Saturday, January 26, 2008

Rules To Making a Wise Vacuum Cleaner Purchase

As a small store owner for over 35 years, I have learned what it takes to stay in business. I understand the notion that it takes years to find a customer and only seconds to lose one. With that, I had to become more and more involved in pleasing customers to keep them. So I started to pay a lot more attention to the inherent traits of vacuum cleaners that I saw excel and also to common qualities of those that fail. I came to realize that there are "Rules To Buying a Vacuum Cleaner." I have applied what I have learned about quality vacuums throughout the years to create this guideline to help my customers make decisions.

I give you the following information for you to use as you will. Remember that you should shop, study, and compare before you purchase.
If you are considering a vacuum to purchase or just hate your current vacuum - you have found the right place. I assure you, if you choose a vacuum based on these rules, you will have a vacuum for a lifetime. Those that don't follow these rules to making a wise vacuum cleaner purchase are far more likely to buy a piece of junk and then subsequently buy another throw-away to replace it. There is no doubt about it.

**In honor of full disclosure, the rules below are sculpted based on the Miele Vacuum Cleaner, as it fulfills each rule and sets a precedent the vacuum industry only wished it can follow. As always, if you have any questions please call or email me.

Let's begin...

Rule #1: Make sure the architecture is sturdy, practical, and mechanically sound.

Belt? Geared belts are the way to go. The reality is that you never have to change one again. No more changing vacuum belts. A traditional flat vacuum belt will stretch, slip and wear out quickly, whereas the Miele has geared belts - which are permanent. The belt moves in tandem with the motor, so it will last the life of the power head. The cherry on top is that geared belts have fibers going through it to which adds strength to the belt. On top of that, they are not a hassle to put on. You do not have to stretch it over a shaft, it slides over the shaft.
The benefit of all this to you is simple. If you pick up a sock under your couch, or even a fringe from your throw rug, the power head automatically shuts off. You remove the clogged item then hit the reset button, and your back to vacuuming!

The Materials can take abuse. All Miele vacuums are constructed from high-quality ABS plastic material, which is the same material used in an NFL football helmet or motorcycle crash helmet. This essentially makes the architecture durable for a lifetime of use. Additionally, this vacuum cleaner comes standard with a crush-proof hose. The electric or non-electric hose can withstand my 250lb weight after I stand on it time after time and it does not break, kink or have an electrical short. The Miele wands are made of metal (stainless steel), not plastic and are telescopic. It carries three attachments accompanied with natural horsehair bristles, a crevice tool, and a furniture tool with lint and thread lifter strips on-board right under the lid.

Yet another interesting nuglet of information about the machine, not so conspicuous to the average consumer, is the automatic cord rewind. On other machines, if you pull too hard on the cord, you will pull the cord right out of the vacuum socket. Well, on the Miele, you can carry the machine from the cord, and it will not pull out. I have swung the Miele vacuum like a lasso around my head and body. Moreover, my customers who own a Miele have run over they're cords numerous times and the cords don’t get chewed up.

With a Bypass system, nothing goes through the fan or motor.
A bypass system means that the dirt will not go through the fan or motor, but rather bypass it and go directly into the bag. In most vacuum cleaners, the dirt will go through the fan of the motor. If you pick up a medium-to-large sized object, you are in for a costly repair. In the Miele, both the motor and fan sit behind the vacuum bag. Therefore, dirt or any object you pickup, goes straight to the bag, giving your machine a much longer life-span.

Rule #2: Particles drawn in should not re-enter the air; the right filtration system is key.

A vacuum cleaner's filtration system is essential to making your home dirt free. Why? Well, if the vacuum is not trapping the dust and dirt that you pick up, what good is it? You’re just re-circulating and recycling the dirt and dust back into the air, which actually reinvigorates your vacuum cycle for the following week. No need to vacuum then, just get a fan and broom and be on your merry way.

To bring the point home, when you open the window shade and see the small particles and dust glimmering in the sunlight – that’s what I am talking about here. Your breathing that stuff in through your nose and lungs..Yuck.

