Thread Number: 16171
Is lower power ever an advantage?
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Post# 172443   3/7/2012 at 23:09 (2,952 days old) by sanifan ()        

My initial thought is no, but I was wondering.

Just as I was getting into vacuums I purchased an unused NIB Clarke Filtrapac backpack vacuum off the Bay for a decent price. Backpacks are useful for the kind of work I do, so it made sense. Being new to vacuums, though, I didn't have a full understanding of how airflow and water lift numbers compared to other units. I later found that by spec it's not the most powerful vac: 94 CFM for airflow and 68" of lift.

It feels okay at the end of the hose, but those numbers strike me as kinda low. So are there any instances where a lower powered vacuum like this offers a cleaning advantage? And if not, why would they even sell a vac with lower power? Asking price online is not cheap, over $500, so I doubt they've designed it for a budget market (the vac is marketed to commercial institutions, anyhow).

I'm very confused as to why a vacuum designed for professional use would have specs that seem low. Is more power always better, or am I missing something?

Post# 172449 , Reply# 1   3/7/2012 at 23:33 (2,952 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Sometimes, a smaller and less powerful vac can have it's advantages, for example when cleaning out the dust from inside a computer, you don't want something too powerful pulling off the little jumpers cos they're sucking too hard, so something small and low powered while sweeping the dust off with a paintbrush (NEVER the vac's dusting brush!!!) can be useful... :)

Post# 172462 , Reply# 2   3/8/2012 at 06:11 (2,952 days old) by Trebor ()        
RE: discussion from another thread...

about optimum cfm vs H20 lift and the resultant 'sweet' spot for cleaning. A lower powered vacuum with a well designed floor tool may have a much longer optimum sweet spot for dirt removal than a higher powered vacuum. The obsession with increased amps, h20 lift and cfms, and air watts has led all of us, vac aficionados and laymen alike, astray from the real intent and purpose of vacuum cleaners...dirt removal.

An old Hoover with a very low power motor can remove dirt very effectively because its design is very specific for the purpose of removing dirt and sand from rugs. It has a sateen bag that leaks like a sieve, but it does clean rugs quite effectively. Because of it's non-restrictive air flow through the bag, it has a large sweet spot of cleaning.

A Kenmore canister with the old 10" wide power nozzle can be very effective in carpet cleaning. People reject it today because of its narrow width, however, it cleans very deeply because the power is concentrated. Pick up a few ounces of carpet fresh and the sweet spot is gone immediately.

We, and the vacuum buying public who look to us for guidance, forget that dirt removal depends on a variety of interdependent factors, including who uses the vacuum. Lower power does not necessarily mean lower performance if the lower powered vac maintains a longer sweet spot of more effective cleaning.

Post# 172464 , Reply# 3   3/8/2012 at 08:26 (2,951 days old) by venson ()        
Depends on how you look at it . . .

Funny, there's always questions as to power but not many regarding practicality. Nonetheless, if we're speaking of "regular-sized' household vacuums, the issue as to what's better still and will remain up for grabs.

There appear to be two camps. One camp regards no machine of much use unless it's jet-engine powered (kind of a guy thing) and the other doesn't worry over vacuum power as much as getting the job done in an all around good way that allows you to get to the next thing to do in timely fashion. Not seeking miracles, the desirable is decent deep-clean, one- or two-pass surface litter removal on medium pile carpet, quick and reliable bare floor/above-the-floor performance and all achieved without over-effort on the user's part as vacuuming still remains pretty labor intensive no matter what you use.

It's my belief, in past manufacturers were a little more thoughtful as to their machines' overall design -- upright or canister. The better designed machines didn't require landmark power draw or suction to provide good performance because their makers were a bit more sticklers as to brushroll and attachment design.

Before the introduction of power nozzles, American-made canister vacuums -- almost a thing of the past now -- displayed myriad spins on straight-suctions rug tools to sell their worth. The better ideas did well as far as surface cleaning went and the world was a wonderful, happy place without a glut of power. This also applied to upholstery tools (Sunbeam, Filter Queen, Hoover), occasionally dusting tools (AirWay for one) and certainly bare floor tools like Electrolux's which many makers borrowed from.

