Help Cleaning The House: Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Roomba

Roomba

I absolutely love a clean house. Now with two dogs (and one that sheds year round), it isn’t always easy to keep the floor clean. Vacuuming is hard on my wrists, so I try not to do it very often. The VERY best thing we did to avoid the pain in my wrists from cleaning is to hire someone else to do the cleaning 🙂  However, in between cleaning day and the rest of the time, the dog hair and dirt on our wood floors tends to build up.

I would recommend a Roomba to anyone who has pets and hardwood floors. We don’t have thick carpet anywhere in the house, though we have a few area rugs made from Flor tiles – so the pile is very low. The Roomba does a great job getting the fur off of these low carpets as well. I’m not sure how a Roomba works on thick carpet.

I run the Roomba about every three days (I told you I love a clean house) to get up excess dog hair and the dirt that we track in.

iRobot Roomba 610 Professional Review

PROS

  • Picks up fine dirt, dog hair, and more off of the floor
  • Can be programmed to run while you are gone
  • Cleans under things that a regular vacuum can’t reach.

CONS

  • Dog hair gets stuck in the various small parts, even with regular cleaning of brushes. Sometimes you have to remove screws to open up the front part of the machine to remove hair from the wheel well.
  • Dogs are afraid of it (well, maybe this isn’t so bad).
  • Noisy enough to make it hard to watch television while it is on.

Price

Roombas vary in price from around $400 to $700. There are different features on the different models. I have not tried the new Roombas that are supposed to be for people with allergies and pets, but supposedly those models handle pet hair better and come with a HEPA filter to reduce the spread of dust into the air. I wonder if they are worth the extra money?

How It Works

I have found that the Roomba works best when it is only cleaning a couple of rooms at a time rather than the whole house. It seems to focus better and get more of the dirt up. With the virtual walls that come with the machine, you can block Roomba from entering rooms. Just set the virtual walls at the edge of the door pointing across the doorway and turn on. The Roomba only comes with two virtual walls, so if you have to block more open doorways, you’ll have to be creative.

We don’t run our Roomba on a program because our schedules change daily. Rather, I turn it on when I am leaving and know that we will be gone for a good hour. However, Roombas can be programmed to vacuum at a certain time each day.

Be sure to pick up computer cords off of the floor before you run the Roomba – they tend to get caught in the brushes. I also block access to any small phone cords or extension cords.

When it is time for Roomba to begin charging again, it (almost always) returns to the charger by itself. Sometimes I come home and have to play “find the Roomba” to put it back on the charger.

You will also occasionally need to take out the rear well caster and clean hair  and dirt off of it as well.

Maintenance

Roomba instructions tell you to clean the brushes every time you use it. I don’t find the brushes getting nearly as dirty as the ends of the brushes that connect to the mechanisms that turn them. That seems to be where the dog hair (and human hair) gets wound up. Be sure to clean all of that out before you use Roomba again or you could get an error message. It’s also a good idea to dump the dirt tray each time.

Occasionally you will need to replace the filter – though I have my doubts as to how important that part is.

I have found that keeping a good pair of tweezers in the Roomba case is a good idea. They help me get the pet hair out of the crevices, which keeps the Roomba working well.

Other Notes

We originally had a Roomba 560, which I managed to kill in about a year due to pet hair getting stuck in the many fine parts. We switched to the professional series and I have had less problems with this one. We’ve had it for two years now and it is running well. I have had to open it up to remove pet hair from the wheel well only twice so far.

I would definitely recommend getting one with a molded soft-touch bumper. When the Roomba does run in to furniture, this cushions the blow. My first Roomba did not have this and I heard it banging into furniture much more often. Our newest Roomba – the professional series slows down better when it comes close to furniture and when it does bump into it, it doesn’t seem to make nearly as much noise and I feel like it isn’t going to mark the furniture.

I love the little musical notes the Roomba makes when it is done and back on the charger. It always makes me think that the Roomba is saying “I’m done, I accomplished the task!”