted, are a type of cylinder model which has the motor and dirt filtration unit located in a central location in a building, and connected by pipes to fixed vacuum inlets installed throughout the building. Only the hose and cleaning head need be carried from room to room, and the hose is commonly 8 m (25 ft) long, allowing a large range of movement without changing vacuum inlets. Plastic or metal piping connects the inlets to the central unit. The vacuum head may be unpowered, or have beaters operated by an electric motor or by an air-driven turbine
Turbine
A turbine is a rotary engine that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into useful work.The simplest turbines have one moving part, a rotor assembly, which is a shaft or drum with blades attached. Moving fluid acts on the blades, or the blades react to the flow, so that they move and...

.

The dirt bag or collection bin in a central vacuum system is usually so large that emptying or changing needs to be done less often, perhaps a few times per year for an ordinary household. The central unit usually stays in stand-by, and is turned on by a switch on the handle of the hose. Alternately, the unit powers up when the hose is plugged into the wall inlet, when the metal hose connector makes contact with two prongs in the wall inlet and control current is transmitted through low voltage wires to the main unit.

A central vacuum typically produces greater suction than common portable vacuum cleaners, because a larger fan and more powerful motor can be used when they are not required to be portable. A cyclonic separation system, if used, does not lose suction as the collection container fills up, until the container is nearly full. This is in marked contrast to filter bag designs, which start losing suction immediately as pores in the filter become clogged by accumulated dirt and dust.

A benefit to allergy sufferers is that unlike a standard vacuum cleaner, which must blow some of the dirt collected back into the room being cleaned (no matter how efficient its filtration), a central vacuum removes all the dirt collected to the central unit. Since this central unit is usually located outside the living area, no dust is recirculated back into the room being cleaned. Also it is possible on most newer models to vent the exhaust entirely outside, even with the unit inside the living quarters.

In addition, because of the remote location of the motor unit, there is much less noise in the room being cleaned than with a standard vacuum cleaner.

Other variations

Some vacuum cleaners include an electric mop
Mop
A mop is a mass or bundle of coarse strings or yarn, etc., or a piece of cloth, sponge, or other absorbent material, attached to a pole or stick. It is used to soak up liquid, for cleaning floors and other surfaces, or to mop up dust, or for other cleaning purposes...

 in the same machine: for a dry and a later wet clean.

The iRobot
IRobot
iRobot Corporation is an American advanced technology company founded in 1990 and incorporated in Delaware in 2000, the iRobot Corporation designs robots such as an autonomous home vacuum cleaner , the Scooba that scrubs and cleans hard floors, and military and police robots, such as the PackBot...

 company developed the Scooba
Scooba
Scooba is an automated robotic floor washer produced by iRobot. It was released in limited numbers in December 2005 for the Christmas season with full production starting in early 2006...

, a robotic wet vacuum cleaner that carries its own cleaning solution, applies it and scrubs the floor, and vacuums the dirty water into a collection tank.

Technology

A vacuum's suction is caused by a difference in air pressure. An electric fan reduces the pressure inside the machine. Atmospheric pressure then pushes the air through the carpet and into the nozzle, and so the dust is literally pushed into the bag.

Tests have shown that vacuuming can kill 100% of young fleas and 96% of adult fleas.

Exhaust filtration

Vacuums by their nature cause dust to become airborne, by exhausting air that is not completely filtered. This can cause health problems since the operator ends up inhaling this dust. There are several methods manufacturers are using to solve this problem. Some methods may be combined together in a single vacuum. Typically the filter is positioned so that the incoming air passes through it before it reaches the motor. Typically, the filtered air then passes through the motor for cooling purposes.

