The Influence of Backpack Vacuums on Labor Costs

The Influence of Backpack Vacuums on Labor Costs

Keeping labor costs under control can be challenging. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic where heightened cleaning and disinfection requirements need to be met. Your custodial and building & grounds staff are tasked with more labor than previous years to keep up with this need and ensure your schools are safe for the return to in-person learning. This can also put your workers at an increased risk for fatigue, which can lead to issues with their safety. Many factors affect your labor savings, like training and resources, but it’s important to remember the influence you have as a superintendent.

One of the main ways to reduce the impact of labor costs is to improve the efficiency of your cleaning tasks so you can get more done in less time. Floors are a big concern for many superintendents because most of the dirt that enters your facility ends up on your floors from foot traffic in and out of your entryways. Carpets have been a popular choice for school flooring for areas like classrooms, entryway matting, libraries, and other high-traffic areas. Carpets are useful since they’re stylish, sound absorbent, and cost-effective. However, they trap allergens and other contaminants easily and affect the indoor air quality of your building.

Not maintaining carpets properly leads to a buildup of these contaminants and mold where moisture is left, like from a leak or spill. Since sections of damaged carpet are hard to replace and can be expensive, it’s important to be proactive about your carpet maintenance. Daily dry vacuuming is necessary to maintain the appearance and integrity of your flooring, and it removes contaminants which would otherwise be recirculated into the air. Finding ways to vacuum faster and cover more space efficiently will help to reduce your cost associated with floor maintenance.

Backpack vacuums are newer to the market than other traditional vacuums, like upright or canister vacuums, and they have measurable cost benefits. They can clean up to 3-4x faster than upright vacuums since they allow for increased mobility and comfort for your staff. Custodians maintain a neutral body posture when using backpack vacuums and they’re able to maneuver around obstacles like furniture and desks easier. They also make cleaning hard-to-reach areas that trap dirty easily more effective. Tasks like vacuuming stairs can add excess time to labor when custodians are lugging around a heavy vacuum that requires a cord, but backpack vacuums can eliminate both these hurdles. Even tasks like cleaning high windowsills which attract dust is doable with extension wands, like in stair wells or gymnasiums. Staff will need to be trained on how to maintain their batteries if they decide to go cordless, but this will save you labor time.

It can be challenging implementing new equipment for your team, some custodians may feel uncomfortable wearing a backpack vacuum at first. Emphasizing the better ergonomics and reduced back strain will help to reduce any hesitations to using a backpack vacuum they may have, and they’ll have more time back in their day to finish other tasks that need to get done. You can ensure reduced back strain for your staff and make daily operations safer for your team. According to ISSA, ProTeam backpack vacuums cover 14,286 square feet per hour on average, and a ProTeam corded backpack covers 10,000 square feet per hour on average. ISSA reports traditional upright vacuums only cover 2,875 square feet per hour on average. If you apply this to a $13 per hour wage, your district could have their investment returned to them in only 20 hours of vacuuming.

As we continue to put an emphasis on healthy schools for students and staff, it’s important to look for creative ways to reduce the impact of labor costs and increase cleaning efficiency. This enables you to have more resources to keep your schools healthy and allows you to reallocate time to other labor tasks.

Cleaning Restrooms – It’s More Than Just Toilets

Cleaning Restrooms – It’s More Than Just Toilets

Surprisingly, a toilet is not a restroom’s most unsanitary place. There’s many different surfaces that harbor bacteria in a restroom that are often overlooked but can’t be missed to prevent germ transmission. Amid the covid-19 pandemic ensuring proper cleaning and disinfecting measures are more important than ever. Public restrooms are confined high-traffic areas that can (and already have/will continue to) contribute to the transmission of coronavirus.

There are many high-touch points that are often overlooked when a custodian or training program is focused on floors and toilets.

