This is the second part of a three-part article about battery-powered backpack vacuums.

It takes quite a monetary investment in order for building service contractors to switch from uprights or corded backpack vacuums to battery backpacks. According to Schneider, a machine can cost around $2,000, which is about five to six times more than a corded backpack vacuum; for a company with as many facilities as Southeastern Janitorial, that can be a huge investment.

That’s why, at this point, they’ve started with between 10 to 15 of these vacuums. However, the technology improves all the time.

“As it gets lighter and lighter and the battery power gets longer and longer, we’ll buy more of these,” says Schneider.
The bulk of the expense of this product reflects the price of the battery, he says.

Although there are significant upfront costs, BSCs can recoup a return on their investment in less than a year.

“In our calculations, per 100,000 square feet, we save 45 minutes to an hour of vacuuming time per night. Using that, we can pay this thing off in eight months with the savings we have in labor,” says Schneider.

Stopping to locate an outlet every 100 feet or so can be incredibly time consuming for a janitor, particularly in a large building. An employee who doesn’t have to worry about finding plugs can be more efficient.

“You can clean more carpet more quickly because you’re not dealing with plugging in the cord,” says Schneider.

Schneider also believes that employees are more productive and are inclined to go that extra mile, because they’re not dealing with a cord.

The battery allows janitors to vacuum untethered for about an hour before it needs to be recharged. In most buildings, a wall-mounted charging station is set up in the janitorial closets for easy recharging.

Although the backpack battery can recharge in about 2.5 hours, it’s not efficient for a janitor to wait around. Thus, depending on the size of the building and how much vacuuming is involved, sometimes the janitors will carry along two batteries, switching out one battery while the other one is charging so that they can continue their job with minimal interruption.

The life of the backpack battery is fairly long and can handle approximately 300 recharges. The vacuum’s suction and power does not gradually get weaker as the battery dies. For example, the vacuum will run at full speed and strength even if the battery life is at 10 percent.

“When you charge it, it will run at full speed until the time it dies; you’re not losing vacuum quality,” says Schneider.

previous page of this article:
New Batteries Make Backpack Vacuums Lighter, Longer Lasting
next page of this article:
Battery-Powered Vacuums Improve Safety, Productivity, Maneuverability