The Backpack Advantage

Will switching to backpack vacuums (from uprights) make cleaners more productive?

According to ISSA’s 612 Cleaning Times, a backpack vacuum cleans a 10,000 sq. ft. facility in one hour when used with a cleaning system, versus three hours with a dual motor upright.

Plus, a ProTeam backpack is 43% more efficient than a commercial upright vacuum, so not only does the backpack improve speed, but also effectiveness.

What is the most ergonomic way to vacuum?

An upright vacuum puts asymmetrical stress on the user’s arm and shoulder, putting them at greater risk for ergonomic injury. A properly fitted ProTeam commercial backpack vacuum is less taxing to wear, because it puts the majority of the vacuum’s weight on the hips. The strong muscles in the legs carry the weight while the lightweight aluminum wand maneuvers quickly around obstacles. Proper fit is key to the ergonomic benefits of a ProTeam backpack vacuum.


Why do many ProTeam vacuums use paper filter bags?

Our paper bag filters are lined inside with a synthetic material that is melt blown into the bag. This synthetic material has built-in microbial properties that permeate the filter for maximum effectiveness and does about 80% of the filtering. The filters feature specially treated media to inhibit the growth of mold, germs, and odors within the vacuum filter bag.

What filters come with ProGuard Wet/Dry vacuums?

The ProGuard 15 and ProGuard 20 units come with two filters, a wet filter and a dry filter. Brand new vacuums come with the wet filter installed, and the dry filter is included in the tank of the unit. The wet filter is designed for foam dissipation and will not capture small, dry particulate. When vacuuming dry particulate, the wet filter should be removed and the dry filter installed. Without the dry filter, the motor and sound deadening foam can clog with dirt and reduce the CFM of the vacuum. The Quick Start poster and Owner’s Manual have additional information on filter use.


What factors effect my ProTeam vacuum's efficiency?

The efficiency of a vacuum is measured by the combination of:

  • airflow (the volume of air moving through and remaining in the vacuum’s filtration path, measured in cubic feet per minute or CFM); and
  • lift or “static lift” (the ability of the vacuum’s airflow to lift dirt, typically measured in “inches”, determined by how many inches the vacuum’s airflow can pull water up a specified tube diameter in a lab test).


A motor can have a very high lift factor, but if it doesn’t pull enough air through per minute to get the debris out of the way, it loses efficiency and the debris may be re-deposited on the surface before it is pulled into the filter bag. Or it may have a lot of CFM, but not enough lift power and will pull air into the machine but not pick up anything heavier than a surface dust ball.

Also for comparison, carpet extractors use motors with a lot of static lift because they have to physically pull water out of carpeting and they need the pulling force. Motors in extractors typically have lift measurements close to 135 inches.

Why is my vacuum losing suction power?

The environmental and system variables that could affect actual results include the condition of the motor’s carbon brushes, how enclosed the airflow path is (such as secure lid latches), any possible airflow restrictions such as stuck debris through the air path or a “loaded” filter bag – meaning the walls are full of fine dust even though the bag itself looks much less than full of debris, etc.

How do you properly roll up a vacuum cord to prevent it from wearing out prematurely?

A vacuum cord withstands a lot of abuse and can quickly fray or short if it is allowed to twist up into knots. Extend the lifetime of your vacuum cord by rolling it up from the vacuum to the plug pushing any kinks or twists towards the plug as you go.

On a ProTeam backpack or canister, coil the cord loosely (not tightly wrapped around the elbow) in a circle of about 1 ½ to 2 feet in diameter until you reach the plug end. On a ProTeam upright, wrap the cord around the cord hook close to the base of the unit first, then wind it back up to the cord hook on the handle. Do no pull the cord up to the handle first as this will create a hard bend in the cord causing premature wear.

Try to roll up the cord the same way every time you store the vacuum. Once your cord is “trained”, it should easily store without twisting.

Can I tie the extension cord of my backpack vacuum in a knot with the plug instead of using the cord holder?

Tying the extension cord into a knot will prematurely wear out this part of the cord, leading to a kink in the cord and creating a risk of cracking and/or fraying. The cord holder is an essential part of the backpack vacuum that allows you to create a secure connection between the extension cord and the plug without causing damage.

What is the size-limit of object I can suck up with a ProTeam backpack vacuum?