A “true” HEPA filter must be in place. With a true HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, particles should be trapped all the way down to 0.03 microns in size, or 1/300th of a human hair – including, pollen, dust mites and their feces, which are known irritants to trigger allergies. A true HEPA filter, which is found in the Miele vacuum, captures and retains 99.97% of these lung-damaging particles and bacteria to .03 microns. While many vacuums found in large retail stores are labeled “HEPA” filtration, it doesn’t mean it honestly traps the dust to .03 microns. Most of these claims are false and actually fraudulent marketing ploys. HEPA is not a standard regulated by any government or scientific committee. It's very easy for any vacuum brand to tout its HEPA, and they do. As you may have seen, my YouTube videos surely bring this point home. The particle count being expelled by your vacuum is something to pay a lot of attention to. Shop carefully and from a reputable vacuum dealer who really understands vacuum technology and filtration systems for home use.
As it turns out, the Miele is certified “true” HEPA according to the European EN 1822 standard, which is the most stringent standard and confirms it truly removes dust and particles down to 0.03 microns. This standard is not used in the US. And, for the record, I have tested the Miele vacuums and they are indeed “true” HEPA (again, see my YouTube videos). This is not opinion, this is fact as I empirically test all vacuums and find out the actual particles coming out of the machine to derive if the vacuum really is trapping the dust. When I test the particulate count from the Miele, you can see it traps all particles to 0.03 microns – on the particle counter it reads 0 particles emitted per cubic foot. To contrast, a new Oreck I tested emits 8,500,000 particulates per cubic foot – its driving the contaminates airborne.
Which leads to my conclusion about all of this. With the right “true” HEPA machine, the air being filtered and released back into the room is very, very clean, unlike most vacuums that send dusty, dirty air back into your home.

The vacuum must also be totally sealed. In order for any vacuum cleaner to trap the tiniest of particles, it must NOT only have HEPA filtration, but must also be totally sealed from the vacuum’s, joints, cracks, crevices to the cord compartment and elsewhere. This is what I like to call “vacuum sealed.”
A simple analogy I use to understand this is a “vacuum sealed” zip-lock baggie. Consumers use a vacuum sealed baggie, to seal the food tightly inside so it does not go bad. If you were to puncture a hole in it, then of course the food goes bad or stale. The baggie needs to be sealed at all times and so does a vacuum cleaner. If you put your hand anywhere around a Miele vacuum cleaner, there is no air coming out of it other than where the exhaust is. But there is a “true” HEPA in place making the Miele canisters completely sealed. Again, you must have a “true” HEPA filter right at the exhaust where all airflow must pass through in order to be cleaned. Also, the HEPA filter must be tightly sealed in the housing of the machine too. A sealed vacuum will have no leak areas and will do what it is supposed to do, keeping the dust inside the machine.

There are two kinds of vacuum bags - those that trap the dust and those that don't. You vacuum pounds of dirt, dust and contaminants from your home during each use. Next time you vacuum, open your bag compartment. Take note of the filth that has accumulated in-and-around the vacuum bag. What good is a vacuum bag if it is not trapping the dust?

Most vacuums come equipped with one-ply generic paper bags which have relatively large pores that allow fine dust to escape, lowering indoor air quality, increasing health risks and the need for dusting and more vacuuming. To compare, the Miele’s vacuum bags are not made of paper but rather high filtration cheese cloth with protective foil layering the inside. They are also self-sealing with great density and capture far more fine dust. You will not see the filth built-up around vacuum bag compartment in a Miele. The vacuum gets all the dust, pet hair, sand, tiny allergens, and the floor will stay cleaner longer because next to nothing is left behind.

All this helps determine whether particles are being trapped in the vacuum or driven airborne.

Rule #3: How well the vacuum performs - the real meat and potatoes

Finally, the last part of the equation is suction power. In order to have great suction, it really depends on the vacuum cleaner’s architecture, design, and filtration. We know from above that Miele vacuums check-off these three boxes. It’s the entire vacuum system that determines and enables its performance and suction.

Don't look at amperage as an indicator of performance. Contrary to popular belief, amperage (AMPS) is the amount of electricity it takes to turn on the vacuum, it’s simply the measure of electrical current…It has nothing to do with motor performance or suction power. For example a Porsche may have a 4-cylinder engine. Does that mean it’s slower and lacks the performance of an 8 cylinder engine? Not at all.

What gives a vacuum motor its performance is airflow, and sealed suction. A better indicator of performance, Air flow, is measured in CFM (cubic feet of air/minute), and vacuum cleaners with high CFM ratings have more suction power. All Miele vacuums have high performance German-made motors that produce more than adequate airflow and suction for any vacuuming task. For the engineer in you, Miele vacuums have 141 CFM, while Oreck vacuum cleaners are at an underwhelming 100 CFM. With the airflow of 140CFM and with sealed suction of 100 inches, Miele could pick up TWO 16 lb. bowling balls if you wanted it to. Most vacuums out there (think Oreck) have such poor suction; they rely solely on the bristles picking up the dirt. The Miele vacuum picks everything like sand and pet fur, even without the roller turning.