With outsourcing appearing to have become every product designers' favorite shortcut, speaking current vacuums, we all are generally using the same machine. Quite often, what's to recommend one vacuum from the next when both are merely fans in a can used to power a hose and tools or a revolving brush all come from the same company? All that's left to sell then is power and the perception that MORE power will cure all a household's ills.

Again looking at design, it's probably impossible to run the larger part of the clean-air uprights we have now without high power. Their direct-air counterparts deliver suction to the floor by a relatively short and simple path. No need for a lot of power there, just good seals. However, meaning to show how we may have it all, put a motor with fan in a casing, throw in winding air paths, tubing and hoses with the intention of making the thing "a clever device" and you lose the game without a lot power.

There's a reason vacuum hoses for canister vacs are generally supplied at six-feet or so. Beyond 12 or 14-feet of hose length suction power begins to drop due to friction when you're speaking of the suction production point merely being a fan (and one at that) possibly no more than 5.5 inches in width at work. Even with single-fan motors (currently the usual) working overtime you can't get around physics except by pushing up power and motor speed.

This not to say that power doesn't have its place. If you're a consumer with a house full of active kids and/or pets and entertain often, regular use of a decently designed, well-powered vacuum can be a boon. If you're a single person who doesn't entertain much or a mature married couple with the kids all grown and moved off to California, household requirements for cleaning and cleaning devices are different.

In my household of one I have an inexpensive, 1.25 amp Versa Power stick vac that gets whipped out if the inside and outside mats at my front door miss some of the Florida sand always to be found on my shoes. Its handle can be detached, making it great for whooshing up dry spills, spider webs and strange little black bugs that show no manners by deciding to die on white woodwork. It has no power to speak of but as long as its filter is kept clean it does bare floors here as well as my full-sized 10.7 amp machine. I often use it instead of the bigger machine when I'm preparing to mop. And again -- its all about the design of the thing as well as the task to which it's applied.

The main vacuum's used two to three times a week, mostly at middle-speed with its PN to save fretting over what may get walked into the wall-to-wall that's the predominant flooring in the house.

The living room is no biggie but the bedroom was a problem due to the previous tenant's lack of care. For three weeks or so it felt as though it was just me and the Miele trying to sweep up a sand dune. Though the rug looked quite clean up top, bags kept filling up with heavy, sandy grit. Nonetheless, power wasn't an issue as there was no solution that could render the problem done and gone in just a day. I just vacuumed more (motor full speed to step up the process) until the problem was solved. Now that it is, I do the bedroom rug less and at lower speeds.

Post# 172471 , Reply# 4   3/8/2012 at 10:07 (2,951 days old) by danemodsandy ()        
I Won't Say....

....That lower power is ever an actual advantage, but I do happen to believe that a lot of today's "power" is unnecessary.

If you will think about it, what a vacuum cleaner actually NEEDS to do is to pick up dust and dirt, move it to the bag (or cup if you like those bagless things), and filter the exhaust. That doesn't take a heckuva lot of suction or power, as you can see if you'll put some sand on a hard-surface floor and vacuum it up.

Where the trouble comes in is rugs and carpet, which could not be better designed to trap grit between their tufts and fibers. Once grit is trapped, it does take some extra encouragement to get it back out. There are two main means of doing this. One is a brushroll, standard on uprights since the beginning, and available on canisters for over sixty years. A well-designed brushroll combs and brushes carpet fibers, releasing trapped grit so that the vacuum's airflow can carry it to the bag or cup. There is very little problem with this approach.

The other means of getting at trapped grit is higher suction, which requires a more powerful, higher-revving motor. At an extreme, designers can specify one of those jet-screech, single-stage motors, beating their scrawny chests about how "powerful" the motor is, and how much suction it develops.

Because a single-stage motor is not as robust as a dual-stage motor, the life of the appliance is compromised to gain numerical values that can be used in advertising. For this reason, I favor the older approach, where a good brushroll was used in conjunction with a dual-stage motor for the fan, to get the dust and grit into the bag or cup where it belongs.