Ordinary vacuum cleaners should never be used to clean up asbestos
Asbestos
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long, thin fibrous crystals...

 fibres, even those fitted with a HEPA
HEPA
High-Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA is a type of air filter. Filters that are awarded the HEPA accolade are used in various locations, whether in medical facilities, automotive vehicles, airplanes, home filters, or wherever very pure air is sought. The filter must satisfy certain standards of...

 filter.
  • Bag: The bag is the typical method to capture the debris vacuumed up. It involves a paper or fabric bag that allows air to pass through, but attempts to trap all dust and debris in the bag. The bag may be disposable, or designed to be cleaned and re-used.
  • Bagless: In non-cyclonic bagless models, the role of the bag is taken by the container and a reusable filter, equivalent to a reusable fabric bag.
  • Cyclonic separation
    Cyclonic separation
    Cyclonic separation is a method of removing particulates from an air, gas or liquid stream, without the use of filters, through vortex separation. Rotational effects and gravity are used to separate mixtures of solids and fluids...

    :
    Vacuum cleaners employing this method are also bagless. It causes intake air to be cycled or spun so fast that the dust is forced out of the air and falls into a storage bin. The operation is similar to that of a centrifuge
    Centrifuge
    A centrifuge is a piece of equipment, generally driven by an electric motor , that puts an object in rotation around a fixed axis, applying a force perpendicular to the axis...

    .
  • Water filtration: First seen commercially in the 1920s in the form of the Newcombe Separator (later to become the Rexair Rainbow), water filtration vacuum cleaners use water as a filter. It forces the intake air to pass through water before it is exhausted. The idea behind this is that wet dust cannot become airborne. They require the dirty water to be dumped and the machine rinsed out after every use, to prevent unpleasant odors and mold growth.
  • Ultra fine air filter
    Air filter
    A particulate air filter is a device composed of fibrous materials which removes solid particulates such as dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria from the air. A chemical air filter consists of an absorbent or catalyst for the removal of airborne molecular contaminants such as volatile organic compounds...

    :
    Also called HEPA
    HEPA
    High-Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA is a type of air filter. Filters that are awarded the HEPA accolade are used in various locations, whether in medical facilities, automotive vehicles, airplanes, home filters, or wherever very pure air is sought. The filter must satisfy certain standards of...

     filtered. This method is used as a secondary filter after the air has passed through the rest of the machine. It is meant to remove any remaining dust that could harm the operator. Some vacuum cleaners also use a charcoal
    Charcoal
    Charcoal is the dark grey residue consisting of carbon, and any remaining ash, obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances. Charcoal is usually produced by slow pyrolysis, the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen...

     filter to remove odors.

Attachments

Most vacuum cleaners are supplied with various specialized attachments, such as tools, brushes and extension wands, which allow them to reach otherwise inaccessible places or to be used for cleaning a variety of surfaces. The most common of these tools are:
  • Hard floor brush (for non-upright models)
  • Carpeted floor brush (for non-upright models)
  • Dusting brush
  • Crevice tool
  • Upholstery tool

Specifications

The performance of a vacuum cleaner can be measured by several parameters:
  • Airflow, in litre
    Litre
    pic|200px|right|thumb|One litre is equivalent to this cubeEach side is 10 cm1 litre water = 1 kilogram water The litre is a metric system unit of volume equal to 1 cubic decimetre , to 1,000 cubic centimetres , and to 1/1,000 cubic metre...

    s per second
    Second
    The second is a unit of measurement of time, and is the International System of Units base unit of time. It may be measured using a clock....

     [l/s] or cubic feet
    Cubic foot
    The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

     per minute (CFM or ft³/min)
  • Air speed, in metres per second [m/s] or miles per hour [mph]
  • Suction, vacuum, or water lift, in pascals
    Pascal (unit)
    The pascal is the SI derived unit of pressure, internal pressure, stress, Young's modulus and tensile strength, named after the French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, and philosopher Blaise Pascal. It is a measure of force per unit area, defined as one newton per square metre...

