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EU Imposes Ban On High-Powered Vacuum Cleaners

A British consumer group is warning households to rush out and buy powerful vacuum cleaners before they’re banned throughout Europe.

As of Sept. 1, manufacturers will be forbidden to make or import any vacuum machines with motors stronger than 1,600 watts.

The rules, set forth by the European Commission, are aimed at slowing climate change by cutting Europe’s energy use. The EC contends the new standards mean European consumers will “get better vacuum cleaners than ever before.”

The consumer rating agency Which? says that doesn’t make sense. Five of their seven highest rated vacuums have motors higher than 1,600 watts.

“If you’re in the market for a powerful vacuum, you should act quickly, before all of the models currently available sell out,” the Which? magazine says in its latest issue. “A Best Buy, 2,200-watt cleaner uses around £27 ($44) worth of electricity each year, about £8 ($13.27) more than the best-scoring 1,600[-watt machine] we’ve tested.”

The vacuum cleaner ban echoes an earlier ban on traditional light bulbs. Consumers complained then that the replacements were costlier and took too long to reach maximum brightness.

But Brussels argues that the new rules don’t affect the performance of light bulbs or vacuums. “Vacuum cleaners will use less energy for the same performance – how much dust they pick up,” European Commission spokesman Marlene Holzner wrote last year, defending the change. “This will help consumers to save money and make Europe as a whole use less energy.”

The average vacuum for sale in Europe has an 1,800-watt motor. This will have to be halved within the next three years, as the limit of 1,600 watts will be reduced to just 900 watts in September 2017.

But, “[t]he amount of watt does not automatically indicate how well a vacuum cleaner will clean. The amount of watt indicates how much electrical power is used by the engine,” Holzner wrote. “The important question is: How efficient is this electrical power translated into picking-up dust?”

Under the new rules, vacuum cleaners will be given a rating from A to G  based on their performance on hard floors, carpets, and how much dust is emitted during operation.


But the Dyson group of Britain, which makes several popular, powerful vacuum cleaners, is challenging this criteria and has applied for a judicial review of the EU directive.

It argues that the proposed performance metrics don’t include evaluating vacuums when there is already dirt inside – what Dyson calls “dust-loaded.”

Dyson, whose vacuums don’t use bags, says 126 million bags and filters from new vacuum cleaners end up in landfills across the EU every year, yet the new labeling system does not reflect their impact on the environment.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

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  • Dereke on August 30 2014 said:
    The sooner David Cameron gets his act together and tells Brussels to get lost the better for Britain
  • Andrew on August 29 2014 said:
    Energy consumption? - look at the electricity being consumed by floodlighting buildings and landmarks in cities throughout the world.
    Also, the power consumed by floodlighting stadiums for football,rugby and cricket - and I'm very much into sport, but it seems we must satisfy the greed of the big TV companies who make a fortune from televising such events.
  • decent on August 26 2014 said:
    well, 2,2kW vacuum cleaners are more like hot air heaters than cleaners. Their inefficiency is just so great.
    For example with that same 2,2kW power you could fill high pressure diving tank at pressure 200 BAR at rate 100l/minute, while 2,2kW cleaner doesn't do much useful work other than heating air.
  • Randy on August 25 2014 said:
    As long as people believe everything their governments tell them, there wil be nonsense like this. Climate change is a factof life. It's been going on for as long as Earth has orbited the Sun. Whatever comes, will come, and no amount of government tampering or directives will 'correct' it, because it is a CYCLE. And you can't alter this kind of cycle. In times past there was more carbon in the atmosphere. It doesn't seem to have hurt the life at the time.

    Government found that they could imtimidate 'The People' when they banned Freon, based upon the 'Ozone Hole' in the stratosphere. It's been 'Katy, Bar The Door' ever since.
  • gdw on August 25 2014 said:
    three things are abundantly clear. 1) Those making the rules have no idea about the difference between power and energy. 2) the less powerful (assuming same efficacy) vacuum cleaners will need to be used more so wear out sooner, so contribute to a significant increase in material waste. 3) we are talking misunderstood drops in the ocean compared to the wasted energy through poor insulation in buildings, vehicles being driven too fast, traffic jams, EU ministers flying around Europe instead of using video conferencing.......
  • Big Bad Jack on August 25 2014 said:
    Bureaucrats are like teats on a bull and a penis on a priest combined: useless.
  • mac on August 25 2014 said:
    I would LOVE to see someone (or better several someones) go into the public galleries in the US Capital and the equivalent places in Europe and at a specified time every one throws some of the new hazardous light bulbs down onto the floors so that they break and release all that mercury in the to air. First off the government personnel would go scattering (so they wouldn't get mercury poisoning, and so that they would have to bring in the hazmat teams to clean everything up. If they did it the way we are told to clean up if we drop a bulb, the governments of western society would be shut down for 2 days.
  • Lukas on August 25 2014 said:
    This is how socialist bureaucracy spreads. I have 2200 W vacuum cleaner, and most of the time I use it on 3/6 setting. I have measured that it consumes then around 1200 W power. So according to UE I should lose the ability to use settings 5 and 6 when I will but a new model. Great, just great. Sometimes they are useful, as it is much quicker to pick up using higher setting. The overall power drain may rise....
  • Gary on August 25 2014 said:
    Having a lesser powerful machine means you spent a longer time vacuuming. Which consumes more energy. (watts x time) In the end, I don't see a savings. Only an increase in consumer frustration.
  • decent on August 25 2014 said:
    2kW is a whole a lot of power. The issue with vacuum cleaners is that number of watts that is written on the box is main selling argument. It doesn't neccessarily convert into sucking power in a linear manner. As a result inefficiency is sold. For example, I have 40 years old vacuum cleaner, still working. It uses only 500W but its sucking power is equal to modern vacuum cleaners. If not better even.
    But it is heavier and larger than most modern vacuum cleaners.
    Using more power in a less efficient way allows to build cheaper and smaller vacuum cleaners. That is the point.
  • Linda on August 25 2014 said:
    1. I still dislike and refuse to use those pigtail lights....I want the Edison lightbulb returned to the stores.
    2. Those new lightbulbs POLUTE the earth...no one discards of them properly...and so they go into the garbage and release their mercury into the soil!
    3. Those new lightbulbs are detrimental to eyesight! My eyes can't take much of them!
    So, what is next on the enviro wackos' agenda?

    I am getting quite miffed by all of this! When WILL it stop?

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