So, in a way, it can be said that lower power is something of an advantage if one is looking for long vacuum life; a well-designed vintage vacuum has already lasted far longer than many new ones ever will, and with minor reconditioning (bearings and brushes) can go several more decades. Single-stage motors that are working overtime to force air through nearly impenetrable filtration systems are doomed to early failure in the hands of many consumers, making their "power" a disadvantage.

That's mah story, an' Ah'm stickin' to it....:-)

Post# 172480 , Reply# 5   3/8/2012 at 11:31 (2,951 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

In my previous post, I said that brushrolls have been available on canisters for "over sixty years."

I meant over FIFTY years. Sorry 'bout that!

Post# 172523 , Reply# 6   3/8/2012 at 17:37 (2,951 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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Here, here Trebor et al. I genuinely think its one reason alone to why the Hoover Portapower is so well known and liked - same with the Dirt Devil Handy = the difference with these of course is that they are not back pack vacuums, yet they are low powered enough to still serve a purpose.

The only exception IMHO and preference to "high power" comes down to the canister design and suction only floor heads. Higher power seems to be able to suck out dirt at a stronger rate - naturally. When it comes to uprights, it's lower power all the way. I've vacuumed with high power uprights above 1700 watts and carpet pile can easily be ripped out.

Bear in mind though, that back pack vacuums sometimes either have motors located not necessarily at the bottom - but also at the top or to the sides and depending the bag layout where the dust goes - some backpack vacuums are lower powered because they don't need to be any higher - and also bigger motors also mean, added weight.

Post# 172533 , Reply# 7   3/8/2012 at 18:06 (2,951 days old) by sanifan ()        
A good discussion...

Good points about the sweet spot and the ultimate goal of removing/picking up dirt. When looked in that light one can see how design and implementation play a big role in effectiveness. Not just raw power.

The reason I got the backpack was for quick and efficient detail and above floor cleaning when tenants move out. I don't know why, but for years we didn't do a preliminary detail vacuum before wiping/washing surfaces. You can imagine what a slow and dirty job it was when cleaning years old accumulated dust, dirt, crumbs, and debris out of crevices and kitchen cabinets. There were multiple wipings and rinsing to get it clean. And the job was almost always disgusting, time consuming, and demoralizing. When I started using a detail vac it was a revelation. Once I vacuumed off the bulk of the dust, dirt, kitchen crumbs, and debris, the wipedown was a quick and relatively clean affair. Hallelujah!

I got the backpack for the job but am only now breaking it out. It's such a novel and cool thing to me that I'm reserving it for use in my home, not work. For work I've been using a red Sanitaire Mighty Mite canister. While not as convenient as the backpack, it's the same idea. Mine gets carried on a shoulder strap around the rental house cleaning stuff off of surfaces, crevices, cabinets and shelves, mouldings, light fixtures, floorboards, etc. before wipe down.

The Sanitaire Mighty Mite is specced at 140 CFM. No figures given for waterlift, but it is an impressively powerful little vacuum. Compared to these numbers, those of the Clarke backpack pale. I guess proof will be in the performance once I put it through its paces.

Post# 172605 , Reply# 8   3/9/2012 at 04:46 (2,951 days old) by venson ()        
My favorite backpack vac . . . .

For backpack vacs Nilfisk's Back-uum was quite good. Because of its design -- motor at the bottom, bag chamber up top and flexible connection between -- it was able to conform if you bent or reached. Though not large, the problem I had with mine was that the bulk on my back made it hard turn about if working in tight confines.

I lucked out on the one I bought as it had a receptacle for a power nozzle.

Unfortunately, I think Nilfisk has taken it of its roster for the U.S. if not elsewhere as well in favor of a cheaper to make model.

Post# 172621 , Reply# 9   3/9/2012 at 10:22 (2,950 days old) by Sanifan ()        
I like that Nilfisk...

The articulation is cool.

Here is what the Clarke looks like...

