Back in June, I picked up an iRobot Roomba 550 from Costco. It’s one of those purchases where I was not sure if I would continue to use it in the long run. After four months, I am certain that the Roomba is a keeper. My boyfriend helped me with naming it: Robert. It might sound silly to name a gadget, but it’s pretty convenient: “Oh, Robert’s cleaning”; “Robert is done”. I’m not the only Roomba owner who has a name for her robotic housekeeper. Besides, I like to name my gadgets, like my computers, GPS voice, PDA, etc.
In October of last year, I got the Litter Robot . Due to logistics, I had to place it near the entrance of my bedroom instead of in an out-of-the-way spot. When my cats jumped out of the Litter Robot, they would kick some litter out onto the carpet. I had to vacuum a few times a week to avoid having to step on litter crumbs.
The time it took to set up and do the cleaning added up, so I decided to look into getting a Roomba. My concern was whether it would be safe to have it running around in my cats’ presence. iRobot assured pet owners that the Roomba was safe for pets. I can confirm that. Not only is it safe, it has provided some great entertainment to see how my cats responded to the Roomba invading their space. They usually stay out of the way but if not, Robert is very gentle and doesn’t hurt the cats when he bumps into them. My cats haven’t tried to flip him over. They tried to chew on the side brushes but I scolded them and they haven’t tried since. I think it is important to be there in the beginning when using noisy, moving gadgets to reassure the cats that it is okay and safe.
I wish that Robert could go longer without me having to clear the brushes. I didn’t have to do that with my regular vacuum after years of use. The cool thing though is that if there is an issue, there is a voice that tells me that the brushes need to be removed and cleaned or whatever complaint Robert has. It’s a female voice, though. For people who don’t have long hair or pet fur, the Roomba could probably last longer with less maintenance between uses.
When I registered my Roomba, iRobot offered a 15% discount on an order of accessories. The hard part was figuring out what to order. I looked around for advice but couldn’t find anything that was useful. I’ll share what I have learned.
- The Roomba set that I got from Costco came with the Brush Cleaning Tool. This is very useful for removing hair from the bristle brush.
- I got a replacement order of brushes. It took a long time for me to decide on this because I could not find reliable information on how long they lasted and whether it was even necessary to ever replace them. However, I came across a suggestion that having an extra set is useful for when there isn’t enough time to clean the one set of brushes. I have had times where I would have preferred not to deal with the brushes, but didn’t want Robert to get stuck when he vacuumed while I was away. With the extra brushes, I can just remove the dirty ones and pop in clean ones when I didn’t have time to clean.
- Filters need to be replaced every few months so I purchased extra at the time to take advantage of the discount. I read where someone would wash the filter to avoid having to replace it but the filter can get so dirty that I didn’t think it was worth the effort. But that’s just me. I’m lazy; that’s why I got an automatic vacuum cleaner.
- I got 2 more Virtual Wall® Lighthouse™, which help block out sections of the room without needing to set up physical barriers.
In the beginning, I set Robert’s schedule so that he would run in the morning at around the same time as my alarm to make me wake up. After being awoken on a holiday morning, I decided to have him run after I had left for work. He runs three times a week and does a pretty good job. It’s a good idea to keep the regular vacuum cleaner around for an occassional deep clean. In addition, it makes me more disciplined about keeping my floor clear all the time since Robert cleans so many times a week.
Of course, I can also get him to run manually. In fact, he is vacuuming as I type this blog post.