EU Legislation threatens our Clean Carpets

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

UK homeowners will feel the force of new Brussels regulations early next month, as the most powerful vacuum cleaner models bite the dust.

New EU energy efficiency labelling rules are set to come into force on 1 September. From then on, all new appliances will have to display an A-G efficiency rating. The real stinger, however, is that European countries won't be able to make or import vacuum cleaners with motors exceeding 1600W.

Environmentalists will no doubt support the eco-initiative, but homeowners are likely to be less impressed by the impact on energy-hungry hoovers. Both The Guardian and the BBC are reporting that many vacuum cleaner models marked out as ‘Best Buys’ by the consumer magazine Which? will fall foul of the new rules. In fact, five of the top seven hoovers in one of its most recent studies are going to be hit.

The ban will certainly have knock-on effects, particularly for dust allergy sufferers. Householders may need to use less powerful hoovers for longer to get rid of dust and to scrub up grubby carpets. Regular once-overs may also no longer be enough, meaning that ground-in dirt will have to be treated with chemical-filled cleaners. We could even see more home insurance claims being made to replace damaged carpets.

The inventor James Dyson, whose products will not be directly affected by the new rules, has nevertheless called for a judicial review. The EU’s own ecodesign requirements for vacuum cleaners state that any new changes “should not affect functionality from the end-user’s perspective”.

But Marlene Holzner, spokesperson for the European Commission's energy department, has denied that the regulations will negatively affect homeowners. She wrote on the organisation's blog that they will "ensure quality, help consumers save money, and make Europe as a whole use less energy".

So, the new move might help Europe clean up its act regarding energy consumption, but will it really improve the overall standard of products available? If you don’t want to wait around to find out, you'll need to get down to the shops before the month ends.


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