One of the main objections facility managers have to day cleaning is the perceived potential for disruption of workers caused by loud equipment and its effect on productivity.

This concern has encouraged vacuum manufacturers to create vacuums that run at decibel levels that do not interrupt occupant workflow.  

“Manufacturers have answered the call to create quieter machines,” says Steve Spencer, facilities specialist, State Farm Insurance, Bloomington, Ill.

Many manufacturers offer lightweight, ergonomic, HEPA-filtered machines at 68 decibels or lower. To put that level into context, a normal conversation is around 67 decibels. A bonus of HEPA filters is that they can act as a muffler, masking some of the motor’s noise.

The evolution of carpet equipment motors is a fascinating one, says Craig Jasper, vice president of the IICRC.

“In the past, equipment motors were designed to sound louder so that people would think they were more powerful,” Jasper says. “Now, that trend has reversed and machines are becoming quieter.”

The quest for quieter machines, as well as improved energy efficiency and productivity has resulted in more dual motor vacuums being produced for commercial cleaning.

“Single motor machines use one motor to create suction as well as propel the brush so they need to be bigger and beefier,” Spencer says. “If you’ve got one motor for vacuuming or suction, and one motor for the brush, you can have smaller motors.”

For this reason, Spencer says dual-motor vacuums make a great candidate for day cleaning applications.

“You should always look at the decibel level on the machine — but it’s not the only thing you should take into consideration,” Spencer adds. “You still have to have the proper cleaning power to remove dirt and have the stamina for daily use, based on the amount of traffic. For higher-traffic areas, you may want to use more powerful, durable equipment.”

Vacuum motor efficiency is something that many manufacturers strive for, particularly since the development of efficiency standards by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), says Jasper.

“Vacuum manufacturers have been trying to get that CRI Gold rating, which means their vacuums are more efficient and they have the power and ability to pick up much more,” he says.

Soil removal has drastically improved as vacuums have become more efficient.

“Seventy-four to 79 percent of soil in carpet is insoluble, so it does not dissolve. It picks up best with a dry vacuum. And now, thanks to advancements in efficiency, small particulates are not being blown back into the air,” Jasper says. “When we go to clean carpets we don’t have to get the carpet as wet or work as hard.”

Extractors, too, are being designed with smaller motors, making the machines more efficient, he adds.

“You’re getting much quicker dry times, much more thorough extraction, and you’re not beating as large of a motor,” Jasper says.

Similarly, dry extraction methods use a controlled amount of moisture that doesn’t soak carpets. In a day cleaning program, this means there will be very little downtime.

Quicker dry times are a big bonus in day cleaning programs. It means carpeted areas can be opened to occupants more quickly.

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