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A vacuum cleaner, also known simply as a vacuum or a hoover, is a device that causes
suction Suction is the colloquial term to describe the air pressure Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''ph ...
in order to remove
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dirt
from floors, upholstery, draperies, and other surfaces. It is generally electrically driven. The dirt is collected by either a dustbag or a
cyclone In meteorology, a cyclone () is a large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low atmospheric pressure, counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere as viewed from above (opposite to an ...
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-powered hand-held devices, wheeled canister models for home use, domestic
central vacuum cleaner A central vacuum cleaner (also known as built-in or ducted) 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, send ...
s, huge stationary industrial appliances that can handle several hundred litres of dust before being emptied, and self-propelled
vacuum truck A vacuum truck or vacuum tanker is a tank truck that has a pump and a tank. The pump is designed to pneumatically suck liquids, sludges, slurries, or the like from a location (often underground) into the tank of the truck. The objective is to ...
s for recovery of large spills or removal of contaminated soil. Specialized shop vacuums can be used to suck up both dust and liquids.


Name

Although ''vacuum cleaner'' and the short form ''vacuum'' are neutral names, in some countries (UK, Ireland, USA) ''hoover'' is used instead as a
genericized trademark A generic trademark, also known as a genericized trademark or proprietary eponym, is a trademark or brand name that, because of its popularity or significance, has become the generic term for, or synonymous with, a general class of Good (economic ...
, and as a verb. The name comes from the Hoover Company, one of the first and more influential companies in the development of the device. In New Zealand, particularly the
SouthlandSouthland may refer to: Places Canada * Dunbar–Southlands, Vancouver, British Columbia New Zealand * Southland, New Zealand, a region of New Zealand * Southland District, part of the wider Southland Region * Southland Plains United States * Chi ...
region, it is sometimes called a ''lux'', likewise a genericized trademark and used as a verb. The device is also sometimes called a ''sweeper'' although the same term also refers to a
carpet sweeper A carpet sweeper is a mechanical device for the cleaning of carpets. They were popular before the introduction of the vacuum cleaner A vacuum cleaner, also known simply as a vacuum or a hoover, is a device that causes suction in order to remov ...
, a similar invention.


History

The vacuum cleaner evolved from the
carpet sweeper A carpet sweeper is a mechanical device for the cleaning of carpets. They were popular before the introduction of the vacuum cleaner A vacuum cleaner, also known simply as a vacuum or a hoover, is a device that causes suction in order to remov ...
via manual vacuum cleaners. The first manual models, using bellows, were developed in the 1860s, and the first motorized designs appeared at the turn of the 20th century, with the first decade being the boom decade.


Manual vacuums

In 1860 a manual vacuum cleaner was invented by Daniel Hess of
West Union, Iowa West Union is a city in Fayette County, Iowa Iowa () is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous U ...
. Called a 'carpet sweeper', It gathered dust with a rotating brush and had a bellows for generating suction. Another early model (1869) was the "Whirlwind", invented in
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name ...

Chicago
in 1868 by Ives W. McGaffey. The bulky device worked with a belt driven fan cranked by hand that made it awkward to operate, although it was commercially marketed with mixed success. A similar model was constructed by Melville R. Bissell of
Grand Rapids, Michigan Grand Rapids is a city and county seat of in the U.S. state of . At the , the city had a population of 198,917, which ranks it as the in the state after . Grand Rapids is the central city of the , which has a population of 1,087,592 and a ...
in 1876, who also manufactured
carpet sweeper A carpet sweeper is a mechanical device for the cleaning of carpets. They were popular before the introduction of the vacuum cleaner A vacuum cleaner, also known simply as a vacuum or a hoover, is a device that causes suction in order to remov ...
s. The company later added portable vacuum cleaners to its line of cleaning tools.


Powered vacuum cleaners

The end of the 19th century saw the introduction of powered cleaners, although early types used some variation of blowing air to clean instead of suction.Gantz, Carroll (21 Sep 2012). The Vacuum Cleaner: A History. McFarland. p. 45 One appeared in 1898 when John S. Thurman of
St. Louis St. Louis () is the second-largest city in Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State ( ...

