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Be Wise when Purchasing a Vacuum Cleaner

When it comes to investing in a vacuum cleaner, most of us want to make a wise purchasing decision. Ideally the vacuum cleaner will be effective and efficient, reducing the time and effort required to do our periodic cleaning. Additionally, like any investment, we want it to be dependable, serving us with very little maintenance for many years to come. Making this type of decision involves much more than simply going to your local store, reading the lists of features on the price tags and picking one which is attractive and appears to be what you want. Often this type of decision is affected by influences as trivial as the TV or magazine advertisements which reached you recently or the color and style of a particular vacuum cleaner which catches your attention.

A Better Way to Make a Wise Purchasing Decision

For over fifty-five years the people of south-central Pennsylvania have been benefitting from a much better way of purchasing a vacuum cleaner. They have been making informed decisions based on what they've learned from the sales staff at Ristenbatt Vacuum Cleaner Service, Inc. and by examining and trying various models in their stores.

Now, with the advent of the World Wide Web, you can visit the various pages of our site and learn the multifaceted aspects of vacuum cleaners including the factors which determine their effectiveness, efficiency and durability. Whether you are interested in purchasing a vacuum cleaner or just seeking to learn more about them, you should find this site informative and helpful. By working through the following questions and suggestions, you will be better equipped to choose the vacuum cleaner which is best for you and your particular cleaning needs.

Consider the Surfaces and Areas to be Cleaned

Look around your home or area to be cleaned, paying close attention to the variety of surfaces which need to be cleaned. These may include carpeted and non-carpeted floors, upholstered and wooden furniture, stairs, door frames, window sills, venetian blinds, drapes, picture frames, ceiling fans as well as small nooks and crannies. While looking around, don't overlook the largest area in your home, the air which you and your family breathe. These all require cleaning to maintain a healthy home environment.

While complete periodic cleaning is required, keep in mind the more frequent cleaning requirements of some areas like the kitchen and dining room floors. Also there are those less frequent cleaning chores which sometimes involve water pickup or cleaning soiled carpet fibers.

Examine the Types which may Meet Your Needs

As you can see, there are a variety of different types of surfaces which need to be cleaned. To add to the complexity, there are weekly cleaning tasks, those special tasks which are done rather infrequently and also those which require daily time and attention. Therefore the vacuum cleaner industry has developed a variety of types of vacuum cleaners, some to do a broad range of tasks as well as those which specialize in doing only one or two tasks extremely well.

For more extensive details about of these various types of vacuum cleaners and their features, benefits and uses, see the group of articles under the "Types of Vacuum Cleaners" menu.

Match Your Personal Cleaning Style and Preferences

Give some thought regarding how you go about your routine cleaning tasks. You probably have some specific ways you approach each area to be cleaned. Perhaps you even have other ways of cleaning some surfaces without the use of a vacuum cleaner. Do you prefer using an upright or a canister with power nozzle (power team) to clean your carpeted floors? Do you use a dry mop, broom or vacuum cleaner to clean your wooden, vinyl or ceramic tile floors? What is your approach to cleaning those hard to reach areas under your furniture, in small corners or around those lofty cathedral ceilings? Are you given to detail or do you like to give your cleaning tasks a quick "lick and a promise" and get on with life?

When selecting a vacuum cleaner that will assist you in your cleaning tasks, you want to make sure that it meshes well with your cleaning style and preferences. For more extensive details about this, see the article titled "Match Your Tasks and Cleaning Style."

Confused about Vacuum Cleaner Terminology?

Is your head swimming as you try to decipher terms like HEPA, HEPA Type, CFM, PHP, MACH, micron, amps, air watts, clean-air, effectiveness per amp? That is just a handful of terms which are being thrown around. Some are meaningful while others communicate very little. Read over, or even print our extensive glossary to help you wade through all the clutter of vacuum cleaner terminology.