Power brush (a.k.a.“power head”) separates the men and the boys. In some cases, good vacuuming potential and filtration are defeated by poor design.The power brush for canister make up of about 30 % of how well the vacuum system works controlling features like the speed of the brush and the quality/design of the bristles.

I digress. The Miele’s roller bearings are lubricated ball bearings that last a lifetime. Not only that, if you have an animal and you pick up the air that get’s wrapped around the roller in other vacuums, here, you unlock and remove the roller cover with a coin due to coin slotted lock screws. You can self-service it yourself! Genious. This gives you clear access to the roller for cleaning. You can use the powerhead on the bare floor which does a wonderful job. It has a squeegee underneath to really seal to the ground as well as all rubber wheels that will not scratch your floors. The Miele also has superb edge cleaning - dirt that is found along the edges of your wall - it will pick up ever piece, guarantee it.

Closing Thoughts. In sum, Miele is the Mercedez-Benz of architecture, design, filtration and performance; Just powerful workhorses that have lasted the test of time, and garnered much respect along the way. Miele products are built to last 20 years under normal use and the motor has a 7-year warranty. Enough said. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Truthfully cleaning the air, Honestly trapping the dirt we vacuum

I try to have open lines of communications with anyone who is truly interested in quality tried-and-tested products for cleaning the home. From my YouTube videos to, emailing or even my brick and mortar AAA Vacuum and Allergy Relief store, I have have created an open business model - to expose the truth about cleaning the air we breathe and honestly trapping the dirt we vacuum.

Over the past months, I have received many emails of folks thanking me for my efforts, but with little media attention. Finally, our local paper here in New Jersey acknowledged us. They should be writing this blog. See below write-up!

Most homes are filled with dust mites (and their excrement), pollen, pet dander, and other pollutants that you can't see with the naked eye. With a multitude of air purifiers and vacuum cleaners on the market that claim to be HEPA – how do you know for sure?

Gerry Rubin, local business owner of AAA VAC in Watchung and recently started a blog called "Consumer Reporter," as a vehicle to educate consumers about the vacuum and air purification market. Gerry as also been on ABC'S channel 7 new series called "I-CAUGHT". As an environmental engineer Gerry has tested hospitals in the Philippines, zone b of the world trade center and spoken with international Governor Peter laurel of the Philippines. We take air quality for granted in the United States. Children in 3rd world countries are dying in the thousands from unhealthy air. Air quality in U.S. homes is just as bad.

What is even more interesting is to be found in Gerry's YouTube videos, particularly in his discussion surrounding vacuum and air purification filters and sealed systems. Gerry has tested countless vacuums and purification systems that claim to be HEPA but, in fact, actually lack HEPA filtration efficiency. He goes on to say "they
simply do not deliver what they claim--- they do not trap the dust to 99.97%, up to 0.3 microns." To find real HEPA machines, Gerry tests products (where the air flows through) with an actual particle counter (like the ones used at Ground Zero in NYC to test airborne contaminations). He not only tests the middle of the filter but also
the side edges and other areas of the chassis where, more often than not, there is a high reading due to leakage.

Notably, Gerry also tests products that work – he has found vacuums and air purifiers on the market that does trap the dust. His particulate analysis reveals both the Miele and IQAir brands offer completely sealed systems which are truly HEPA, and help to keep the dirt and dust where it should be – in the machine. Thus far, he has posted 9 tests on Youtube of the more popular vacuums and air purifiers on the market. I highly suggest you check to see if your vacuum or purifier is tested – you should see what he reveals!

Simply go to and search for Hoover Vacuum or Oreck Vacuum. Operating under the alias of "Consumer Reporter," he will surely be one of the first to be displayed. He also performs particle tests on vacuums and air purifiers in his
store too. Bring in your machines and see what he discovers. He's been in business for over 30 yrs and AAA VAC (formerly Westfield Vacuum & Allergy Relief) carries a complete line of cleaning solutions for a healthy home. He installs sealed central vacuum systems. Repairs and service are also done on site as well as in home. Feel free to call him at 908-668-4600 with any questions or visit his blog at and his website

November 2007 issue of "The Warren Showcase" - Supporting The Warren Business and
Professional Association