St. Louis
,
Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Missouri
submitted a patent (U.S. No. 634,042) for a "pneumatic carpet renovator" which blew dust into a receptacle. Thurman's system, powered by an
internal combustion engine An internal combustion engine (ICE or IC engine) is a heat engine In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, entropy, and ...

internal combustion engine
, traveled to the customers residence on a horse-drawn wagon as part of a door to door cleaning service. Corrine Dufour of
Savannah, Georgia Savannah ( ) is the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may al ...
received two patents in 1899 and 1900 for another blown air system that seems to have featured the first use of an electric motor. In 1901 powered vacuum cleaners using suction were invented independently by British engineer
Hubert Cecil Booth Hubert Cecil Booth (4 July 1871 – 14 January 1955) was an England, English engineer best known today for having invented one of the first powered vacuum cleaners. He also designed Ferris wheels, suspension bridges and factories. Later he be ...
and American inventor David T. Kenney.Gantz, Carroll (21 Sep 2012). The Vacuum Cleaner: A History. McFarland. p. 49 Booth also may have coined the word "vacuum cleaner". Booth's horse drawn combustion engine powered "Puffing Billy", maybe derived from Thurman's blown air design," relied upon just suction with air pumped through a cloth filter and was offered as part of his cleaning services. Kenney's was a stationary 4,000 lb. steam engine powered system with pipes and hoses reaching into all parts of the building.


Domestic vacuum cleaner

The first vacuum-cleaning device to be portable and marketed at the domestic market was built in 1905 by Walter Griffiths, a manufacturer in
Birmingham Birmingham ( ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Ro ...

Birmingham
,
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
. His ''Griffith's Improved Vacuum Apparatus for Removing Dust from Carpets'' resembled modern-day cleaners; – it was portable, easy to store, and powered by "any one person (such as the ordinary
domestic servant A domestic worker is a person who works within the scope of a residence. The term "domestic service" applies to the equivalent occupational category. In traditional English contexts, such a person was said to be "in service". Domestic workers p ...
)", 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. In 1906 James B. Kirby developed his first of many vacuums called the "Domestic Cyclone". It used water for dirt separation. Later revisions came to be known as the Kirby Vacuum Cleaner. In 1907 department store janitor James Murray Spangler (1848–1915) of
Canton, Ohio Canton () is a city in and the county seat of Stark County, Ohio, Stark County, Ohio, United States. It is located approximately south of Cleveland and south of Akron, Ohio, Akron in Northeast Ohio. The city lies on the edge of Ohio's extensive ...
invented the first portable electric vacuum cleaner, obtaining a patent for the Electric Suction Sweeper on 2 June 1908. Crucially, in addition to suction from an electric fan that blew the dirt and dust into a soap box and one of his wife's pillow cases, Spangler's design utilized a rotating brush to loosen debris. Unable to produce the design himself due to lack of funding, he sold the patent in 1908 to local leather goods manufacturer William Henry Hoover (1849–1932), who had Spangler's machine redesigned with a steel casing, casters, and attachments, founding the company that in 1922 was renamed the Hoover Company. Their first vacuum was the 1908 Model O, which sold for $60. Subsequent innovations included the beater bar in 1919 ("It beats as it sweeps as it cleans"), disposal filter bags in the 1920s, and an upright vacuum cleaner in 1926. In
Continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', lite ...

Continental Europe
, the Fisker and Nielsen company in
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...

Denmark
was the first to sell vacuum cleaners in 1910. The design weighed just and could be operated by a single person. The Swedish company
Electrolux Electrolux AB () is a Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official a ...
launched their Model V in 1921 with the innovation of being able to lie on the floor on two thin metal runners. In the 1930s the Germany company Vorwerk started marketing vacuum cleaners of their own design which they sold through
direct sales Direct selling consists of two main business models: single-level marketing, in which a direct seller makes money by buying products from a parent organization and selling them directly to customers, and multi-level marketing (also known as ''netw ...
.


