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How to choose the right vacuum

by Taf Baig Everyone says they use one... its use is listed in almost every carpet cleaning guide and standard.

Vacuuming a customerís carpet before cleaning is important.

But donít just purchase a vacuum cleaner because you found a great deal. You are a professional and you want a professional-grade vacuum cleaner.

How does the vacuum "look"?

You must consider the appearance of your new vacuum cleaner.

As a professional carpet cleaner, itís very important that you have an industrial-looking, heavy-duty vacuum that will show your customers the value of service you are going to provide.

Remember the marketing saying, "Sell the sizzle, not the steak"? It doesnít necessarily have to be a pile lifter, but definitely something your customer will likely not already have.

Donít pick on "watts" alone

Watts has very little to do with the power of the vacuum. It is only an indication of the amount of electricity the vacuum uses.

Some vacuum manufacturers will use the wattage listing as a selling point. Donít be fooled by how much electricity a vacuum will pull Ė or not pull.

HEPA or not to HEPA

High efficiency particulate air filtration (HEPA) has become a buzz word these days, but in reality HEPA has nothing to do with the power of the vacuum or its pickup ability.

Instead, it is the ability of the filter to filter 99.97 percent of particles that are .3 microns (micrometer) or larger.

When prepping a carpet to be cleaned, pickup ability and removing insoluble soils are important. HEPA filtering is good, but not as vital. Your carpet cleaning process will remove smaller, soluble matter.

Green Label or not to Green Label

Green Label is a voluntary testing program for vacuum cleaners that is conducted by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI).

The tests are performed on the vacuumís ability to efficiently remove soil, keep the dust in the machine instead of blowing it back out of the bag (cup) and keeping the carpet looking good.

This test is performed on uprights, canisters, backpacks and even central vacuum cleaners.

If a vacuum has been tested and approved by the Carpet and Rug Institute, then it will have an IAQ (indoor air quality) green label either on the packaging or the vacuum.

This is not the only indication of a good vacuum cleaner, but it is a good gauge in selecting one that has been tested and approved.

Do it yourself test

Take some coins, hair, rice, paper clips, and whatever else you would normally run across when vacuuming to your commercial vacuum supplier.

Test the vacuum cleaner on those items. In the residential carpet cleaning market, you will have coins, hair, rice, paper clips and similar items that your vacuum will have to remove.

Many distributors have a 30-day trial as well.

This is a great way to take one vacuum on some real jobs and see how it performs. Your own test will give you practical information on how the vacuum will work for you.

Taf Baig, an IICRC-certified Master Textile Cleaner, started a successful carpet cleaning company in 1991 and sold it in 2003. He is the founder of the Magic Wand Company, a carpet cleaning equipment and chemical manufacturer. He can be reached through his website at www.magicwandco.com.

See the Koblenz Commercial Vacuum Cleaner