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How Does An Upright Vacuum Cleaner Work

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Everybody likes their house all cleaned up and tidy – without stress. But the truth is that in spite of how rigorous our cleaning routine is, our house could still be dirty. This is because dust and dirt particles are so minute that the human eyes cannot see them – cue in a vacuum cleaner.

How Does An Upright Vacuum Cleaner Work

Vacuum cleaners are heaven sent. They clean up the house effortlessly and relieve us from all the stress. But really, how does an upright vacuum cleaner work? All that and more we be considering in this delicious new post.

The vacuum cleaner has a very simple working principle: once it is plugged in, the current operates the electric motor. This motor is in turn connected to the fan which has its blade angled like that of an airplane propeller. As the fan blade rotates, air particles are forced forward making the density of the air particles more in front of the fan but less behind the fan.

The decrease in pressure behind the fan is similar to what happens when you sip drink from a cup with a straw. The level of pressure in the area behind the fan drops less than the pressure outside the vacuum cleaner. This is known as ambient air pressure. This difference in pressure leads to suction in the vacuum cleaner through the intake port, because the air pressure outside is higher than that of the vacuum cleaner.

So there is always a constant stream of air coming through the intake port and going out through the exhaust port so far as the fan is rotating and the passage to the vacuum cleaner remains open, clean and clear. Therefore, a vacuum cleaner needs an intake port (which could include an array of accessories), an exhaust port, an electric motor, a fan, a porous bag and a housing containing some other accessories to carry out its basic working principles.


An electric motor

The electric motor of a vacuum cleaner has a shaft and gets electricity from the mains. The shaft turns a fan that sucks in air (plus any other dirt or debris in its wake) and moves it out the other side of the cleaner into a canister or a bag.

Normally after some time, the vacuum cleaner should stop working because there’s only so much air you can force through a confined space. So to resolve this issue, the vacuum cleaner is built with an exhaust port that expels the air unto the other side so that its cleaning action aca be continuous.

Black and Gray Vacuum Cleaner

A filter

There’s a safety gadget attached to the exhaust part of the vacuum cleaner in the form of a filter. This filter ensures that the air expelled from the vacuum cleaner does not just circulate into the environment again as it can be very hazardous. This is because the air is now contaminated with grime, debris, dirt and fine particles that are not visible to the human eye.

Continuous inhalation could lead to sever health damage to the lungs. An advanced form of the filter is called HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arresting). It helps to filter all the dust and fine particles before expelling clean, fresh air to the environment.


The more attachments and accommodation for accessories a vacuum cleaner has, the better it works. The size of the intake port of the vacuum cleaner is as important as the power of its electric motor. The intake port is the part that sucks in the dirt. And the bigger the size of the port the less suction power it can generate. This is why vacuum cleaners that have attachments with narrow and smaller entry ports tend to have better suction than others.

So in a nutshell, irrespective of the type of vacuum cleaner, they all have the same working principles which entail using negative pressure generated from a fan, sucking it up, filtering it and then releasing it into the environment.


By now we should have known that there are different types of vacuum cleaners. But some people favour the upright type the most due to reasons best known to them. However, one nagging question that often comes up before they buy one is that they want to know how long upright vacuum cleaners really last.

An upright vacuum cleaner can last for an average of eight years, give and take. This means it could be more, or it could be less depending on a couple of factors we will consider soon. The upright vacuum cleaner is the traditional type of vacuum. It is bulky, heavy and normally corded. If you consider all those negatives, they make up for that with its long life span.


For your vacuum cleaner to last long or not, the following factors can come into play.


This is one of the best ways to make sure that your upright vacuum lasts as long as possible. Just like any other piece of equipment, you will need to take care of it so it can also take care of your needs. Make sure you clean it thoroughly at least once every month. Also, if you notice any problem at all, no matter how insignificant you might think it is, please do not ignore it.

Simple actions like emptying the dust bag or canister regularly can play a huge role in keeping your vacuum cleaner in good order. If the canister is filled up and you still use it to clean the house, there’s a good chance you will clog the machine sooner or later. Apart from the dust bags or canisters, it is also important to clean the filters as well.

We’ve explained earlier that the filters are responsible for collecting debris, dirt and dust so that clean air can be passed to the environment. This means the filter itself can get dirty and clogged up. The good thing is that filters can be washed and reused. You do not even need chemicals to do that. But make sure you let them dry out completely before fitting it back into the vacuum cleaner.


Well, the more you use any machine, the more it’s life span reduces especially due to wear and tear. This also applies for vacuum cleaners. It could be worse if you even have to clean large spaces often. Most people make the mistake of cleaning wet floors with upright vacuum cleaners even when they were not built for this. This could lead to electrocution because most of them are corded.

Another thing that might affect how long the vacuum lasts is being reckless and careless with the power cable. It is important to hold the power cord away from the vacuum itself because it might get entangled and cut by the motorized brush, thereby making it unsafe to work with. Also, make sure that you do not pull your vacuum cleaner by its cord whether it is in use or not.

Woman in White T-shirt and Beige Pants Standing Beside Silver Bottom Mount Refrigerator

It is also important to make enough room in the house by tiding it up before using the vacuum cleaner. Stuff like toys, bags, clothes, shoes and the likes should be cleared off before you start using the vacuum. If these objects get caught up by the vacuum cleaner, it will pose more harm than good to it.


Finally, the product you choose to buy has a huge role to play. All products are not the same. They differ in prices and hence, quality. Different manufacturers have different specs they use for specific products. In most cases, branded upright vacuum cleaners are better than unbranded types we buy in our local shops.

We recommend you go for branded products because they have warranty in case anything happens to the vacuum. They also have good parts and their R&D department do their work well. Some even go as far as indicating how long the vacuum could last.


The working principles of a vacuum cleaner is quite easy. But it shouldn’t bother you much so far as it does it’s work efficiently.