The controversial EU ban on powerful vacuums.

You may be surprised to learn that as of September 1st 2014 companies are no longer permitted to produce vacuum cleaners with motors over 1600 watts. The EU has introduced a ban, outlawing the production and import of vacuums with motors above 1600 watts in an attempt to improve energy efficiency, decrease emissions and encourage research into energy efficient technologies. This is quite a big change, with the average vacuum cleaners at the moment having 1800W motors.

This new legislation from the European Union has caused quite a bit of controversy, with many feeling that the EU is just trying to assert its power over European Countries. We want to offer our customers both sides of the argument, so that you can have an informed opinion on the matter without jumping to any conclusions.

Why?

The most important question is why has the EU introduced this ban on vacuum cleaners with powerful motors? The simple answer is the environment. The EU wants us to work together to tackle climate change and encourage nations to decrease carbon emissions on a whole, by implementing this legislation across Europe the hope is not only will individual households use less energy, but that companies will also research and develop new energy efficient technologies to use in the production of vacuum cleaners, so that they can perform to a high standard without guzzling energy. According to Which?, using a 16,000W vacuum will cost around £8 less a year to run in electricity than the best 2,200W vac when cleaning a 100 metre squared house once a week.

Of course there are downsides to this ban. It has been suggested that the energy saved by using a less powerful motor will be cancelled out as people will just use their vacuum cleaners for longer using just as much energy. There is also the question of how it will impact asthma and allergy sufferers, with suggestions that weaker models will leave behind dust and pet hair as they won’t pick up as much as powerful vacuums previously available which had motors up to 2,200W.

Sample label from which.co.uk

The ban is not the only thing that has been introduced by the EU; vacuum cleaners also must now feature an energy rating label, similar to those found on washing machines and freezers among other large appliances. The label will help customers make an informed decision when choosing a vacuum cleaner, helping you understand the energy efficiency of the product while also including information regarding annual energy usage, emissions, noise levels and ratings of how the cleaner picks up on both carpets and hard floors.

An expert opinion?

Whatever you are thinking, it might help to make up your mind knowing that vacuum cleaner expert Dyson supports the ban, claiming that the company has never produced a cleaner with a motor higher than 1,400W. Dyson vacuums are famous for their innovative designs and powerful performance, and if they can produce an acceptable model by homeowners standards then it is not an impossible feat for other companies. While James Dyson does support the legislation, the company is submitting the energy rating label for judicial review, stating that it only rates the vacuum on its performance without containing any dust, which does make a difference, and so the labels could be misleading.

Of course the EU are not planning to stop there, by 2017 they hope to be able to stop the production of vacuum cleaners with motors higher than 900W. What’s more, there is a plan to introduce energy ratings to smaller appliances such as high powered hairdryers, toasters and blenders.

We want to know your thoughts on this new legislation. Will the ban affect you? Do you think it really will reduce the amount of energy we use or is this just a case of Brussels asserting its power, as one newspaper suggests? Or are you completely neutral on the subject?

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