How a Hand Vacuum Works

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    Handheld Vacuums

    • Handheld vacuums are small, lightweight vacuums used to clean up small messes. Typically, they are used in the home to pick up small items such as dropped food, small dust balls, dirt brought in on shoes from outside and other small items. They are typically able to reach smaller, tighter areas that upright vacuums can't reach normally. In addition, they're more readily available to use to pick up these small items, rather than having to pull out the big vacuum cleaner.

    How They Work

    • Handheld vacuums typically rely on an electrical charge for power. Most do not have cords (although some more high-powered ones do), and are charged on a "base" after each use. Most handheld vacuums rely on suction to pull up dirt. The suction is powered by a 3-4 amp motor (sometimes larger depending on the vacuum size), which is charged while on the "base." Typically, a full charge will last about 10-20 minutes of running time and the unit will then take about 45 minutes to an hour or so to reach its full charge again. The motor powers an internal fan that works as the suction device for the vacuum. An electrical connection between the battery (which is charged) and the motor gives the vacuum the ability to work. The electrical connection triggers the motor's fan to begin spinning, which then causes the vacuum to begin sucking. The motor is mounted internally, and must be close to the vacuum opening in order to get air circulation to keep the fan from overheating.

      When the power to the unit is turned on, the suction is activated and the unit will pick up the desired objects. The dirt, dust and other items are then stored in a small compartment which should be regularly cleaned out (by simply opening the chamber and dumping it in the trash) to avoid a clog. If the chamber is full, you may notice that the suction is less powerful.

    Additional Uses and Accessories

    • In addition to the straight vacuum on the handheld unit, many come with accessories to help you better clean certain areas. Like most large vacuums, handheld vacuums often come with a variety of brushes and additions to place on the nozzle of the handheld unit. These can help you reach very tight areas, or clean fabrics better (such as couches or curtains). In addition to their household uses, handheld vacuums are great to use when cleaning out your car, allowing you to reach into the seats and various small, tight areas without having to worry about a long power cord.

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