and hundreds of different sizes. Normally, vacuums
use a belt to drive an agitation device, which
is also known as a brush roller. With very few
exceptions, most vacuums will use either a flat
belt, round belt, or a geared style belt.
The type of belt that your vacuum uses is very
important, not only for durability, but performance
as well. The condition and type of belt your
vacuum uses will have a lot of impact on the systems
ability to clean carpet. The proper use of
agitation is almost 70% of the cleaning ability of
a vacuum cleaner.
Suction is also very important. The suction is
what pulls the dirt that is removed from the carpet
into the collection area of the vacuum. The
suction, or airflow, is the key when cleaning
hard surfaces or when using attachments. Without
suction, a vacuum cleaner could only bring more
dirt to the surface of carpet. Even though both
agitation and suction are important with vacuuming,
the agitation is what actually cleans them.
Almost all manufacturers use brush rollers that
are made of wood, metal, or even plastic that
is driven by a suction or brush motor through
the use of three different kinds of belts - round,
geared, or flat.
The round belts are the earliest type as they
were easy to produce and easy to engineer. The
round style, unfortunately, is normally run in
the same space as vacuumed dirt. What this means,
is that almost all of the dirt, staples, and
hair you vacuum up will pass around the belt;
cutting, nicking, or even scratching it along the
Vacuum cleaner belts have to stretch quite a long
way, placing even more stress on the roller and
the motor bearings. The round belt is still
common, and used even today.
The flat style of belts are most often run in a
circular fashion as well, unlike the twisted
route the round belt takes to deliver the
performance in the proper direction.
The style allow manufacturers to run the belt off
of one side of the brush roller, instead of the
center where all of the dirt is. This is truly a
great innovation, as you can eliminate premature
failure due to the soil and dirt in the belt path.
The latest belt design is considered to be the
best in the industry. Even though there are many
variations out there, the geared belt is the
most efficient means to drive a brush. The
geared belt is also known as a positive brush system
because the energy of the brush motor is
transmitted directly to the brush.
Both the brush and the motor are locked by
fixed teeth to each other through a cogged belt
without tension. The resulting direct connection
results in higher cleaning efficiency because
the brush can be driven at a faster speed
regardless of the age of the belt.
The flat style can stretch as they become warm,
which will cause them to lose tension. When
you use your vacuum, the belt is always going to
stretch. Believe it or not, it will lose it's
tension the moment you put it up to rest in the
There is however, one real drawback to geared
belts - the cost of the vacuum. Geared belts
are normally used on two motor vacuums. Not
only does this require a separate suction and
brush motor, but it also requires electronic
sensory systems to tell you when something is
wrong with the brush.
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