Let’s face the facts – few people can afford to drop ten grand on a top tier vacuum. Would it be great if we could all own those? Sure. But like you, we know that most homeowners and contractors work on a budget. Here we give you a few tips on how to take your entry level vacuum up a few notches.
First Things First: Good Maintenance Practices
Don’t be tricked into thinking you always need to spend money to upgrade your vacuum. There are several things that you can do right now.
Proper Filter Care
This seems almost too simple – but the better you take care of your filters, the better your vacuum will perform. In fact, having cleaner filters is the only way to get more air flow from the motor.
The hard thing with filters is that sometimes even when they don’t look dirty, they can have very small particulates built up. This is especially true with HEPA filters. Don’t do any of the following on HEPA filters – they need thrown away if they look dirty.
For non-HEPA filters try:
- Using your hand or a tool, beat off the vacuum filter in a well ventilated area until you can’t see any more dust coming off
- Use an air compressor to shoot bursts of air through the filter at close range
- Wash your filters in the washing machine or by hand, if the owners manual permits. Many people are unaware that some of their filters can actually be machine washed.
The motor is the heart of the vacuum and, just like the human heart, if it gets too much ‘stuff’ clogged in it, it does not work as well. Make sure to check for visible dust on your exhaust vents. You can blow them out or, even better, use bursts of compressed air to clean out parts of the motor.
As a motor is like your heart, if you run it too hard for too long of a time, it will not function optimally. Make sure to give your motor periodical breaks between work sessions. If you are working for more than a couple of hours, you should allow 15 minute cool off sessions every hour.
Alright, so you’ve got a bit of a budget to work with. What should you invest in?
Replacing your hose is probably the best thing you can do for your vacuum. Have you ever handled one of those stiff, ABS plastic hoses? It feels like it belongs in your kid’s toy box.
When you put a stronger hose on, preferably a polymer or a rubber based hose, you allow your vacuum to function above and beyond what it started at. They are longer, stronger, often crush-proof, potentially kink-proof, and overall made for tough work environments. Many people have to go back to their tool store when they throw their vacuum in the back of the truck, and the weight of the vacuum alone shatters the hose. If you buy a proper hose, it will probably last longer than your vacuum. We of course recommend our ever popular crush-proof, kink-proof vacuum hose (available in 12 or 25 foot lengths).
Another cool feature of aftermarket hoses is that they can be linked together for longer portions. After about 25 feet, you will lose a bit of suction with each additional inch of hose. But this can be superb if you are needing to run a hose 50 feet while on the job.
Static Proof Your Vacuum
One of the easiest upgrades is to turn your vacuum hose static proof. Some hoses have a tendency to shock the user, which is rather inconvenient.
Take a 6 – 8 foot long piece of copper wire. Unscrew your hose cuff, wrap the wire around the hose, and screw the hose cuff back on over the top. Run the rest of the wire up the inside of the hose, and it will now displace any static build up.
The use of aftermarket accessories can transform your vacuum. Often the vacuum comes with a crevice tool and a floor tool. Consider adding a:
- Squeegee Kit: Allows you to move and suck up water at the same time
- Pet Hair Tool: Uses small, Velcro like material and vacuum suction to really get pet hair off furniture
- Carpet Tool: Uses a beater bar to work on the floor, much like your upright vacuum
- Upholstery Brush: For you house or vehicle
- Wire Brush: Turn your vacuum into a BBQ cleaner or fireplace scrubber (ensure all coals are cold enough you can put your hand into them without getting burned)
With any aftermarket part, be sure to check the diameter of your hose cuff and the diameter of the attachment before buying to ensure they are compatible.
Extend Filter Life Span
Vacuum bags come in a variety of types. If you get ones that properly filter out particulates, you can extend your vacuum’s filter lifespan by 10 times. This is especially important in vacuums that use expensive HEPA filters, that you don’t want to have to replace each couple of months.
Make sure to find a vacuum bag that is durable and can filter well. The better it filters, the more it will extend your vacuum’s ability to work.
You can find many great parts, filters, and accessories as mentioned above from many manufacturers, including us. We also have a line of vacuum dust shrouds that attach to your vacuum on one side, while fitting grinders, saws, drills, and many other tools. This sucks the dust out of your job, making your vacuum more than just a vacuum.
For more information, contact our sales team at (435) 637-5885 or visit www.dustlesstools.com.
We hope that this information can make your ‘just alright’ vacuum, truly great.