A vacuum cleaner is a must-have tool in your list of household appliances. It sucks up all dust and dirt particles on your floor or carpeting. It filters the dirty air and releases clean air back to your environment, thus keeping your house clean.

A vacuum cleaner works by suction, which is somewhat similar to drinking liquid using a straw — sucking the air out of the straw results in a decrease in the air pressure inside the straw, thus creating a partial vacuum at the bottom end of the straw. Air pressure on the surface of the liquid becomes higher than the air pressure inside the straw. The pressure difference causes the atmospheric pressure to push the fluid up the straw.

Types of vacuum cleaners

There are various models of vacuum cleaners, and they differ according to their functions.  

Basic Types

1.     Canister Vacuum

It has a separate canister and a long wand attached to it. You can use it to clean carpets and bare floor surfaces in large households. It is lighter and more and powerful than stick vacuums.

2.     Handheld Vacuum

You can hold it by hand and use it to suck up dust and dirt particles in the hard-to-reach areas and to clean the inside of cars.

3.     Upright Vacuum

It is suitable for private households. You can use it in general house cleaning either on carpets or bare floors.

4.     Stick vacuum

It has a stick-like handle. It is suitable for cleaning slim or light carpets or rugs.

5.     Robot Vacuum

It’s automated, requires little manual handling. It does all the cleaning while you relax. An app your smartphone can control some later models. It is not ideal if you have shag carpeting.

Different Types

Based on Bagging system

  • Bagged vacuum cleaners
  • Bagless vacuum cleaners

Based on Location

  • Carpeting and Bare floors vacuum cleaners

Working Principle of a Vacuum Cleaner

Though vacuum cleaners differ in appearance from model to model, they operate on similar principles.

Negative Pressure

As the suction fan rotates, air pressure in front of it increases while that behind it decreases. The air pressure outside the vacuum cleaner becomes higher than the pressure behind the suction fan. The atmospheric pressure outside the vacuum cleaner pushes itself in through the intake port to occupy the resulting partial vacuum.

The Electric Motor

When the start switch is activated, the electric current is sent to the electric motor which drives the suction fan and the brush roll if applicable. When the electric motor is running, an area of low pressure behind the fan creates the suction needed to draw the air through the intake port. The air carries dirt, dust, and debris through a hose and into a porous bag or a canister before the clean air exits through the exhaust port.

The Filter

Vacuum cleaner bags must allow air but not debris to pass through to function correctly. Bagless vacuum cleaner canisters use a particular filter to allow air to travel through the system while trapping large particles of dirt and debris. The air passes through a fine filter or HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting) filter before it’s exhausted to clean it and prevent dust from recirculating back into the room.


Keep in mind that intake ports can vary in size. As the size of the intake port increases, the speed at which the air travels through the port increases, and for this reason, vacuum cleaner attachments with small intake ports do a better job of picking up heavy debris than ones with large intake ports.

When using the vacuum cleaner on a hard surface such as wood or tile, the vacuum suction alone effectively draws the dirt and debris into the bag or canister. When vacuuming carpets and rugs, the brush rolls will increase efficiency by dislodging the dust particles from the carpeting. The brush roll is usually driven by the belt that connects to the shaft on the drive motor. Some models allow the user to switch from hard floor care to carpet care by activating a lever that applies tension to the belt. If applicable, the vacuum cleaner will then engage or disengage the brush roll using a tension pulley. If the brush roll doesn’t rotate, the belt has likely broken or worn out and will need replacement. If the belt is intact, the brush roll or tension pulley may have seams and will require cleaning or replacement. The vacuum cleaner losing suction is often caused by a clogged hose, the bag may also need to be changed, the canister emptied or one or more filters may need replacement.

A Few Quick Tips to Help Maintain Your Vacuum Cleaner

Your vacuum cleaner needs simple maintenance to prevent it from breakdown and to ensure it runs smoothly. Here are a few tips:

Check the Bag Regularly

Your vacuum cleaner can only work at its best when you empty the bags regularly. Replace the bag if it’s full.

Clean and Replace the Filters Frequently

Filters trap dust particles that may contaminate your indoor environment. You can rinse and dry foam or plastic filters. As for fabric and paper filters, tap them lightly or shake them to remove dust and dirt particles.

Check the Brush Roll

Objects such as hair and strings can get wrapped around the brush roll. As a result, the brush roll cannot spin properly. Use a pair of scissors or your fingers to pluck them off.

Clean the Hose

Sometimes objects like needles may get trapped in the hose. Hoses also suck up under wares or socks which can clog it, causing it to malfunction. Insert a hook inside the hose to remove them.

Check the Belt

The belt helps keep the brush roll intact. Check if the belt is firmly attached or for damage. Replace it if it’s worn out.

Seek Professional Advice

If you’re unable to fix your vacuum cleaner, feel free to visit a vacuum shop.


Vacuum cleaners are essential household cleaning pieces of equipment. They help get rid of dust and dirt particles that contaminate your household’s air. It’s also necessary that they are regularly cleaned and well maintained.

About the Author James S

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