Never Trust a Pine Needle! …or a sock, for that matter.

I think it’s about time we had a talk….an important talk about how to play it safe when faced with temptation. Oh, this may be the season of peace and joy – but don’t kid yourself. Dangers lurk around every corner. Ice, snow, empty calories…ha! Those are mere child’s play. I find that the most menacing and destructive forces are those that are inconspicuous, appear common, or seem harmless. Fear the sneaky ones…the little “straws” that break camels’ backs.Pine Needles

Sure, everyone will be doing it: Tediously trimming trees of every shape and size; “Sprucing” up the house with dazzling arrays of evergreen boughs, bows and baubles; Frantically tidying in preparation long-awaited guests. But don’t let the egg nog cloud your judgement…this is a recipe for disaster. In fact, this is the time of year your vacuum cleaner dreads most! It cringes at the memories of last year: Being crashed into furniture, swerving precariously through a gauntlet of loose ribbons and tacks, and choking desperately on shattered glass and you guessed it…pine needles!

Let’s face it…you see that sprinkling of tiny, unassuming pine needles on the floor and dutifully take measures to eliminate the mess. You grab your trusty vacuum, detach the hose and watch with delight as they get sucked into oblivion. Admit it – you even enjoy the delicate “piney” perfume your vacuum acquired in the process. Well, by New Year’s you might have noticed that the evergreen aroma has been replaced by the acrid stench of burning rubber – or worse yet, burnt-up motor! SO WHAT HAPPENED?

If you want to relax and enjoy your holidays, make sure you keep your vacuum happy. Treat it with respect and it will serve you well and without frustration. RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO SUCK UP PINE NEEDLES! And though your holiday may become hectic – also be on the lookout for loose items on the floor like ribbons, pet toys and socks! The most common consequences of sucking up these items in your vacuum are belt breakage, or badly clogging the vacuum’s suction hose. That rogue sock can get lodged in the vacuum’s nozzle, stopping the brushroller and causing the drive belt to burn up (and smell!) And even just a small bunch of pine needles can clump together in a fashion that makes a tight, impenetrable web, clogging the hose! You’ll know this has occurred when you go to vacuum shortly afterward and there’s no suction or “pick-up.” Finding and removing this clog can be a frustrating and time-consuming task. If you’re not careful, you can puncture the hose or cause damage to the electrical wires that are inside some models. But if you neglect the clog long enough, the vacuum’s motor can strain so severely that it will eventually short out! That’s an expensive situation I think you’d rather not encounter.

So do your best to SWEEP those little buggers up. A few stray needles left around the house can be safely vacuumed – but heed my warning and don’t ever let your guard down! However, if you find yourself in a bind, don’t ever be ashamed to stop in Queen Vacuum for help!

What did you learn? How does it apply to you?
More questions…Call or write us – we’re always happy to help!

Your Vacuum is NOT a Garbage Can!

Take it from us (and Oscar, here)…There is stuff you should never suck up with your vacuum – no matter how harmless it looks!Your vacuum is NOT a garbage can

I shamelessly solicited topic advice for this newsletter while I was on Facebook one day. My cousin posted a great question…
“Are there certain things you should NEVER vacuum up? What I thought was going to be used as a quick Q&A piece turned into a full blown article. Lucky you!

The simple answer is “Oh, YES!” There are plenty of vacuum NO-NO’s I can list off the top of my head! Being in the repair business, we see the consequences of sucking up a whole host of bizarre things. But for the sake of this article, let’s look at stuff vacuum users have mistakenly thought would be okay to suck up…

TOP TEN things you should never pick up with your vacuum cleaner (and WHY!):

10. Live Bugs – If you use a bagless vacuum, this isn’t the best idea. You might want to wait until you’re sure all critters are dead before you empty the dirt collection bin! 

9. Broken Glass / Ceramic – If you use a bagless vacuum you risk getting cut by these particles when you empty the dirt bin or clean the filters! Also at risk of getting cut is the vacuum’s drive belt, or hoses. Big chunks can break the vac’s fan, or cause clogs. Only certain vacuums (like Miele, that use a very thick cloth disposable cloth bag) can handle this material safely.

8. Coins or Pebbles – Hard, heavy (albeit small) objects like these can obstruct the brushroller and break the belt, or worse – in certain machines, shatter an upright vacuum’s fan.

7. Staples / Paperclips / Bobby Pins – These can obstruct the brushroller, tear up the belt, or get stuck sideways and cause clogs.

6. Pine Needles, Paper Shreddings or Leaves – These also tend to cause terrible clogs in the hose, and fill your bag prematurely (wasteful….just sweep that stuff up, silly.)

5. Dirt – I don’t care what commercials or advertisements show…flower pot dirt and muddy dog tracks is ALIVE and usually is moist (see below.) Sweep up as much as you can, let the area dry, and then vacuum gently.

