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Cyclonic Vacuums

This page is, in part, a review that I did to answer some questions about the Dyson DC25. Some of it applies only to the DC25 but much of it applies to cyclonic/bagless vacuums in general. It should be helpful to those who are trying to decide if they should go bagless.

Warranty Voiding by Using a Dyson Vacuum:
I was not aware of this when I purchased the DC25 but it seems that some carpet manufacturers and/or dealers are trying to avoid covering damage to carpets because a Dyson vacuum was used on the carpets. If you intend to buy a Dyson, do some research to see if it affects the carpet you have or the carpet you intend to buy. If you are going to buy new carpet, I'd suggest that you get it in writing that the use of a Dyson will not void the warranty.

Empty Canister as Suggested:
This vacuum has a lot of suction (more than any other vacuum that I've ever used) and the suction doesn't drop off as the vacuum fills if it's used and maintained properly. It is important, however, that you not allow the canister to fill beyond the max line because it begins to draw much more material up into the filter. When the filter (pre-motor filter, filter A) gets clogged, it will lose suction and it will make the motor overheat.

Although I vacuumed regularly, the previous vacuum was clearly not doing a very good job. It was only removing the material from the top surface of the carpet. There was a section of carpet near an entry door that looked clean but when I used this vacuum on it initially, the entire roller housing turned brown. It was like I was vacuuming pure sand/silt. I didn't realize it but this was not good for this vacuum. In less than 5 minutes, the canister was filled to the max line. After filling the canister to the max line several times, the vacuum began to lose suction. At the time, I thought that there may be a serious problem with the vacuum. It was only recommended that the filters be cleaned after about 3 months. I didn't think that they could possibly have needed cleaning in less than 1 hour but they were both dirty. After removing the pre-motor filter, I could see that it was very dirty. Any slight movement of the filter would result in a huge dust cloud. I checked the second filter and it was so hot that I couldn't remove it from the vacuum until it cooled a bit. The heat had built up because the filters were limiting the air flow through the motor. The second filter was also very dirty. After cleaning the filters, the vacuum again worked as it should.

Cyclonic Action:
When you use a vacuum, you have to trap the dust so that it doesn't go back out with the exhaust air. This is done in several different ways. The Rainbow vacuums use water to trap the dirt. Bag-type vacuums use the filter bag. Cyclonic vacuums use centrifugal force to trap the air. The air enters the canister along the side of the canister. This creates a vortex that swings the material out to the sides of the canister. When the centrifugal force is sufficient, virtually no dust exits the canister. The small amount of dust that does escape is trapped by the filter. This works very well when all is working properly. When the canister fills or something is sucked up that interrupts the vortex (and therefore reduces the centrifugal force applied to the dirt), much more material is passed to the filter. Since the filter is small because it's only supposed to be responsible for trapping a small amount of material, it quickly clogs. This is why it's important to empty the canister as suggested by the manufacturer.

Fine Silt:
For me, the type of dirt that is generally drawn out of the carpet is a very fine silt (about as fine as baking flour). If you see that the majority of the material that you're vacuuming up is that fine, you should clean your filters much more frequently than is suggested by Dyson. If the quantity is such that the canister fills within a very short period of time, you should check the filters after a couple of hours of use.

Using the Hose:
In one review I read about a DC25, someone complained that they had to use the 3ft wand and they couldn't understand why Dyson designed it that way. The wand clips on like any other accessory. If you don't want to use the wand, remove it and install the accessory tool directly onto the hose.

There was a complaint that the hose was hard to extend. The hose is actually very flexible and easy to stretch out. This hose is designed to collapse. This is the only practical way to store 10+ feet of hose on-board. When the vacuum is on and you restrict the airflow into the vacuum, the hose will tend to contract. This is to be expected. If the vacuum had less suction, it would tend to contract less but that would defeat the purpose. I find it easier to have the vacuum behind me with the hose over my shoulder when using the hose. This makes it much easier to use the hose-end attachments for extended periods of time.

Proper Orientation of the Vacuum:
When using the hose on the DC25 with attachments, have the front of the vacuum facing away from you. This will ensure that the vacuum will move easily with you as you pull on the hose. If you pull on it from the side, it can pull the vacuum over. If you pull on it as suggested, it will follow you perfectly.

Misleading Reviews:
There are reviews that indicate that the DC25 doesn't have much suction because it can't pull a paper towel roll away from another vacuum. If a vacuum is properly designed/adjusted for the carpet, there will be very little leakage around the perimeter of the vacuum head. You want the air to be flowing up through the carpet, not from around the perimeter of the head. This vacuum does a very good job of sealing to the carpet which means that it pulls hard from deep in the carpet, not just from the surface.