Post# 172622 , Reply# 10   3/9/2012 at 10:31 (2,950 days old) by Sanifan ()        
Clarke in use...

And here is what it looks like in action.

The Clarke Filtrapac is cool because it also has a port for a PN. You can see the lady using one in the pic. It has an interesting connector. It's not the standard pigtail PN connector, like you find on Tristars, Panasonics, and some older vacs. Rather, it is a two pin connector in an ovoid profile plug with two detents on the sides. Rather like a figure 8 shape. It reminds me of the power plug connector on a Playstation game system.

Apparently, one can get the Filtrapac specced for the voltage they use on commercial aircraft. So it's also marketed to airlines or services that clean airliner cabins between flights.

Post# 172623 , Reply# 11   3/9/2012 at 10:35 (2,950 days old) by Sanifan ()        
The Clarke PN plug...

I was unable to find a pic of the PN plug and no time to find the camera. Here is a pic of a Playstation power cord, however, that has a similar looking plug. On the vacuum, both sides of the plug profile are rounded instead of the one flat side that the Playstation plug has.

Does anyone know what this style connector is called? I'm looking for an extention cord in this type of plug so I can rig up my own PN setup with the backpack. It seems that the Wessel Werks PN that came with my Hyla NST uses the same power connector, so I plan on trying that with the Clarke.

Also, is there an adapter that converts this style of connector to the regular pigtail style cord as found on the Tristar CXL?

Post# 172672 , Reply# 12   3/9/2012 at 15:55 (2,950 days old) by venson ()        
@sanifan . . .


I think its molded that way to assure the electrical connection is polarized. New PN connections have had slight change in the molded plastic the prongs are seated in and their receptacles for the same reason.

I have to admit I don't know how the polarized connection is supposed to help an AC/DC connection.

Thanks for the pics.

Post# 172679 , Reply# 13   3/9/2012 at 16:38 (2,950 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)        

Oh so many interesting points! Here in the UK, fittings are often polarised to ensure that any switches are connected to the live wire throughout our wiring system. All our wall sockets and plugs are polarised, and above that, many manufactures of wall sockets make them 'double pole' which means that when the switch on the wall socket is pressed, it breaks both the live and the neutral.

Now, in other parts of Europe -bearing in mind they use a very similar voltage to ours in the UK- this sort of attitude has never been adopted, and so many appliances can have their plugs inserted into the wall socket so that either pin of the plug could be connected to the live or the neutral. I do believe that in France this is not possible on plugs with earth connection (grounded), but on most other French plugs and plugs (earthed or otherwise) in other European countries can also be used either way. The potential danger from having the switch in the neutral side of the circuit is not reduced in other parts of Europe, so I don't know why the UK is the only one to try and instil polarisation.

Now, that Clarke back-pack with PN...I can't see the point of that. Why? Well because that very design of cleaner has long been on sale in the UK under many names, only in these instances it was sold as an upright. The PN was literally attached to the bottom of the back-pack machine, and a handle attached to that. It even had an on-board hose & tools. Quite what benefit this back-pack and PN set up is, I don't know, but hope that someone can tell me?

As for motor wattage, that is now at a ridiculous level on European machines. Mostly it is to compensate for generic, badly designed cleaners, and also because bagless non-Dyson cleaners clog up like Billy-ho and need as much suction as possible in a poor attempt to overcome the lose of cleaning power. And added to that, the UK market has been conditioned into thinking that more watts means a cleaner home. It never occurs to the consumer that they are running a machine with the same electrical consumption as a heater or tumble dryer.

Post# 172690 , Reply# 14   3/9/2012 at 18:21 (2,950 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        
"More watts mean a cleaner home..."

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Yes it is funny that isn't it - but then most buyers are also convinced a Dyson rules the roost - and most of their vacuums are hardly higher than 1300 watts.

Post# 172691 , Reply# 15   3/9/2012 at 18:25 (2,950 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)        

Yes, well that is another matter altogther. There is only one thing which seems to trump high-wattage, and that is the name Dyson. You are quite right Sebo-fan.