Post-Second World War

For many years after their introduction, vacuum cleaners remained a luxury item, but after the Second World War, they became common among the
middle class The middle class is a class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an an ...
es. Vacuums tend to be more common in Western countries because in most other parts of the world, wall-to-wall carpeting is uncommon and homes have
tile Tiles are usually thin, square or rectangular coverings manufactured from hard-wearing material such as ceramic, Rock (geology), stone, metal, baked clay, or even glass. They are generally fixed in place in an array to cover roofs, floors, wall ...

tile
or
hardwood floor 250px, An example of solid wood flooring with a top coating of polyurethane Wood flooring is any product manufactured from timber that is designed for use as flooring, either structural or aesthetic. Wood is a common choice as a flooring materi ...
s, which are easily swept, wiped or mopped manually without power assist. The last decades of the 20th 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. In 1997 Electrolux of Sweden demonstrated the , the first autonomous cordless robotic vacuum cleaner on the BBC-TV program ''Tomorrow's World'', introducing it to the consumer market in 2001.


Recent developments

In 2004 a British company released Airider, a hovering vacuum cleaner that floats on a cushion of air, similar to a
hovercraft A hovercraft, also known as an air-cushion vehicle or ACV, is an amphibious craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly the ...

hovercraft
. 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 popular in the United States, Britain and numerous Commonwealth countries, but unusual in some
Continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', lite ...

Continental Europe
an countries. They take the form of a cleaning head, onto which a handle and bag are attached. Upright designs generally 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 effective 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 most 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.


Canister

Canister models (in the UK also often called cylinder 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 the user 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 containing 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 powerAirwatt or air watt is a measurement unit of the effectiveness of vacuum cleaners which refers to airflow and the amount of power (watts) a vacuum cleaner produces and uses. It can also be referred to as a measurement of the energy per unit time of t ...
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 canister 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 , are often hooked up to compressed air, utilizing the
Venturi effect The Venturi effect is the reduction in fluid pressure Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''ph ...
to produce a partial vacuum. Built-in
dust collection system A dust collection system is an air quality Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sp ...
s are also used in many workshops.


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 are generally designed to be used both indoors and outdoors and to accommodate both wet and dry debris; some are also equipped with an exhaust port or detachable blower 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 small canister vacuums strapped onto the user's back.


Hand-held

Lightweight hand-held vacuum cleaners, either powered from
rechargeable batteries A rechargeable battery, storage battery, or secondary cell, (or archaically accumulator) is a type of electrical battery A battery is a device consisting of one or more electrochemical cell An electrochemical cell is a device capabl ...
or mains power, are also popular for cleaning up smaller spills. Frequently seen examples include the Black & Decker DustBuster, which was introduced in 1979, and numerous handheld models by
Dirt Devil Dirt Devil is a brand name of household vacuum cleaners and floor care. There were many different appliances, mostly cleaning based, produced, as well as a variety of other floor care products including handheld vacuum cleaners and carpet shamp ...
, which were 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 odors.


Robotic

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, several companies developed robotic vacuum cleaners, a form of
carpet sweeper A carpet sweeper is a mechanical device for the cleaning of carpets. They were popular before the introduction of the vacuum cleaner A vacuum cleaner, also known simply as a vacuum or a hoover, is a device that causes suction in order to remov ...
usually equipped with limited suction power. Some prominent brands are
Roomba Roomba is a series of autonomous The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российской Федерации, subyekty Rossiyskoy F ...

Roomba
, Neato, and bObsweep. These machines move autonomously while collecting surface dust and debris into a
dustbin A waste container is a container box. File:Railroad car with container loads.jpg, A Flatcar#Spine car, spine car with a 20 ft tank container and an open-top 20 ft intermodal container, intermodal shipping container with canvas cover. ...

dustbin
. They can usually 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 models are equipped with motorized brushes and a vacuum motor to collect dust and debris. While most robotic vacuum cleaners are designed for home use, some models are appropriate for operation in offices, hotels, hospitals, etc. In December 2009, Neato Robotics launched the world's first robotic vacuum cleaner which uses a rotating laser-based range-finder (a form of
lidar Lidar (, also LIDAR, or LiDAR; sometimes LADAR) is a method for determining ranges (variable distance) by targeting an object with a laser A laser is a device that emits light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiati ...
) to scan and map its surrounding. It uses this map to clean the floor methodically, even if it requires the robot to return to its base multiple times to recharge itself. In many cases it will notice when an area of the floor that was previously inaccessible becomes reachable, such as when a dog wakes up from a nap, and return to vacuum that area. It also has the strongest impeller among robotic vacuum cleaners, pulling in 35 CFM (1 m3/min) of air.