Address Your Family's Sensitivities to Air Borne Particles

The current cutting edge in vacuum cleaner technology is in the area of improving the filtration efficiencies of vacuum cleaners. Medical science has advanced significantly in the areas of allergy detection and the effects of air borne particles on our general health. The vacuum cleaner industry is taking advantage of the development of advanced filtration media to provide much higher quality exhausted air than was available just a few years ago. This attention to improving the air quality in your home benefits everyone, not just those who have special needs. Where there are special dust related sensitivities, vacuum cleaners which have extremely high filtration efficiencies that meet the HEPA specification are often very helpful. Unfortunately, just adding a HEPA filter to an existing vacuum cleaner design often does not produce a vacuum cleaner which meets the HEPA specification for net filtration. Air and dust leakage before the HEPA exhaust filter is a major problem on some machines. A number of companies including Miele Appliances, Lindhaus U.S.A., SEBO and Electrolux Home Care Products North America (formerly The Eureka Company) have now incorporated HEPA filters into completely sealed systems so the net filtration should meet the HEPA specification.

To learn more about filtration efficiencies and factors which affect the net filtration of vacuum cleaners, read our articles about Filtration Efficiency - HEPA, Micron, etc. and Efficiency of Paper Bags.

Factors which Affect Cleaning Efficiency.

Everyone wants a cleaner which will do a great job of cleaning with minimal time and effort on the part of the user. So why not rush out and buy the one with the highest amperage rating? Well, have you noticed that almost all vacuum cleaners are now rated at twelve amps? Over the years, I've seem amperage ratings climb from a mere 3.5 amps to a whopping 12.0 amps. Has performance actually increased proportionally? Not really! There are many factors which affect a cleaner's efficiency and resulting effectiveness. Incidently, twelve amps is the maximum permitted for an appliance which is plugged into a standard electrical outlet. If you see a rating higher than that, it is probably an Efficiency or Performance Rating.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand and learn how to identify various factors which affect vacuum cleaner performance. For more extensive details about these factors, see the group of articles in the "Vacuum Cleaner Performance Aspects" index.

Basic Construction Materials and Designs

By now quite a few people have learned that purchasing a vacuum cleaner at the low end of the price range isn't a very good idea. At the same time there are many who don't realize that the saying "You get what you pay for." applies to vacuum cleaners as well. In an effort to produce apparently powerful vacuum cleaners with many deluxe features to sell at very low prices, many manufactures have overlooked many important design principles and the use of durable construction materials. After all, these aspects make little difference on how well the vacuum cleaners look on the television promotions. Perhaps they are planning for the vacuum cleaner to last only three to five years so you soon return to the store to purchase another one. Be wise to this type of marketing and be careful to choose a vacuum cleaner which is well designed and constructed with durable materials. A vacuum cleaner is perhaps the hardest used and most abused appliance in the home. It must be able to take hard use and still keep performing dependably.

For more extensive details about durable designs and construction materials, see the group of articles in the "Vacuum Cleaner System Components" index.

Direct Questions to Knowledgeable Resources

Gaining a good understanding about vacuum cleaners is very important in making a wise purchasing decision. Because of the many aspects to consider, it is often helpful to talk directly to a knowledgeable salesperson or technician at a vacuum cleaner specialty store (vac shop) like those at Ristenbatt Vacuum Cleaner Service. You can talk to our knowledgeable staff in person by visiting one of our stores or by calling us toll free at 800-413-2778. We also answer questions submitted by e-mail within a day or two although talking face to face or on the phone is often more beneficial.

Choose a Model Which Best Meets Your Needs

Once you've considered your cleaning needs, personal cleaning style and preferences, addressed special needs and attained a reasonably good understanding of vacuum cleaner performance, design and construction aspects, you are ready to start looking at specific makes and models.

Rather than giving just a few features about each model, we've attempted to give a more detailed description of each model's features and benefits. These pages can be helpful in deciding which model best meets your cleaning needs. Better yet, personally visit a store where you can try various models and talk to a knowledgeable salesperson or technician. Our store near Manheim, Pennsylvania displays many different models of new vacuum cleaners just waiting to be tried and purchased. They like their home in our store but are looking for better homes where they will be loved and appreciated even more.