Post# 172693 , Reply# 16   3/9/2012 at 18:28 (2,950 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

You have my gratitude for pointing out a little-considered point: The unnecessarily increased electrical usage of today's high-wattage vacuums. I think this goes along with a point I made earlier: All a vacuum NEEDS to do is to get the dust from the floor (or wherever) to the bag or cup, and filter the exhaust.

We are getting very far beyond need in our new appliances; I have a friend who is proud of her new EnergyStar rated fridge. It is stainless, to replace a black one she'd grown tired of; there was nothing wrong with the old one. It is the size of a small garden shed; my friend is single, and the new fridge is mostly empty. And it's from China, meaning that this enormous object was dragged halfway around the Earth to replace something that was more energy-efficient and not remotely worn out yet.

But the new fridge has an EnergyStar seal, so she's free to feel virtuous about being "green." Bah. Humbug.

All I can say is that I have nothing but vintage appliances, which - according to conventional wisdom - ought to be energy hogs, gulping down electricity and water with merry, and expensive abandon. I have the lowest energy bills of anyone I know ($110 for both electricity and natural gas in February. In Iowa.).

Knowing when one has ENOUGH would seem to be a huge energy-saver right there.

Post# 172696 , Reply# 17   3/9/2012 at 18:39 (2,950 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)        

You are as always very welcome to my input. I do find the bulk of the threads interesting.

The 'green' concept has hit the UK too, and I admit that I am sloppy. So I do the recycling and I try to limit my gas and electricity consumption. But that is about it. On one hand I admire people for being green. On the other hand, I note that a lot of people are saving the planet on one hand and yet killing it with the other. Not to mention the 'behind the scenes' implications you mention, such as the costs of taking a fridge-freezer round the world.

So many manufacturers are jumping on this band wagon too. Take the Philips jug kettle in my link below. It is sold as an eco-kettle, with pro-rata savings statistics to match. How does it do this? How does it 'save' energy. Well, it doesn't. See, it is nothing more than any other high-wattage, concealed-element, fast-boil kettle, except that this one has a large water gauge with more precise measurements. Therefore it is easier to see the smallest amount of water in the bottom of the kettle and could discourage overfilling.

In reality, one could take ones cup, fill it with water, pour into a kettle, and mentally note where the water-line came to. I am not slating the Philips kettle and saying it is bad, what I am saying is, is that it does nothing more than any other. But I bet it sells.

Post# 172706 , Reply# 18   3/9/2012 at 19:49 (2,950 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)

Post# 172708 , Reply# 19   3/9/2012 at 20:03 (2,950 days old) by venson ()        
@vintagerepairer . . .

Not meaning to get off topic but I'm in the process of trying out an induction cooker. It claims substantial savings on energy due to its efficiency and speed. I guess I'll be able to judge by way of the next two months' electric bills.

Post# 172711 , Reply# 20   3/9/2012 at 21:06 (2,950 days old) by sanifan ()        
Cord polarization...

Well, I'm pretty sure the power nozzle cord is not polarized, but I'm not sure. Please don't be confused by the picture of the PlayStation plug that I posted above. That one IS polarized. Thus the one flat side to force the orientation.

The plug on the power nozzle cord looks similar to the PlayStation plug, but it is different. Both sides are round. There is NO flat side. They are both rounded and mirror image to each other. Thus there is nothing to force the orientation one way or the other.

Again, I am no expert on these things so am not 100% sure.

Also, the male portion of the plug, the part with the prongs, has an outer shroud that surrounds the female part of the plug. It's confusing to describe, so I'll try to post a pic soon. I'm sure some of you are familiar with this style of connector, though.

Post# 172712 , Reply# 21   3/9/2012 at 21:14 (2,950 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

One of the things I think will have to be considered in future when rating appliances for efficiency is - longevity. I believe we are very close to the point where cheap, throwaway plastic appliances will be insupportable; the planet just won't be able to keep providing the raw materials.