Cyclonic

Portable vacuum cleaners working on the
cyclonic separation Cyclonic separation is a method of removing particulates from an air, gas or liquid stream, without the use of air filter, filters, through vortex separation. When removing particulate matter from liquid, a hydrocyclone is used; while from gas, a ...
principle became popular in the 1990s. This dirt separation principle was well known and often used in
central vacuum A central vacuum cleaner (also known as built-in or ducted) 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, send ...
systems. 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, introducing the Filter Queen cyclonic canister vacuum cleaner. In 1979,
James Dyson Sir James Dyson (born 2 May 1947) is a British inventor, industrial designer, farmer and billionaire entrepreneur who founded Dyson Ltd. He is best known as the inventor of the dual cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner A vacuum cleaner, also kno ...

James Dyson
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 released 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 , revealed by colored smoke In fluid dynamics, a vortex (plural vortices/vortexes) is a region in a fluid in which the flow revolves around an axis line, which may be straight or curved. Vortices form in stirred fluids, and may be observed in smo ...

vortex
. The dust particles and other debris move to the outside of the vessel by
centrifugal force In Newtonian mechanics, the centrifugal force is an inertial force A fictitious force (also called a pseudo force, d'Alembert force, or inertial force) is a force that appears to act on a mass whose motion is described using a non-inertial ref ...
, 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 loses suction power due to airflow restriction only when the collection vessel is almost full. This is in marked contrast to filter bag systems, which lose suction when 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, Shark, Eureka, Electrolux, Filter Queen, etc., and the cheapest models are no more expensive than a conventional cleaner.


Central

Central vacuum cleaners, also known as built-in or ducted, are a type of canister/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 A turbine ( or ) (from the Greek , ''tyrbē'', or Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', ...

turbine
. 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. Another benefit of the central vacuum is, 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.


Constellation

The Hoover Company The Hoover Company is a home appliance company founded in Ohio in the US. It also established a major base in the United Kingdom; and, mostly in the 20th century, it dominated the electric vacuum cleaner industry, to the point where the Hoover ...
marketed an unusual vacuum cleaner, called the ''Constellation'', in the 1960s. The cylinder type lacked wheels, and instead the vacuum cleaner floated on its exhaust, operating as a
hovercraft A hovercraft, also known as an air-cushion vehicle or ACV, is an amphibious craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly the ...

hovercraft
, although this is not true of the earliest models. They had a rotating 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 1954, they are collectible, and are easily identified by their spherical shape. But they remain an interesting machine; restored, they work well in homes with many 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 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) filter, also known as high-efficiency particulate absorbing filter and high-efficiency particulate arrestance filter, is an efficiency Efficiency is the (often measurable) ability to avoid wasting m ...
filtration bag, a 12-amp motor, a turbine-powered brush roll, and a redesigned version of the handle. This same model was marketed in the UK under the Maytag brand as the ''Satellite'' because of licensing restrictions. It was sold from 2006 to 2009.


Vehicles

See
vacuum truck A vacuum truck or vacuum tanker is a tank truck that has a pump and a tank. The pump is designed to pneumatically suck liquids, sludges, slurries, or the like from a location (often underground) into the tank of the truck. The objective is to ...
for very big vacuum cleaners mounted on vehicles.