Purchase from a Reputable Retail Store

Ask among your friends and coworkers to determine which stores in your area have a good reputation and which ones don't. I wish that I could simply recommend that you make your purchase from your local vacuum cleaner specialty store (vac shop) but I find that, while there are many good ones around, there are also some which are operated by people looking to make a fast buck. If possible, purchase from a business which has a reputation for doing reliable repairs at reasonable prices since even the best vacuum cleaners need minor repairs and maintenance on occasion.

Be sure to select a store which is an Authorized Dealer for the specific brand you are purchasing. Purchasing a vacuum cleaner which was obtained "under the table" by the store can create problems should warranty repairs become necessary. Even after the warranty period expires, the much better rapport which the dealer has with the manufacturer can go a long way. We know this from experience since we are an Authorized Dealer for all brands of new cleaners which we sell.

When the founder of Ristenbatt Vacuum Cleaner Service, Sherwood E. Ristenbatt, decided to start his vacuum cleaner business, he determined that he would create an attractive, well lit, neatly arranged store where customers could comfortably examine and try various vacuum cleaners before making a purchase. He also determined that his business would be operated by biblical principles as he lived out his faith. When the business was founded, and even to this day, these characteristics are quite a contrast to what the typical vac shop portrays.

For those wishing to purchase vacuums and supplies from us, we provide free shipping for all orders over $99 when shipped via UPS Ground to anywhere in the contiguous U.S.A. Orders can be placed securely online or by calling us toll free at 800-413-2778 or by FAXing a signed order to 717-665-3263 and charging the purchase to any major credit card account which matches the shipping name and address.

Periodic Maintenance to Improve Performance

Even the most durable vacuum cleaners require some periodic maintenance to keep them performing well. Of course, disposable paper bags need to be changed routinely. Various additional filters need to be changed from time to time in order to keep air flowing freely through them. Many vacuum cleaners with motor driven revolving brushes have rubber belts which stretch and slip more as time passes. They should be changed at least once a year to assure good power transfer to the brush roll. Bristles, especially on revolving brush rolls, wear short or become soft with use and need to be replaced about every five years or so. Changing the bags, filters, belts and bristles as needed will go a long way in keeping your vacuum cleaner performing like new for many years.

Generic drugs are closely regulated by the Food and Drug Administration to assure that a very high standard is maintained. In the vacuum cleaner industry there are numerous generic bags, filters, belts and brushes available but there are no high standards to which they must adhere. While some generic vacuum cleaner supplies are of good quality, many fall far short when it comes to performance and durability. There are huge variances in the construction of filter media used in making disposable paper bags and filters as well as rubber used in making belts.

Beware of dealers which sell or give poorer quality generic paper bags and supplies with your new vacuum cleaner purchase. While these often will reduce the performance of your cleaner, use of them can also void the manufacturer's warranties. These generic supplies often have names like Micro-Lined, Dust Vacuum Corp (DVC), Vacuum Cleaner Bag Corp (VCB), EnviroCare and 3M Filtrete Bags.

To obtain the best performance with the least problems, use supplies make by the manufacturer of your vacuum cleaner. These are often marked with the manufacturer's logo and typically contain phrases like "Genuine Hoover" or "Genuine Eureka Product". Sorry, but deceptive phrases like "Genuine Filter Media" and "To Fit Hoover" are not good signs of quality and performance. The performance of various vacuum cleaner bags is described in our article on the Efficiency of Paper Bags.

A Few Additional Comments

We, the staff at Ristenbatt Vacuum Cleaner Service, hope that you will find the information on our web site both interesting and beneficial in making a wise vacuum cleaner purchase. A large number of people have already expressed their appreciation for our helpful information and many have gone on to purchase directly from us. To all we wish to say a heart felt "Thank you."

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