With a backpack vacuum, the size of the wand will determine what objects can easily pass through without getting stuck around the bend. For a typical wand that is 1 ½ inches in diameter, you should vacuum objects no larger than 1 inch in diameter. If you are continually facing large debris, one of our vacuums designed for industrial or food service applications might be more advantageous.

In what situations is it best to use a cordless/battery-powered vacuum?

The wonder of a cordless vacuum is that it can go anywhere. Eliminating the restriction of a cord improves speed in classrooms, wide-open spaces, and around office cubicles. Our users also like the mobility of the cordless units for navigating stairwells, elevators, and building occupants in 24-hour facilities.


What does my vacuum’s number of amps mean?

Amperage (amps) represents the power drawn from a source in order to perform a task, not the output of power. Amperage will vary with all motors while doing a task. Generally speaking, with all things being equal (two motors with the same performance), lower amps means the less energy is used to reach the expected performance. However, the overall performance of a vacuuming system is the critical piece.

Are ProTeam vacuums compatible with LEED-Certified buildings?

LEED is a rating system sponsored by the United States Green Building Council. It is a point based system. It is NOT a product certification, but rather a set of guidelines a building must adhere to in order to be LEED certified. LEED does not provide a listing of which companies or which models qualify. To see if a vacuum model qualifies for LEED, look at the requirements and then look at the vacuum specifications. LEED requires that vacuums are certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) "Green Label" program and that the db level must be below 70dba. All of ProTeam vacuums qualify for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) under current requirements. For more information on LEED, refer to the website,

Repair / Replace

How often should I replace my vacuum’s Motor Carbon Brush?

Refer to each product’s Owner’s Manual for recommended replacement schedule, but generally for most backpacks, the original motor’s brushes should be replaced after 800 hours of use; the 2nd set replaced after 400 hours of use; and the third set replaced after 200 hours of use. After that, the motor should be replaced.

Proper Usage

What is the proper way to vacuum an area (large or small)?

When vacuuming a large area with a backpack vacuum, technique is critical to optimum speed and performance. Rather than pushing the vacuum head back and forth, like an upright, use your core muscles and twist, sweeping the lightweight aluminum wand like a windshield wiper. Twist at the waist, moving the arms and shoulders as little as possible, and keeping the arms close to the body. Sweep the wand, step forward, and sweep it back. With this technique, the backpack vacuum can clean three times faster than a commercial upright.

What is the best way to vacuum around fixed objects?

A ProTeam backpack vacuum’s lightweight aluminum wand is ergonomically designed to maneuver around obstacles without causing strain to the user - even in crowded spaces full of desks and chairs. Besides the standard floor tool, we recommend a three-inch dust brush, five-inch upholstery tool, and 17-inch crevice tool as the perfect arsenal to attack any cleaning challenge.

If I cut back on vacuum frequency and deep cleanings, what are the effects on occupant health?

Asthmatics and those with allergies respond to triggers in the environment. If the air is not adequately cleaned with a high filtration vacuum, pollen, dander, dust, and other pollutants can concentrate in the air, posing an ongoing health risk. Unfortunately, sensitive occupants may not immediately make the connection from their discomfort to changes in the maintenance routine.

It is up to maintenance managers to open a dialogue with building occupants first. When cutting back on vacuuming frequencies, do so in slow increments while gathering data from building occupants to be sure health and comfort do not deteriorate.

Is it practical for departments to offer various types of vacuums (uprights, backpacks, canisters) in their cleaning arsenal?Many cleaning programs use a full range of vacuum types to meet any situation. Others prefer program-wide consistency, which allows ease of training and savings in equipment maintenance. If you clean buildings with mostly low-pile commercial carpet and hard flooring, a backpack vacuum can meet all your needs. If you are constantly switching environments, flooring types, and soil levels, it might be beneficial to have more variety.

Beater Bar

Do I need a beater bar to vacuum commercial carpet?

For short-pile commercial carpeting, the beater bar is non-essential and, in some cases, does more harm than good. It can mat the carpet pile and kick up dirt and dust into the air. Standard commercial backpacks are suction only, which means they capture dirt and dust with the least amount of contact, preserving the life of carpeting and the cleanliness of the environment.

Do I need a beater bar to vacuum residential carpet?

