Several readers wrote asking about speed and productivity when it comes to vacuuming, sweeping, damp mopping and even automated equipment.  


Response:  When one thinks of productivity they need to take into account the various aspects in their interpretation of this concept.  Productivity incorporates both efficiency (how long it takes to perform a task) and effectiveness (how thoroughly is the task performed).  An upright vacuum cleaner can be cheap to purchase but expensive to own when compared to other systems over a one to five year period.  


An upright unit can function as a mini pile lifter in pulling up the nap of certain types of carpet.  To get the most benefit from an upright system, the operator should vacuum slowly giving the unit sufficient time to not only brush the carpet pile but also suck up as much embedded soil, grit, etc. from each pass.  Going at a predetermined pace can allow the unit time to do a better job.  Going too fast will result in embedded soils slowing grinding away at the carpet fibers.  Going too slow can result in burning/abrading the carpet resulting in a worn, frayed appearance.  Caution:  Never allow the unit to stand upright for any extended period of time since, irreparable damage can be done by the rotating brush melting fibers.


Inefficiencies I have noted over the years include rather low vacuuming speed (1,500 SF/Hour), hassle with keeping belts swapped out, dumping cloth bags (use a paper liner if possible), damaged or lost bottom plate covers, belts put on incorrectly (resulting in very poor pick up or pile lifting) and potential injury from pushing the unit back and forth for an extended period of time.


Is there a time and place for uprights and the answer is yes.  We will touch on the issue in a future article.


Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or