Other

Some other vacuum cleaners include an electric
mop A mop (such as a floor 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, to mop ...

mop
in the same machine: for a dry and a later wet clean. The
iRobot iRobot Corporation is an American technology company that designs and builds consumer robot A robot is a machine—especially one Computer program, programmable by a computer—capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automa ...
company developed the Scooba, 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. A fan driven by an electric motor (often a
universal motor The universal motor is a type of electric motor that can operate on either Alternating current, AC or direct current, DC power and uses an electromagnet as its stator to create its magnetic field. It is a commutated series-wound motor where the sta ...
) 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
flea Flea, the common name for the order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, tr ...
s 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 respirable dust, which is also redeposited into the area being cleaned. There are several methods manufacturers use to control this problem, some of which may be combined in a single appliance. Typically a filter is positioned so that the incoming air passes through it before it reaches the fan, and then the filtered air passes through the motor for cooling purposes. Some other designs use a completely separate air intake for cooling. It is nearly impossible for a practical air filter to completely remove all ultrafine particles from a dirt-laden airstream. An ultra-efficient air filter will immediately clog up and become ineffective during everyday use, and practical filters are a compromise between filtering effectiveness and restriction of airflow. One way to sidestep this problem is to exhaust partially filtered air to the outdoors, which is a design feature of some s. Specially engineered portable vacuums may also utilize this design, but are more awkward to set up and use, requiring temporary installation of a separate exhaust hose to an exterior window. * Bag: The most common method to capture the debris vacuumed up involves a paper or fabric bag that allows air to pass through, but attempts to trap most of the dust and debris. The bag may become clogged with fine dust before it is full. 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 a removable container and a reusable filter, equivalent to a reusable fabric bag. *
Cyclonic separation Cyclonic separation is a method of removing particulates from an air, gas or liquid stream, without the use of air filter, filters, through vortex separation. When removing particulate matter from liquid, a hydrocyclone is used; while from gas, a ...
: A vacuum cleaner employing this method is also bagless. It causes intake air to be cycled or spun so fast that most of the dust is forced out of the air and falls into a collection bin. The operation is similar to that of a
centrifuge A centrifuge is a device that uses centrifugal force In Newtonian mechanics, the centrifugal force is an inertial force A fictitious force (also called a pseudo force, d'Alembert force, or inertial force) is a force that appears to act on ...

centrifuge
. Centrifugal separators eliminate the problem of a bag becoming clogged with fine dust. * Water filtration: First seen commercially in the 1920s in the form of the Newcombe Separator (later to become the Rexair Rainbow), a water filtration vacuum cleaner uses a water bath as a filter. It forces the dirt-laden intake air to pass through water before it is exhausted, so that wet dust cannot become airborne. The water trap filtration and low speed may also allow the user to use the machine as a stand-alone
air purifier An air purifier or air cleaner is a device which removes contaminants from the air in a room to improve indoor air quality. These devices are commonly marketed as being beneficial to allergy sufferers and asthmatics, and at reducing or eliminating ...

air purifier
and
humidifier A humidifier is a device, primarily an electrical appliance A home appliance, also referred to as a domestic appliance, an electric appliance or a household appliance, is a machine which assists in household A household consists of one or sev ...
unit. The dirty water must be dumped out and the appliance must be cleaned after each use, to avoid growth of
bacteria Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are ubiquitous, mostly free-living organisms often consisting of one Cell (biology), biological cell. They constitute a large domain (biology), domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typ ...

bacteria
and
mold A mold () or mould () is a fungus A fungus (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of ...
, causing unpleasant odors. * Ultra fine air filter: Also called
HEPA HEPA (, high-efficiency particulate air) filter, also known as high-efficiency particulate absorbing filter and high-efficiency particulate arrestance filter, is an efficiency Efficiency is the (often measurable) ability to avoid wasting m ...
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 an
activated charcoal "Activated" is a song by English singer Cher Lloyd Cher Lloyd (born 28 July 1993) is an English singer. She finished fourth place in the The X Factor (UK series 7), seventh series of ''The X Factor (UK TV series), The X Factor'' in 2010. ...

activated charcoal
filter to remove odors. Ordinary vacuum cleaners should never be used to clean up
asbestos Asbestos (pronounced: or ) is a naturally occurring fibrous silicate mineral Silicate minerals are rock-forming mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fair ...
fibers, even if fitted with a HEPA filter. Specially-designed machines are required to safely clean up asbestos.