     [Pa] or inches of water


Other specifications of a vacuum cleaner are:
  • Weight, in kilograms [kg] or pounds [lb]
  • Noise, in decibel
    Decibel
    The decibel is a logarithmic unit that indicates the ratio of a physical quantity relative to a specified or implied reference level. A ratio in decibels is ten times the logarithm to base 10 of the ratio of two power quantities...

    s [dB]
  • Power cord length and hose length (as applicable)

Suction

The suction is the maximum pressure difference that the pump can create. For example, a typical domestic model has a suction of about negative 20 kPa. This means that it can lower the pressure inside the hose from normal atmospheric pressure (about 100 kPa) by 20 kPa. The higher the suction rating, the more powerful the cleaner. One inch of water is equivalent to about 249 Pa; hence, the typical suction is 80 inches (2,032 mm) of water.

Input power

The power consumption of a cleaner, in watt
Watt
The watt is a derived unit of power in the International System of Units , named after the Scottish engineer James Watt . The unit, defined as one joule per second, measures the rate of energy conversion.-Definition:...

s, is often the only figure stated. Many North American vacuum manufacturers only give the current in ampere
Ampere
The ampere , often shortened to amp, is the SI unit of electric current and is one of the seven SI base units. It is named after André-Marie Ampère , French mathematician and physicist, considered the father of electrodynamics...

s (e.g. "6 amps"), and the consumer is left to multiply that by the line voltage of 120 volts
Volt-ampere
A volt-ampere is the unit used for the apparent power in an electrical circuit, equal to the product of root-mean-square voltage and RMS current. In direct current circuits, this product is equal to the real power in watts...

 to get the approximate power ratings in watts. The rated input power does not indicate the effectiveness of the cleaner, only how much electricity it consumes.

Output power

The amount of input power that is converted into airflow at the end of the cleaning hose is sometimes stated, and is measured in airwatts: the measurement units are simply watts. The word "air" is used to clarify that this is output power, not input electrical power.

The airwatt is derived from English unit
English unit
English units are the historical units of measurement used in England up to 1824, which evolved as a combination of the Anglo-Saxon and Roman systems of units...

s. ASTM International
ASTM International
ASTM International, known until 2001 as the American Society for Testing and Materials , is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services...

 defines the airwatt as 0.117354 * F * S, where F is the rate of air flow in ft3/min and S is the pressure
Pressure
Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure.- Definition :...

 in inches of water. This makes one airwatt equal to 0.9983 watts.

See also

  • Central vacuum cleaner
    Central vacuum cleaner
    A central vacuum cleaner is a type of vacuum cleaner appliance, installed into a building as a semi-permanent fixture. Central vacuum systems are designed to remove dirt and debris from homes and buildings, sending dirt particles through tubing installed inside the walls to a collection container...

  • Home appliance
    Home appliance
    Home appliances are electrical/mechanical machines which accomplish some household functions, such as cooking or cleaning. Home appliances can be classified into:*Major appliances, or White goods*Small appliances, or Brown goods...

  • Hypoallergenic vacuum cleaner
    Hypoallergenic vacuum cleaner
    An hypoallergenic vacuum cleaner removes particles from flooring, carpet, and furniture, as well as the air surrounding the cleaner by suction, creating a non-allergic state.- Existing technology :...

  • Mop
    Mop
    A mop is a mass or bundle of coarse strings or yarn, etc., or a piece of cloth, sponge, or other absorbent material, attached to a pole or stick. It is used to soak up liquid, for cleaning floors and other surfaces, or to mop up dust, or for other cleaning purposes...

  • Street sweeper
    Street sweeper
    A street sweeper or street cleaner can refer to a person's occupation or a machine that cleans streets, usually in an urban area.-History of street sweeping in the United States:...

  • Suction excavator
    Suction excavator
    A suction excavator or vacuum excavator is a construction vehicle that removes earth from a hole on land, or removes heavy debris on land, from various places, by powerful suction through a wide suction pipe which is up to a foot or so diameter...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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