Ask the Building Maintenance Experts
Solutions for Your Toughest Problems

ICAN  Q & A  Home

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Question

Is there a certain type of vacuum that can pick up sand without hurting the fan or motor? I oversee the cleaning of a child development center and the kiddies dump sand unto the carpet. Our Sanitaires are getting some abuse.


Answer

Actually, you have several choices to avoid this problem.
The most obvious is to go with a back pack style where the motor creating the suction is located after the bag and filters in the airstream and there is no impeller exposed to the abrasive sand.
However, you are working on carpet, and the back pack wand and tool have no driven agitator to loosen the sand, making your movement of the carpet tool the only means of doing so.
You can consider a canister vac to use in just the areas of concern. Here, too, the vac motor is located after the bag and is free from any abrasives. As with the back pack, the work can get tiring unless there is an electrically powered agitation tool available. Many household and commercial canister vacs have this option. (Model M Vacuum and others)
Another possibility is to go with a two motor commercial upright vac that uses one motor to drive the agitator brush and another to create the airflow, with the latter located in the airstream beyond the bag and filters. This will give you the release of the sand and the protection of the vacuum motor in one machine. (pile lifter vacuum)
Check the Internet and/or your local supplier to learn what is available to suit your needs.
Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Associate Editor
lekrafft@juno.com