With higher-pile residential carpeting, the beater bar is helpful to lift the carpet pile and release deep-seated soil. You can achieve this with a ProTeam upright vacuum. If you prefer the productivity and ergonomics of a backpack vacuum, you have two options. The Sierra with powerhead has an electrically powered beater bar that will create the striping effect in the carpet that often makes residential customers feel confident that their carpets have been vacuumed properly. The other option is to choose a standard ProTeam backpack vacuum like the Super Coach Pro and use it with the Turbo Brush attachment. The Turbo Brush has a beater bar that is powered by the vacuum’s airflow and will clean higher pile carpet to an excellent standard of clean without creating as pronounced of a striping effect in the carpet pile.

What is a direct-suction vacuum?

Our standard commercial backpack vacuums, like the Super Coach Pro and the Super CoachVac, are suction-only or direct suction vacuums. This means they capture dirt and dust with the least amount of contact, preserving the life of flooring and the cleanliness of the environment. Direct-suction also means that ProTeam backpack vacuums have fewer moving parts than vacuums with beater bars, meaning there are fewer parts to wear out or break down, reducing the need for replacements and repairs.


What type of flooring is considered healthier, carpet or hard floors?​​

Numerous studies have shown that carpet traps soil and allergens that settle to the ground, so they cannot be kicked back into the air and inhaled. The downside is carpet that is not properly maintained can turn into a “dust sink”, able to hold more than its weight in soil. Consistent vacuuming with a high filtration commercial vacuum is key to reaping the health benefits of carpet, so it doesn’t become a nesting place for soil and allergens.

If I cut back on carpet cleaning frequencies, how much faster is the carpet going to degrade?

Commercial carpeting that is properly maintained has an average usable lifespan of 11 years*. This is when heavy traffic areas are vacuumed daily and medium-to-light traffic areas are vacuumed thoroughly at least three times a week. If cleaning frequencies are reduced, you can expect that lifespan to go down. The rate of decline will depend on the facility, its traffic, and usage.

*A Life-Cycle Cost Analysis for Floor Coverings in School Facilities by Jeff Bishop

What is wicking?

Wicking is the result of soil trapped in carpet padding or subflooring that moves to the tips of carpet fibers as it dries after cleaning. A carpet stain is like an iceberg. Wicking is the visible tip of the iceberg that indicates the stain is still present below.

How can I prevent wicking?

The only way to prevent wicking is to ensure that carpet, pad, and subfloors are thoroughly rinsed and dried after a spill. If possible, address a wet spill immediately. Use your cleaning solution of choice, rinse heavily, and then remove as much moisture as possible with a wet/dry vacuum. Thoroughly go over the area for several passes after the visible spill is gone, then use an air mover to speed-dry the area.

If the spill has already dried completely, thoroughly vacuum to pull up as much dry material as possible. Then precondition, allowing a proper dwell time for your cleaning solution, rinse, clean, and speed-dry as above.

How often should carpet be vacuumed?

The first step to determine proper vacuuming frequency is to divide a facility by usage. Clean the highest traffic areas daily, medium traffic areas two or three times a week, and all other areas weekly to address particulate matter that affects Indoor Air Quality.

What are the advantages of using vacuums on hard floors?

It is essential to vacuum hard flooring to effectively capture dust. Dust mops and brooms are notorious for kicking up dust and leaving it hanging in the air to settle after the cleaning crew is gone. A suction-only or direct suction ProTeam backpack vacuum captures soil and dust directly off hard floors, rather than pushing it into a pile and into the air first.

What are the benefits of using a vacuum to clean hard flooring and vertical surfaces?

Dust mops and dusters may temporarily clear soil off a surface, but they usually leave dust and allergens floating in the air, waiting to settle back down. These tools move soil, but they do not effectively contain it. A suction-only backpack vacuum with Four Level® Filtration captures and contains 99.9 percent of particulate matter down to 1 micron in size, improving cleanliness and IAQ.

Purchasing Tips

What should I look for when purchasing a quiet vacuum?

A decibel level at or below 66 will not to disturb normal conversation happening nearby. There are models that operate at that level with full commercial suction power. Other vacuums can switch to a quiet mode of 51 decibels, what one of our users called “whisper mode”, which lowers the suction power. Purchasers should choose based on what level of sound and suction is desired.

What attachments should every cleaning program have?

Whatever the facility, these are the essentials. A floor tool that transitions from carpeting to hard flooring is a must to eliminate time loss from switching tools. An upholstery tool and a dust brush address detail cleaning on furniture, blinds, and architectural details. A crevice tool is one of the most essential tools for hard to reach areas. Our crevice tools vary in length between 11 and 28 inches and can clean in tight places where you might otherwise need to move furniture or appliances to reach, which can be a huge time saver. 

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