Monday, May 14, 2007

Shopping Tips For Vacuum Cleaner Buyers

Choosing the right vacuum that will accomplish the necessary cleaning of your home can be confusing. Are you frustrated by all the different makes and models of vacuum cleaners out there? One general rule is that newer features usually drive up cost.

Metal components in a vacuum cleaner are better than plastic but will make the unit much heavier. Some vacuums may actually put dirt back into your home. A vacuum cleaner should expel or exhaust only fresh, clean air.

You want to make sure to get a vacuum designed for your mixture of carpeting and hard flooring. Vacuums with replaceable bags can add up each year adding significant cost to your initial purchase. Vacuums can lose suction when the filters or bags get clogged and blow dirt back into the air.

Check the height of fully assembled attachments to make sure that you won't be bending over or holding your arm up to use them. Though they may not be more powerful, higher priced uprights have a lot of gadgets that may be handy for your home, providing you use them. Consider where the vacuum cleaner will be stored to make sure it will fit the space.

Canister vacuum cleaners that have onboard tool storage make tools handy to reach. Find out how often belts, filters, and other items will need to be cleaned and/or replaced. Check out the manufacturer's warranty for the new vacuum, and if your place of purchase will extend the warranty.

You'll need to decide whether you want a bag or a bagless vacuum. Always check and see how long the warranty is good for; the longer the better of course. It'll cost more buying a unit with a bag because you'll be buying bags ongoing.

Canisters at the uppermost end of the price range may be merely expensive, and not necessarily of higher quality or more effective. A bagless vacuum may leak dust, dust mites, mold spores, fungus, bacteria and allergen particles into the air, so small you may not be able to see all of them but will be cheaper though in the long run, because you're not buying and using up bags. You may want to find a canister vacuum cleaner with wheels that won't scuff or damage your floors.

Higher priced upright vacuum cleaners may range from $200 to $500, depending on the features. Make sure the machine feels comfortable. The lower priced upright vacuum cleaner may or may not include manual adjustment for the height of the carpet.

HEPA filters trap small particles that may cause respiratory and other problems for asthma and allergy sufferers and others with health problems. When shopping for vacuum cleaners it's a good idea to take your health - (allergies, asthma, respiratory health, back health and physical health) into consideration. A bagless vacuum that uses filters may leak dust, dust mites, mold spores, fungus, bacteria, smoke particles, chemicals and allergen particles into the air, so small you may not be able to see all of them. HEPA is a type of filter that can trap a large amount of very small particles that other vacuum cleaners recirculate back into the air of your home.

It's up to you to decide if a true HEPA is necessary for your family, or if capturing a smaller amount of particles is worth the price break on filter costs; however your family's health is worth paying a little higher price. HEPA-like or HEPA type filters may only capture only 85 to 90 percent of particles and that percent can fall even lower for particles of 1 micron and below, unlike the true or absolute HEPA filters. If possible test air-tightness; you can do this by vacuuming for a little bit with a floor model and see how much dust has collected on the outside of the vacuum.

And just a reminder to make sure you check the warranty. A quality vacuum cleaner can be an excellent investment if you do your homework. Make sure you add on replacement bags to your initial investment if they're required.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

An Example of Nearly Unobservable Changes in Life - Walking Speed

Some changes are measurable but because of their gradual character it requires years to notice the change.

Once I've read a study that investigated the pace at which Bach's music was played over the decades. It appeared that the younger the more recent the performance the faster the music was played. "Has time-management reached the sacred area of the arts," I thought then.

A recent study "headed by British psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman" revealed that "Pedestrians all over the world are moving faster than a decade ago... Psychologists say walking speeds have increased by an average of ten percent in the past ten years... People in the greatest hurry live in Singapore, according to the study of cities in 32 countries. Following in their footsteps are residents of Copenhagen in Denmark and Madrid in Spain."

According to the same study It was also the first time that more people live in cities than on the country side..." therefore affecting more people than ever."

And: "Surprisingly, some of the world's biggest cities did not even make the top five. New York came in at eight..." and London just below 20, where a previous study revealed that The pace of life in the capital of Wales is almost the slowest in the world... London stepped up to the mark as having
the UK's fastest walkers (

Not mentioned in the (first) article (source: is the Fact that this trend is all but healthy. The walking speed is a symptom of stress and contributes to heart-diseases.

Obviously this is not a simple trend that will cease soon, the fast/speed-culture will continue to influence our lives. Interesting also is that globalization makes this bad habit spread as a virus. Eastern cities are the ones that climb on the pace-list.

It is quite probable that the pace-increase is driven by other areas. In sports it is quite natural that whatever previous record is to be broken. But also there will be a limit; the hundred meters Olympic record cannot ever be shortened, or could it?

Culturally, all this conveys that fast = beautiful; not only the olympic records but also Bach's music. It is a pity however that the increased walking pace is not healthy.

The saying goes: the hasty bitch brings forth blind whelps...

Let's hope that there will be a time where the trend will be reversed. That probable requires more than a slow-food counter-initiative.

© 2007 Hans Bool