Attachments

Most vacuum cleaners are supplied with numerous 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 designs) * Powered floor nozzle (for canister designs) * Dusting brush * Crevice tool * Upholstery nozzle Dusting brush rus.png, Hard floor brush (for non-upright designs) Щелевая насадка.png, Crevice tool Шланг пылесоса.png, Vacuum hose Насадка пол-ковёр снизу.png, Hard floor brush (for non-upright designs)


Specifications

The performance of a vacuum cleaner can be measured by several parameters: * Airflow, in
litre The litre (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and ...

litre
s per
second The second (symbol: s, also abbreviated: sec) is the base unit of time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, th ...
/sor
cubic feet The cubic foot (symbol ft3)
, .
is an /sor miles per hour * Suction, vacuum, or water lift, in pascals or inches of water Other specifications of a vacuum cleaner are: * Weight, in kilograms or pounds * Noise, in
decibel The decibel (symbol: dB) is a relative unit of measurement A unit of measurement is a definite magnitude Magnitude may refer to: Mathematics *Euclidean vector, a quantity defined by both its magnitude and its direction *Magnitude ( ...

decibel
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 of water.


Input power

The power consumption of a vacuum cleaner, in
watt The watt (symbol: W) is a unit of power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equa ...

watt
s, is often the only figure stated. Many North American vacuum manufacturers give the current only in
ampere The ampere (, ; symbol: A), often shortened to "amp",SI supports only the use of symbols and deprecates the use of abbreviations for units. is the base unit of electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particle In physics ...

ampere
s (e.g. "6 amps"), and the consumer is left to multiply that by the line voltage of 120 volts 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. After August 2014, due to EU rules, manufacture of vacuum cleaners with a power consumption greater than 1600 watts were banned within the EU, and from 2017 no vacuum cleaner with a wattage greater than 900 watts was permitted.


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 units are the units of measurement A unit of measurement is a definite magnitude Magnitude may refer to: Mathematics *Euclidean vector, a quantity defined by both its magnitude and its direction *Magnitude (mathematics), th ...
s.
ASTM International ASTM International, formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials, is an international standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization ( ...
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 (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force In physics, a force is an influence that can change the motion (physics), motion of an Physical object, object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity (e.g. moving fr ...

pressure
in
inches of water file:Inch tape.jpg, Measuring tape with inches The inch (symbol: in or prime (symbol), ″) is a Units of measurement, unit of length in the imperial units, (British) imperial and United States customary units, United States customary Syste ...
. This makes one airwatt equal to 0.9983 watts.


Peak horsepower

The peak horsepower of a vacuum cleaner is often measured by removal of any cooling fans and calculating power based on the motor's power plus the rotational inertial energy stored the motor armature and centrifugal blower. A peak horsepower rating is often an impractical figure and is only valid for a very short period. Continuous power is typically far lower.


See also

*
Home appliance A home appliance, also referred to as a domestic appliance, an electric appliance or a household appliance, is a machine which assists in household A household consists of one or several persons who live in the same dwelling In law, a dw ...
* Hypoallergenic vacuum cleaner *
List of vacuum cleaners This is a list of vacuum cleaners and vacuum cleaner manufacturers. A vacuum cleaner is a device that uses an air pump to create a partial vacuum to suction, suck up dust and dirt, usually from floors, and optionally from other surfaces as well. ...
*
Street sweeper in Mexico City, 2004 of street sweeper in St. Petersburg, Russia, 2006-2009 File:Streetsweeper CN100 Sinder.jpg, A compact street sweeper tackles litter in Mexico City, 2007. A street sweeper or street cleaner may refer to a person's Job ( ...

Street sweeper
*
Suction excavator A suction excavator or vacuum excavator is a construction vehicle that removes materials from a hole on land, or removes heavy debris on land. Description Suction excavation is a new solution to traditional excavation problems. Suction excavatio ...


References


Further reading

* Booth, H. Cecil "The origin of the vacuum cleaner," ''Transactions of the Newcomen Society'', 1934–1935, Volume 15. * Gantz, Carroll. ''The Vacuum Cleaner: A History'' (McFarland, 2012), 230 pp


External links


''How Stuff Works – Vacuum Cleaner''

HEPA & ULPA vacuum cleaners – what they can and can’t do for IAQ
*

{{DEFAULTSORT:Vacuum Cleaner 1860 introductions American inventions Cleaning tools English inventions Floors Gas technologies Home appliances Home automation 19th-century inventions