Unfortunately Dogs don’t eat dust, my first experience with a Robot Vac

Unfortunately Dogs don’t eat dust, my first experience with a Robot Vac

I already had two dogs, Banana and Bear. Banana will eat any “meat-type” item to hit the ground, often in the air, on its way down. Bear will eat just about anything he considers to be edible. The dogs have been successful in keeping me from being absorbed by hot pocket crumbs and fugitive pizza rolls. The dogs, although, do not eat dust and often shed their body weight in surreal spheres of dog hair that drift throughout the house on the winds of the HVAC system. So a new member of the team was added, DustyMcDustbuster. An example of where automation augments and compliments the existing workforce. In a symbiotic relationship, dogs handle the organics and Dusty excels at capturing dirt and dog hair.

I have heard the horror stories of the dog poop spread across the house. I have heard that it is actually more difficult and you have to vacuum anyway. I accept both of those and still chose to purchase a RobotVac. With a little research filtered by the units I could pick up the day after Christmas in my area, I selected a Neato D5. I ignored all the stories I saw online about the vac spying on you in your home. I was further compelled by Best Buy’s “the cat got a RobotVac ad” and the many Roomba wrangling cats found on Youtube. Riding the Roomba is not an option for my 60 lbs dogs, but watch for later articles about me buying a cat for my RoboVac (a story that I hope will never be written). 

I spent the entire next day watching the NeatoD5 vacuuming the house. First, like a father with a new toddler, I made our home safe for DustyMcD. Making sure there were no dangerous falls, and items that would trip it up. Then I followed it around as it went on its cleaning route. Banana who hates anything with a blower sound avoided it. Bear, part stuffed animal, part MMA cage fighter was braver. Bear joined me watching Dusty on his route, breaking only to object to my removal of dog toys to aid Dusty’s cleaning.

I ran the NeatoD5 five times on day one, taking an average of 2 hours per cleaning with some breaks in the middle to recharge. The third time the robot vac still had a full canister. I paused to get the Dyson out and do a thorough vacuuming. After the NeatoD5 recharged, Bear and I watched it on its route again. Each time it seemed to be on a more logical path, that is until I would move a piece of furniture so it could get under it. Came back with a full canister each time.

At one point it wedged itself under my entertainment system, seemingly trying to drive itself further into the jam. I considered lifting everything in my house 6 inches to allow unfettered cleaning. That idea was deemed impractical after my wife consulted an attorney and confirmed that this activity could be included in a divorce complaint. Another incident involved a thin sock, long forgotten under a bed, that would prove to be too much for Dusty to handle. In my office, curtains that were too long and laid on the ground became tangled in Dusty’s beater bar, forcing him to chug down about 5 inches of fabric. After fifteen cleanings I needed to completely clean the beater bar which was a mess of tangled hair and string. After twenty-five cleanings over the course of the week, it was still filling up the canister after each route. I did not think we were that dirty of people, but the proof is in the canister.

The technology is “neato”. It is interesting to observe the decision making and how the input from the sensors affects the vac’s decision making. It actually crafts a pretty good map of your house. The area I gave it to clean was about 1,200 square feet. Dusty claims he vacuums around 885 square feet and sent me a map to prove it. I guess I will have to hold out longer for the technology that will get under the refrigerator. On that same wish list is dusting flying robot drones.

In conclusion, It does take way more time to vacuum this way, but that is not all Dusty McDusterbuster fault. My psychosis causes me to watch Dusty for at least 50% of his route, often helping by moving chairs. I have also started to throw small debris on the floor in places I know Dusty will cover instead of walking to the trashcan. The dogs have no issue with the RobotVac. At first, they were curious; now they seem to understand the route and go about their bone chewing. Dusty also motivated me to complete a long put off project, hemming the curtains in my office so Dusty would not get injured. I sometimes wish it had a speaker that you could program to say “exterminate”. I am looking forward to the model that will clean itself out, this would enable my dream of continuous vacuuming. I guess you can consider me a robot vac fan. I recommend them, just don’t buy it to save time 🙂