That makes the "old way" of doing things attractive all over again. For vacuums, it might well mean stouter, better-made motors, lower wattages and maybe even metal bodies. I'd personally like to see more of this and less of the cheap plastic junk that is in every store nowadays.

I also think that "green" ratings such as America's EnergyStar rating should be withheld from appliances imported from other countries. However excellent those appliances may be at saving energy, the fact remains that their shipment from abroad required a large, and unnecessary, amount of energy. It is absurd that a major appliance, weighing hundreds of pounds and shipped from China, should receive a recommendation for energy savings.

I think a vacuum cleaner should be built to last twenty years, with maintenance. A refrigerator or range (cooker), 30. Televisions and computers, at least ten (computers should be upgradable during that time). Only by requiring longer lifespans of appliances will we truly reduce overall consumption, is my feeling.

Post# 172735 , Reply# 22   3/10/2012 at 00:50 (2,950 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

the plug connector shown in Sanifan's post is used in lots of electronic devices-DVD,CD players, and so forth.Yes,its polarized for safety.since many electronic devices no longer have power transformers in them-the AC line is rectified directly and used in the device.The polarized connector prevents the devices chassis from being "live" connected to the hot AC line side.The polarized connector only allows the chassis to be connected to the neutral side.also have heard these connectors called "boom box" cords and connectors.again many newer radios use these plugs and cords.Offhand don't know what the ANSI designation for this connector is.

Post# 172755 , Reply# 23   3/10/2012 at 09:46 (2,949 days old) by kirbysthebest (Wichita, KS)        
When Lower power is better.

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When cleaning area rugs or low pile. Though I am a Kirby lover, they are not too effective on low pile, (glued down Kitchen or Indoor/outdoor type carpet) It just wants to suck tight to the carpet and not move. Not much air-flow happening.

Vacuums are like human body parts. It's not so much how big it is but how you use it. Lower powered well desigend machines can do a much more effective job than High powered, dust spewing, poorly designed machines.

Post# 172756 , Reply# 24   3/10/2012 at 09:52 (2,949 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        
A bit too late to save the environment now!

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In the early 1980's when Hoover UK were still chucking out metal based Hoover Junior and Senior models, America was on a tour de force with plastic-injection hard box bodied vacuums. Where was your environmental concern then?

Frankly the energy that you refer to of appliances being dragged across the Earth to meet the U.S is just absurd- what about the cars that you have imported to the U.S - and I don't mean the types that sit as family vehicles - the U.S can only have so many factories from other brands who don't always produce the vehicles that America demands - Porsche for example holds the U.S and Emirates as two of their largest buyers. You could argue that cars are not the same as appliances, but they fit very well because of lifestyle needs and desires.

I think it's also absurd that you think green ratings should be withheld from appliances from other countries - as a nation, the UK are working well with the US for the moment, as are other countries who want to do their bit to save the environment - even though it's a little bit too late- so in effect you want to chuck water on fire, or do you seem to want to tar everything that comes from China? Or is it case you'll rubbish ANYTHING that comes from any other country because it isn't American? America is an inventive country, the Brits have learnt a lot from your country - yet you want to stop what we've learnt and low energy appliances we produce because America didn't think of it first??

IMHO, it was the U.S who gave UK buyers insight into vacuums with higher power - we certainly weren't alone in using the USP /"Ultra Selling Point," for extra-added power alone but America being the largest nation with the largest amount of need, influence and a strive for "everything must be automatic so we don't need to lift a finger" routine (e.g self-driven mechanisms, auto cord rewind on uprights) has influenced home appliances to the point that now, almost every large home in the UK has an American style fridge/freezer as standard (or geared to the future kitchen design) as opposed to a European brand that offers a smaller size and far less efficiency to run it!

You can buy vacuums that last 20 years with maintenance and you can buy metal based bodies - but unsurprisingly - which country holds the biggest share of metal body, traditional upright vacuums? Can you guess? Is it obvious? The U.S!

