Vacuums and the Environment
Have you ever given any thought as to what effect your vacuum cleaner can have on the environment? Yes, definitely having a clean and well vacuumed home rids your home environment of pet dander, dust, mites, and other elements that can pollute the air quality in your home, but what about things like the impact of a household appliance taken to the dump because of early breakdowns or built-in short lifespans – obsolescence in two or three years?
What if we could expand that lifespan to double, triple or more years?
Let’s take my favourite subject: vacuum cleaners. Did you know that many vacuums are sent off to the local garbage dump or the recycling depot in as few as three years? Extending the lifespan of most anything that is powered by an engine often means better quality parts and materials used in the product, and that usually means a higher price tag. But is it really cheaper in the long run, both in terms dollars spent and the environment?
With the cost of everything going up and incomes staying stagnant it is no wonder that consumers put price point as top of mind when making buying decisions. While this spreads across the board it is particularly noticeable in replacement of household appliances whose lifespans are growing shorter and shorter all the time.
With affordability top of mind, many manufacturers resort to building cheaper and by default inferior vacuum cleaners.
Certainly a vacuum cleaner priced at $199 appears more attractive than one at $599.
Slim profit margins are made up for with volume and built in obsolescence. It is not uncommon for vacuum cleaners to literally bite the dust and head for the local land fill in as short a time as three, or even two years!
Big Box stores are the primary retailers of these types of vacuum cleaners. It makes sense. They are able to push the volume that the manufacturers need to make them profitable. But let’s take a look at what the real cost of say that $199 vacuum cleaner vs the $599 might be?
Short term vs long term cost comparison of a vacuum cleaner
The short term impact on your wallet is obvious – you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the $199 model will leave a few more dollars in your bank balance. But lets look at the long term and how quality trumps cheap both in terms of dollars and the environment.
- Performance: low suction power means that your carpets may not be getting as clean as you think or hope they are, especially if you have pets and heavy traffic in your home. Pet dander, dust and grime can get ground deep down into your carpets and build up unwanted residue.
- Short warranty periods.
- Subject to early repairs. Inferior quality parts and materials wear out quickly.
- Loss of time & inconvenience: Short lengths of warranty. Even if your vacuum breaks down during the warranty period, there is the inconvenience of taking the vacuum cleaner back to and from the store you bought it at. Sometimes parts need to be ordered.
- “Oh heck! I’ll just buy another one – it’s cheap enough!!!” How often do you want to do that?
- Performance: Powerful motor means deep cleaning suction and clean, down to their roots carpets. Instant quality of air improvement especially for crawling babies and toddlers who spend a lot of time on the floor.
- Longer warranty times.
- Longer periods between repairs
- Last 10, 15 or even 20 years … we’ve even run into some that are being brought in for repairs at the 25- year mark!
The math is easy:
Length of Service $199 $599
9 years *$597 $599
15 years *$995 $599
21 years * $1393 $599
No of vacuums sent to the dump
9 years 3 0
15 years 5 0
21 years 7 1 (maybe)
*based on no price increases at each replacement year
At Vacuum Works we have a steady vacuum sales business, but it is our repair service that keeps our vacuum technicians busy and humming all day long Monday through Saturday.
Sometimes it is someone that bought one of our vacuums years ago, in for a part replacement or just a quick maintenance checkup.
The vast majority of our repair customers are new to our store, bringing in a vacuum they bought two or three years ago. While we are choosy as to what brands we stock for sale, we can and do repair all makes and models. It’s not just about the repairs, it’s as much about the environment. We do all we can to extend the lifespan of any vacuum cleaner if we can keep it out of the local landfill or recycling depot for a few years more.
At Vacuum Works we choose to stock vacuum brands with a reputation for quality of performance, length of warranty and average lifespans of 10, 15 years and even 20 years. We sell new and premium reconditioned vacuums to suit every budget. We believe a vacuum cleaner should suck up dirt for a lot more than two or three years. You can walk out of our store with a quality vacuum cleaner for less than $599.
The next time your vacuum gives up the ghost, phone us first. We may be able to repair it and if not, we can outfit you with a quality new or premium reconditioned vacuum that will give you many years of service … it’s all good, it’s all green!