Whether you are buying a vacuum for your home—or, like me, for home and business—do your homework. As a must-have cleaning tool, a vacuum also happens to be the highest priced item you will purchase for your home.
Here are the 8 steps to vacuum bliss:
1. OPEN THE PHONEBOOK.
When I started Penguin’s Best 15 years ago I needed I great, cheap vacuum. First thing I did was open the phone book and looked under “V” for vacuums, and started calling.
2. GO VACUUM SHOPPING.
This is a must-do step. God forbid you ever order a vacuum by mail. By the time you finish reading you’ll know why…The first store I visited on my quest was not very helpful. The employees were not friendly, and I had too many questions. But the second store was a winner! The store owners had daughters my age who also had owned a commercial cleaning business. The owner and his wife gave me a vacuum tutorial that lasted all morning.
To this day, Penguin’s Best uses the same exact vacuum model from the same store (STANTON MILES, Westport, CT).
3. CHEAP IS GOOD.
If you think the more expensive model will clean better, you are wrong. Ask the store owner for an average priced vacuum. Also ask for the warranty, the cost of parts, and if they service the vacuums in-house.
4. UPRIGHT IS A WINNER.
There are two types of vacuums: a canister or an upright. I like the upright. It is easy to handle, and unlike the canister, you worry only about what’s in front of you.
5. ATTACHMENTS OUT.
Most people pick a vacuum with all the attachments ON. Don’t. Most people feel they need and will use every single attachment. You won’t. When was the last time you vacuumed your furniture while vacuuming the house?
It’s lucky you have time to vacuum the house! Get the attachments in a separate box. Your vacuum will be lighter and easier to handle.
** A footnote on the weight: keep your vacuum even lighter by changing the bag (or empty the dirt if bag-less) when the vacuum is half-full. The motor will work better and your vacuum will last longer.
6. HOW IT WORKS.
This is an important step. Have the store’s employees show you how your vacuum works. Don’t settle with the book. You’ll never read it unless there is a problem. You want to learn preventive vacuum care. Ask them to show you how to change the bag, how to change the belt. Practice changing both at the store. If changing the belt needs a box of tools and a few hours, you need to fall out of love with that vacuum model.
Next, test drive the vacuum. Go ahead and vacuum the store. How does it handle? Take your new vacuum home and start a happy relationship with a tool that will help you Keep it Clean at home for many happy years.
7. BAGS. If you are buying a vacuum WITH a bag you need extra bags (normally with your purchase you get two free bags). Buy at least two packs with 12 bags in each packet. They should last you a few years. Depending on use, change your vacuum bag every month at worse every two months.
Familiarize yourself with the brand and code of the vacuum bag designed for your model vacuum.
Remember you cannot use any other bag for your vacuum. ALL BAGS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL.
Also, if the vacuum uses a filter buy extra while at the store. Ask your new friend at the store how often you need to change the filter and get enough for two years.
8. MAKE A FRIEND. Establish a good relationship with the store owner. A thank you card is in order. Your luck with vacuums has just changed. Mazal tov!
TIP BOARD: Before bringing your new vacuum home ask the store to change the cord to a longer one (often the same hook can hold longer cords) so you can vacuum an average size house by plugging it in (a hallway outlet) only once. DUPLICATE: Have a working vacuum (same model and design) on every floor. Easy access to a cleaning tool is a good thing!