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A power struggle for vacuum cleaners?

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As of the 1st September the EU banned ‘powerful’ vacuum cleaners with motors over 900w.  This means that companies will no longer be able to manufacture or import upright or cylinder vacuums (not cordless vac’s) which consume more than 900W.   So, what does this mean for you and why exactly has this new law come into force?

Just another crazy EU law? 

It may seem like an odd law to pass but the EU have good intentions – to help save the planet and save you money.  Energy label rules on vacuum cleaners were first introduced in September 2014 which limited the maximum wattage to 1,600W.  It introduced A-G ratings on the following; energy use, dust suction on hard floors, dust suction on carpets and dust emissions and the label shows how noisy the cleaner is in decibels.  But the new energy label rules have reduced that wattage to 900W and cut the maximum noise allowance to 80dB.  The energy ratings will now start at A+++ through to G. 

OK, but why the sudden change? 

The EU have predicted that Europe as a whole can save up to 20TWh of electricity per year by 2020 (as per their website http://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency/energy-efficient-products/vacuum-cleaners), which is the equivalent to the annual household electricity consumption of Belgium, thus saving valuable energy and cutting energy bills.  When you put it into context like that, it doesn’t seem so crazy does it?

Does less wattage mean less suction?

The simple answer is no.  Wattage only measures how much electricity will be consumed whilst the vac is in use, therefore, suction power is something completely different.  So, don’t be fooled into thinking the higher wattage equals higher suction!  If you want to make sure that your vac will be powerful enough for your household, then you need to look at its suction and air-flow and it’s always best to try before you buy. 

 What does this ban mean for you, the consumer?

So, before you throw your vacuum cleaner on the scrapheap let’s make this clear, the EU have not ‘banned’ any specific makes or models from being used in the household at present.  The new law means that if a vacuum cleaner is over 900W then it will have to be modified or removed by the manufacturer.  All vacuum cleaners over 900W will be completely removed by 2020.

 The move has been predicted to save people money on their energy bills but it has been argued that the average household might not actually save that much.  For example, an average person using a 1,400W vacuum cleaner uses around £11.20 of electricity per year.  That amount is estimated to fall to around £7 using a 900W vacuum cleaner.  So, the saving is not as much as we have been possibly led to believe, but every little helps!  

Without a crystal ball, it’s really hard to say what the outcome will be and if this ban will still affect us in the UK once we leave the EU via Brexit.  Watch this space!

(If you are wondering what wattage your vacuum is in comparison to others use this as a guide, the cheeky Henry vacuum is 620W and the Dyson DC39 Multi-Floor is 1,100W).