Vacuum Cleaner Brushroll FAQ by KwikiVac
What is a brush roll?
Brush rolls (or brushrolls) are wood, plastic, or metal cylinders with bristles that are rotated at high speed to extract dirt from carpets. They are also sometimes called an agitator (Hoover), roller brush, disturbulator (Eureka) or, incorrectly, beater bar.
The Hoover Company was the inventor of the beater bar, which is a strip of plastic or rubber mounted on the brush roll in addition to a row of bristles. Most manufacturers now use two rows of bristles instead of one row of bristles and a beater bar.
Brush Roll Types
Most modern brush rolls are plastic or wood with bristles embedded in the brush roll itself. Some vacuum cleaners have steel or aluminum brush rolls with replaceable brush strips. Brush rolls come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are totally round cylinders while others are contoured to promote various effects on the air flow and cleaning action.
How do brush rolls work?
Vacuum cleaners designed for carpeted floors typically have electric or air driven revolving brush rolls. Brush rolls revolve at up to 6,500 RPM and are driven by a belt attached to either the suction motor (most uprights) or a dedicated motor (most canisters with power nozzles). The main effect of a brush roll is to loosen dirt from the carpet fibers and move it upward to where the suction motor can pull it into the vacuum cleaner.
Electricity vs Air
||The two main types of power nozzles for canister vacuum cleaners are electric motor nozzles and air driven turbine nozzles. An electric motor actually adds power to the cleaning system while a turbine is parasitic, in that the power to drive the brush roll is derived from the air flow, thus reducing the overall suction of the vacuum cleaner.
When Should I Replace My Brush Roll?
Since worn bristles will not effectively clean your carpt, you should replace the brush roll when the bristles are worn, much as you replace your toothbrush when its bristles wear out. It's easy to tell when the bristles are worn out -- they feel soft and mushy instead of stiff, and they may also have 'split ends'.
If your vacuum cleaner 'eats belts' or is very noisy, the bearings in the brush roll may be defective or the endcaps may be clogged with hairs and carpet fibers. In either case, consider replacing the brush roll, especially if the bristles are also showing signs of wear. Also, it's a good idea to replace the belt when the brush roll is replaced.
Brush Roll Tips
Set your vacuum cleaner's carpet height adjustment to the right level for best performance. Here's how:
Turn the adjustment dial to the highest setting, turn on your vacuum and release the handle. (Turn off the self-propell mechanism if so equipped.) Lower the dial one setting at a time until you hear the 'tone' change, i.e. the humming of the brush drops to a lower pitch. This setting is ideal for the floor surface you are cleaning. Any higher and the brush won't make contact with the carpet. Lower, and there won't be enough space to allow air in around the sides of the vacuum to suck up the dirt.
Never use the brush roll on bare floors such as wood, vinyl or tile. Either turn the brush off, change the height adjustment setting to the highest level, or use a bare floor tool or brush. This will protect your floor from scratches and also keep dirt from scattering around the room.
The rotation of a brush roll deep cleans carpets but may be harmful to carpets like Berber and delicate orientals. Manufacturers of Berber carpets often recommend against using a brush roll since the tops of the loops can be damaged by the brushing action.