It is not the fault of manufacturers or their machines that their products don't last- but of the way consumers treat their products. We've become so accustomed to a chuck away disposable factor, buyers and owners tend to treat their machines with disdain -knowingly they can buy cheaper products again to replace them. Consumers have also become lazier in maintenance as a result and were it not for America, we'd still be eating out of tinned food if we hadn't have had the microwave meal.

It is good that you as an owner have appliances that are vintage, a tried and tested formula. Sadly in the UK, although I have vintage appliances, the cost of getting spare parts is far more expensive when it goes wrong, and if the vintage appliance can be repaired, it is usually double the cost than a whole product from China is priced at.

Post# 172762 , Reply# 25   3/10/2012 at 10:44 (2,949 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)        

Well Sebo fan, be fair, if all the above is the case, that's not the personal fault of any member on here.

Post# 172767 , Reply# 26   3/10/2012 at 11:50 (2,949 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

You don't know me, or my work, but I was writing critically about the trend to Asian manufacturing thirty years ago. Even then, I could see that it was going to devastate the manufacturing bases of other nations, and that it was not good for the environment. I was also quite critical of disposable appliances.

I cannot agree with you on the withholding of energy-saving certification. While an appliance made in China or Mexico can be as energy-efficient IN USE as any other, the energy use in shipping is obscene. I am not calling for ceasing imports, nor am I calling for boycotts. But I would like to see governments stop putting their blessings on appliances whose origins are wasteful, whatever their energy consumption in use.

I particularly want to see the creation of hard goods considered when energy consumption is under discussion. Most hard goods use more energy in their manufacture and transport to point of sale than they ever will during their working lifetimes. That means durability should be a huge consideration when rating hard goods for energy consumption. We're all familiar with today's "green" appliances that are made overseas under environmentally dubious circumstances, shipped halfway around the planet, replace an appliance that is not worn out yet - and which fail within a few years due to their weird-science electronics. There is NOTHING "green" about this scenario. There would be nothing "green" about it if the appliance consumed no electricity in use whatever.

So far as my choice of cars is concerned, I purchase American-made cars, because I want to support my home country's industry, and because it's even worse for the environment to ship cars around the world than it is refrigerators. My sole exception to that was a used Volvo estate (station wagon), whose shipment from Goteborg had taken place a good fifteen years before I bought it - something which was already done and could not be un-done. I have not purchased an imported car since.

I agree with you completely that there is a "throw-away" mentality that needs to end. I do not know what the answer is, but one needs to be found.

And I have every faith in Britain to find solutions to its needs without assistance from America. Your magnificently creative nation invented such things as stainless steel and the commercial jetliner; you really don't need to copy us. When I look at the efficiency of British cookers as opposed to the sprawling wastefulness of American ranges, for instance, I know which country knows a thing or two about using resources sparingly.

Post# 172783 , Reply# 27   3/10/2012 at 15:45 (2,949 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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But you didn't say "30 years ago" in your original post, so the implication is current.

If however, you take into consideration 30 years ago, or if indeed 40 years ago to be more precise and compare what you had in terms of brands, the UK had several British brands who sold products well into the 1970's with little than cosmetic changes - radios, televisions, stereo systems - meanwhile the Japanese come in with impeachable quality, better components, better sound quality - and not so expensive cost prices. Could I then say that Asian manufacturing was less energy efficient when at a time the features that British brands didn't sport seemed to glitter and whistle from the Asian end? Thus giving buyers the opportunity to sample products that were better built and better features. Therefore as a buyer I bought Japanese goods with pride because I knew I was buying quality, something a bit modern etc. I never once thought about the energy efficiency or how long it took to get to the UK.

Frankly, I think your reasons for with holding energy info on more or less, "foreign" appliances is rather obtuse - perhaps even if it was to work in America's favour - honestly, the amount of energy a ship uses for transporting cars to the U.S is small meal compared to the amount of fuel it would take for "our" jetliners and your Boeing airplanes to fly long haul - and let's face it, on the basis that America has far more airports on account your country is so much bigger, I stake that other means of travel are wasting huge amounts of energy just to take advantage of it. You can't have it both ways.