4. Kitty Litter – The fine dust clogs the bag and filters, and (obviously) breeds nasty smells and bacteria inside the vacuum!

3. Water / Moist Stuff – You know not to vacuum puddles, but many folk’s vacuum areas that are still damp. The moisture breeds mildew, “sludges up” the brushroller housing and may rust the vac’s motor.

2. Food – Anything perishable or moist will rot inside the vacuum. Greasier foods slime your internal housing and hose. ‘Nuff said! Dry spills like rice, pretzels or a small amount of flour is safe. Dry cereal is ok too, unless is has been touched by milk.

Drum roll Please….

1. Baking Soda / Powders / Sheetrock Dust – This type of fine particulate seems harmless, but can quickly clog the tiny pores of your vacuum’s bag and/or filters. A very small amount is fine…But too much and the vacuum clogs, suffocates and the motor may short out prematurely!

Moral of the story? Your vacuum cleaner is NOT a garbage can! Use a little common sense, and WHEN IN DOUBT – THROW IT OUT. Pick up, sweep up or blot up the questionable item or substance on your floor instead of letting your poor vacuum cleaner consume it!

Is Your Vacuum an Animal? Learn how to TAME that wild, wayward creature!

If you are up to date on television and printed advertising, and/or a fan of the Home Shopping Network, you may believe that an “Animal” vacuum is the long-awaited solution to your challenging home cleaning routine! Perhaps you already own one and sing its praises every day. Perhaps you own one and feel like chucking it out the window for the amount of trouble it gives you.
For those of you in the market for a new machine and eyeing up those aforementioned “Animal” vacs – pay close attention! There is a lot of misconception and blatant misinformation out there regarding the best machines for pet-owning households. We will work on straightening some of that out right now! And if you already have a vacuum you’re generally pleased with, yet often struggle to keep it performing like you expect, you’ll enjoy the helpful tips laid out in this article too.

  

WHAT EXACTLY IS AN “ANIMAL” in the world of vacuums?
If it is a Dyson brand vacuum, that means it’s PURPLE. That’s right, color is the only real difference between any Dyson of the same model series. The main body, motor, filters, brush roller; all the same! What do change are the accessories packaged with it. A Dyson DC65 “Animal” will have an additional turbo tool and possibly a low-reach, bare floor tool (versus a standard DC65 model.)  There’s nothing at all wrong with that setup, per se. Most other brands follow this naming pattern. An “Animal,” “Pet” or “Cat & Dog” model vacuum will usually come with a special set of tools to remove pet hair from challenging surfaces like upholstery and stairs. The issue is that most consumers are under the false impression that the vacuum has more suction, a bigger motor, or better filtration; not necessarily true.
For example, a Miele C3 series Cat & Dog, Marin or HomeCare canister vacuum would ALL handle pet hair incredibly well. Why? In addition to a large capacity filterbag, these “siblings” are also power-teammodels. That means that in addition to raw suction power they are equipped with a robust electric power nozzleto deep clean carpets and rugs. But with the “Cat & Dog” you’ll also enjoy a BONUS handheld turbo brush to easily blast through embedded fur on above-floor surfaces like upholstery, auto interiors, pet beds and more! Lastly, instead of the standard HEPA media exhaust filter (used for allergen control) the Cat & Dog’s filter cartridge is chock-full of odor absorbing activated charcoal to combat stinky dog smells. All C3 series canisters are otherwise the same size, with the same motor and suction power. See the pattern?
Why does your vacuum behave like an errant puppy?
Your particular vacuum may not be an “Animal,” but it sure may act like one sometimes. Has yours ever chewed up a delicate carpet, eaten your shoelaces or puked stuff back out on the floor? Regardless of the brand or type of vacuum you have it is bound to misbehave at some point.However, more often than not, it’s not really the vacuum’s fault. As the owner, YOU are in charge of keeping your vacuum healthy and giving it what it needs at regular intervals. If you don’t take your dog outside in time he’s likely to have an accident inside. Similarly, if you don’t change your vacuum’s bag or filter in time, it will clog and spit debris out. Develop good habits of “grooming” your vacuum’s brushroller to remove excessive hair and string. Also, don’t run your vacuum where it doesn’t belong. Many vacuums are too powerful and aggressive to safely clean delicate area rugs or bare floors. You wouldn’t take your Rottweiler through a stroll through a nursery….not worth the risk, right? Also schedule to bring your vac in for regular, professional checkups (with yours truly) or at the first sign of “illness!
CONCLUSION
Sure, you may feel disappointed or even cheated that an “Animal” model isn’t any different than its relatives. Trust me; the special tools packaged with one can make all the difference in pet hair removal. But they’re only helpful if you use them. AND you still must maintain the vacuum as required in order to keep it working at peak performance, Animal or not!