  • Door handles are usually unavoidable when entering or exiting a restroom. Cleaning and disinfecting handles as well as touch soap and water dispensers (that harbor more bacteria than their touch-free alternatives) are important steps not to forget. Jet air dryers spread 1,300 times more bacteria than paper towels according to the Journal of Applied Microbiology. If you have a jet air dryer consider speaking with your sales professional about the benefits of using a touch-free paper towel dispensing system.
  • Other common touch points that can be overlooked include light switches and grab rails. Rails should be cleaned with microfiber cloths frequently following proper label instructions for the chemicals used. It’s important not to use steel wool or anything that could cause grab rails to rust.
  • Restroom stall walls and stall handles/locks are near toilets and can become covered in bacteria from toilet plume. Take extra care to ensure they are cleaned and disinfected when cleaning the rest of your restroom since most people touch stall door handles or stall walls when exiting a stall.
  • Remember to use disinfectants and other products on the U.S. EPA’s List-N that are effective against SARS-COV-2 and always follow proper dilution and application dwell times

As we continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, it’s essential to follow a strict cleaning protocol and keep in mind overlooked high-touch points which spread germs. We’re all in this together and implementing a training program that highlights proper restroom cleaning and disinfecting is imperative to the health and well-being of your team and patrons in your building.

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Bed Bugs have preferences in colors…

Growing up, we use to chuckle when our parents told us “Goodnight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” – little did they know that Bed Bugs would become a disgusting infestation and a majorno-bed-bugs problem among even the nicest hotels, apartment complexes and homes today. 

As a quick refresher: Bed bugs are no bigger than a sesame seed, so they can go undetected very easily.  They live in articles of clothing, furniture, and bedding.  You can pick them up when you are staying in a hotel, or even while you are shopping and not even know it! Bed bugs are not known to spread disease, but they do feed on human blood.  Their bites create persistent itching and skin rashes.  To thwart the existence of these pests in our homes, many different types of insecticides have been created, but it’s an on-going struggle as the bed bugs grow resistant to the insecticides.

 A new study released in the Journal of Medical Entomology reveals that Bed Bugs are more attracted to certain colors when seeking shelter from daylight. The research uncovered that Bed Bugs gravitate towards reds and blacks while avoiding whites, yellows and greens. The Washington Post reported that many insects use color as a behavioral cue and it is usually easy and inexpensive to change things and design new traps. The study also uncovered that bugs that were hungry had no color preferences.

Read the Full Study Here.

Price Increase Alert: Can Liners

FuturaCanLinersDue to an increasing global and domestic demand, a polyethylene resin price increase has been implemented. As a result, all Berry Plastics can liners carried by Pike Systems will have a manufacturer implemented 7% price increase. We will continue to work closely with you to manage the impact of these pricing adjustments and keep you updated to any changes in the market. 

Thank you!

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Routine Preventative Maintenance for your ProTeam Backpack Vacuum

Just as you maintain your car by getting a regular oil change, frequent preventative maintenance is required to extend the life and performance of your ProTeam Vacuum.


Maintenance of the vacuum filters is vital to the safety of the equipment. A clogged/dirty filter restricts air flow and can result in a reduction of suction and vacuum overheating which would then damage the motor. Your environment will be the determiner of how often you will need to change your filters. Integrate the following tips into the cleaning routines at your facility:

  • Create and record all maintenance in a filter maintenance log
  • Cleaning professionals should check filters before and after use as well as every two hours of continued use to make sure that the filters are providing good air flow. Make sure that the pores of the filter are not clogged after it has been emptied. Always check for rips or tears and replace as needed.
  • Once a week, pull out the dome filter located in the bottom of the vacuum – shake out, rinse, and let dry
  • Every two weeks, inspect the HEPA filters – these filters should be replaced every 6 months or when they become discolored.
  • Once a month, hand or machine wash the Micro Cloth Filters and let air dry – Do Not put in the dryer.
  • The outer body of the vacuum can be cleaned with a wet sponge or cloth as needed.

 In the event that your vacuum does need to be repair, Pike Systems offers repair services and also sells Vacuum Repair parts right on our ecommerce site. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have!