There is a review that shows the head of the DC25 flopping around as the reviewer flicks the vacuum from side to side. First, no one uses a vacuum like that unless they're intentionally trying to make it malfunction. Second, when the vacuum is running, the suction will keep the roller head pulled down to the carpet.

Bag vs Bagless:
Many people like bagless vacuums because they don't need to buy bags. For me, this vacuum has been a lot more work than a bag-type vacuum, especially since I had more crud under the carpet than most people due to using a poorly performing vacuum previously. When considering buying a bagless vacuum, I think you need to see what sort of material that you are most commonly picking up. For larger material (lint, hair, bits of grass...), a bagless vacuum may be a good choice. If you have a lot of fine dirt/silt like I did, a bagged vacuum may be a better option. When I have to empty the canister, I have to do so outdoors. The dust is so fine that there is no way to prevent having a dust cloud. Even if I could empty it into an inside trash can without causing a dust cloud, it would be impossible to close the trash bag without making a mess. I have to go empty the canister outdoors.

For those who say that they have the same problem (making a dust cloud) when changing the bags in their bag-type vacuums, try this... When you open the vacuum and pull the bag off of the internal nozzle that goes into the bag, immediately cover the hole in the bag with a couple of strips of packing or duct tape. With the hole covered, you can handle the bag and no dust will escape.

Poor Suction:
There have been complaints that the DC25 has little or no suction. If you encounter that problem (especially with a new vacuum or a vacuum with clean filters), you should look for leaks where the canister meets the body of the vacuum or on the various sections of hose. If you are vacuuming something like pine needles, you may have a problem with them clogging the various sections of hose. Pin needles don't go around curves (in the hose) well and get caught on the ribs on the inside of the hose so they can cause the hoses to get blocked. It's also possible to suck something large up into the vacuum to make it lose suction. Before contacting the manufacturer or seller about a vacuum that has lost suction, remember, check for leaks in the hoses/gaskets and check for blockages in the hoses. In the Dyson DC25, you can switch to the hose/wand. If you have good suction through the hose but not through the floor attachment, the problem is in the lower part of the vacuum (either a leaky hose or something blocking the hose).

Thorough Cleaning:
When cleaning the canister, you generally just push the release and let the contents fall out. If you have used it to clean really dirty carpets, you may want to go a step further. You should realize that the clear canister can be removed from the rest of the cyclone assembly. With that removed, you can easily remove any material stuck to the side of the perforated area. Any material blocking those holes will reduce the airflow into the vacuum and reduce suction. When the filters need to be cleaned, I take the cyclone assembly apart and wash the entire assembly thoroughly. If it's really dusty, it's best to slowly submerge it in a bucket of soapy water. Submerging it quickly will cause a dust cloud so do it slowly. After the clinging dust/dirt is saturated, you can wash it out with a garden hose. There is only one part that may possibly be affected by water and it's a small beige plastic assembly under the top cover. I either remove the top cover from the cyclone assembly or avoid getting that part wet. If you clean the cyclone assembly like this, be sure to let it dry completely before using it again. You can shake most of the water out of it. Shake it. Wipe it dry and then shake it again. Dry any remaining water with a cloth and let it dry. This applies to the canister/cyclone assembly only. Do not allow any other part of the vacuum to get wet.

Pre-Motor Filter:
When cleaning the pre-motor filter, I've found that it's easiest to do in a sink filled with water. I apply a soap (liquid hand soap or similar) and squeeze it repeatedly under water. The water will become very dirty if the filter is really dirty. Drain the water and continue to do this until the water remains clear. Wring the filter out and let it dry. You need to get out as much water as possible at this point to reduce drying time. You need to make sure that the filter is completely dry before using it again. The air passes thorough this filter and then goes directly into the motor. If there is water in the filter, it will be pulled into the motor and is likely to damage the vacuum. This will not likely be covered under warranty.

Motor Exhaust Filter:
When checking the motor filter (the one in the ball), tap it on a hard surface. If dust is seen, it's time to clean it, even if it hasn't been 6 months. As was stated previously, dirty filters make the motor run hot and will likely reduce the service-life of the vacuum.

Good Filtration:
One thing that I've noticed with this vacuum is that there is no smell of dust in the air when using it, no matter the type of material being vacuumed (I've never tried vacuuming cigarette ashes and would avoid doing so). My other vacuums all emitted a smell of dust. There is absolutely no odor of any type when using this vacuum. A carbon filter is available that can reduce odor emission if that becomes a problem.