As the owner of a Volvo, I'm happy with what I drive - I'm even happier that the model I drive was made before Ford took over Volvo, and now looking at GM where they have shot off SAAB, it remains to be seen whether the "big three" in the U.S can survive, particularly when Chrysler now no longer part of MB, has just tied the knot with Fiat - an Italian company whose reliability in the U.S was patchy, to say the least.

Post# 172787 , Reply# 28   3/10/2012 at 16:23 (2,949 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

My reply about "30 years ago" was in response to this sentence of yours:

"In the early 1980's when Hoover UK were still chucking out metal based Hoover Junior and Senior models, America was on a tour de force with plastic-injection hard box bodied vacuums. Where was your environmental concern then?"

So far as America's love affair with jet travel is concerned, it's a bad habit we're going to have to break sooner or later. Yes, distances can be long here. We still could get around nearly as well by train, if we had a rail infrastructure worth riding on.

And I did not say energy information should be withheld on foreign manufacturers' products. No, the information should definitely be there. What I advocate is to stop our government saying in essence, "This is an ecologically responsible product," by granting EnergyStar certification, when it cannot possibly be, due to a lack of lasting quality and energy-consumptive shipping from halfway around the world. A governmental imprimatur for energy savings should take every possible factor into account, in my opinion. If the certification is granted based on a limited array of parameters, it becomes nothing more than a marketing scam, which is precisely what has happened with the EnergyStar program.

Post# 172841 , Reply# 29   3/11/2012 at 12:08 (2,948 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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Thread 127271 doesn't even mention 30 years ago - this is where your original response about green rating with held info starts!

I feel you're missing the point entirely where green ratings are concerned - it doesn't matter where a product is from - would I consider mango fruits from India to be green damaging because they've taken 12 hours to get to the UK? Or however about coffee from Brazil which goes direct to the U.S, churned, refined and sent back to Europe? C'mon now, how far are you going to go to tar everything that comes from a far away country as being unfriendly green because of the amount of travel it takes to get to the U.S?? You are clearly twinning quality AND "energy consumptive shipping," together - not entirely fair based on well made products in the U.S that are shipped out to the U.K.

Could I then summize that the Kitchenaid mixers that we get in the UK shipped from the U.S are less energy efficient than our home grown Kenwood Chef models that have better energy efficiency? No - because the Kitchenaid U.S models have far lower motors, thus they are far less energy consuming.

Post# 172847 , Reply# 30   3/11/2012 at 13:12 (2,948 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)        

Ok, I just lost the will to live.

Post# 172854 , Reply# 31   3/11/2012 at 13:45 (2,948 days old) by danemodsandy ()        

In the interest of getting back on topic, I'm bowing out of this discussion.

Post# 172913 , Reply# 32   3/12/2012 at 06:15 (2,948 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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It kind of makes me wonder - if a product like the Vax Mach Air is designed in the U.K and owned by TTI in China - then the production of it is shifted to China and then redesigned slightly to be sold in the U.S as the Hoover Windtunnel Air. Does the original design still remain British, I wonder?

Or those plastic Panasonic uprights that Miele in Germany had sold for years in the U.S before their own S7 was built. Does that make those Miele models far less energy efficient because they are Japanese built? Or perhaps they were assembled in the U.S but the base techware comes from Japan.

Clearly energy saving appliances do exist - but not in a literal sense. As VR pointed out (hope you're feeling better and stronger now) with the Philips kettle, there's a lot of marketing and a lot of hype. Just like reusable paper dust bags in vacuum cleaners where only, effectively one more use can be probably used before all the paper has clogged up to the point that it can't be reused over and over.

Post# 172962 , Reply# 33   3/12/2012 at 15:01 (2,947 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)        

"Better and Stronger"?

Well now it's calmed down, yes thank you. Gosh, you can be very powerful when you get going, Mr Sebo-fan.

Post# 173031 , Reply# 34   3/13/2012 at 00:11 (2,947 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

sebo_fan's profile picture
As you can be, Super T!

Post# 173048 , Reply# 35   3/13/2012 at 03:59 (2,947 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)        

True :)

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