Mini Turbine Head:
For the 'animal' vacuums that have the rotating brush attachment (mini turbine head), there have been complaints that there is no suction because too much suction is used to turn the brush (air flow powers the roller, not electricity). If you have this problem, there is an issue with either the attachment or the vacuum. When both are working properly, the brush has plenty of power and there is plenty of suction. I did find that the bushing on the end of the roller needed a bit of lubrication to operate smoothly. White lithium grease worked well). They could solve this by using a ball/roller bearing instead of a brass sleeve bearing/bushing. If you have fine furniture, you would not want to lubricate the bushing. It works as it should but not as smoothly as it could with a proper bearing.

Roller Drive Belt:
When I initially began looking at vacuums, the first thing I did was to look at the belts that they used to drive the roller/beater bar. The problem that I had with my previous vacuum was that as soon as I got the vacuum adjusted to pick up properly, the roller would put too much stress on the belt and the belt would overheat. This would cause it to stretch and the roller would not longer spin as it should (you could hear it slow significantly on various parts of the carpet). This vacuum uses a cogged belt that cannot slip. It also has a secondary motor to drive the roller. This means that it takes no power from the motor used to create the suction. If you inadvertently vacuum something that you shouldn't (like a long shoestring under a bed) and the roller is stopped, the power to the roller will be shut down (to protect the motor). When this happens, you can pull the shoestring (or whatever) from the roller. The roller motor will not restart on its own and won't restart if you push the roller button/switch. You have to turn the vacuum off and then back on to reset the roller motor.

Proper Tool for the Job:
There have been complaints that the vacuum wouldn't pick up large items like cereal and that a cheaper type of vacuum worked better. There is no device that will work well for every application. For a vacuum to pull up as much as possible from carpets, it needs to seal tightly to the carpet. This won't generally work well on large, solid objects. For those who need to pick up items like cereal, you may want to invest in a motorized sweeper. These have no vacuum. They only spin a brush to sweep material into a dustcup. Use the right tool for the job.

Turning Sharply:
Some people claim that the DC25 doesn't turn as sharply as advertised. It turns very well but not at a sharp 90, especially if you're not pushing it forward. It's still more maneuverable than any other upright vacuum that I've used.

Cord Length:
There have been complaints about the short cord. I don't find it too short. Longer means more cord to manage and to keep out of the way when vacuuming.

Animal Version:
For those who do not know, the animal version only varies from the all-floors model by the color (purple vs yellow) and the mini turbine tool (included with the animal model only - but available separately).

No Light:
There have been complaints about having no light. That is somewhat of a problem but is easily solved. I purchased a headlamp (Fenix HP11 - shown on the flashlight page of this site) and it works beautifully. It's also very useful when cleaning in dark areas without the vacuum. Having the light come from a higher position works better than any light that could be mounted on the vacuum. It's also very good in that it allows you to see in dark corners. It's amazing how much dirt/dust you can see when there is plenty of light. If you use this option, you'll want to invest in rechargeable batteries. If you're like me and already have plenty of rechargeable AA batteries, you won't have to invest in batteries and a charger. You can buy cheaper headlamps than the one suggested but the Fenix is very good and can be used for other things.

Initial Assembly:
Some have complained that the DC25 was difficult to assemble. There are only a couple of pieces but if you're not familiar with the design, I can see how it might be confusing. When you get it, the wand will not be attached. The hose plugs into the handle end of the wand. The wand goes onto the vacuum with the handle end down and the hose to the back of the vacuum. It may not be immediately obvious but the handle slides over the rounded post on the top of the body of the vacuum. When the handle is in place on the vacuum, the wand will slide down smoothly and easily into the hose. When it's all of the way down, there will be a click and the cover will close over the top of the wand. To remove the wand/handle, lift up on the red part of the wand until it detaches from the body of the vacuum. It's very simple after you see it done once but not immediately obvious if you've never seen a vacuum like this.

Tool Storage:
Some complain that there is no place to store all of the attachments on the vacuum. I purchased a tool bag to store the attachments. I purchased a second canister assembly so I use a tool bag that's large enough to hold that as well.

Canister Capacity:
There have been complaints about the canister capacity and having to empty it too often. This is to be expected for any type of bagless. No vacuum is perfect. If a vacuum is very powerful, you will have to empty it or replace the bags more often. Bagless vacuums always have less capacity than bagged vacuums of the same style/size. For people with pets that shed a lot, the canister will fill to the max line quickly because the hair won't settle to the bottom. If you have no pets, it will take much longer to fill the canister, especially after the initial use removes most of the deep-down dirt. A bagless with a larger canister will take a bit longer to fill but will still require frequent emptying.

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