Household chores seem much less of a drag when you can do them to music. But what if your cleaning equipment interferes with your tunes? Our testers noticed this with some steam cleaners in our latest tests.
Interference from mobile phones is something we’re used to. The familiar blip and buzz from the radio or speakers or the jittery picture on TV when you’ve left your phone too close.
But in our latest steam mop tests, we found something unexpected: we heard interference from our digital radio when using a couple of the steam cleaners. When we switched the water pump motor on, there was interference, but when switched it off, it stopped.
In 2013 we looked into a report about an energy-saving LED lightbulb that turned off a DAB radio when it was switched on. So, in true Which? style, we sent a batch of cheap generic LED bulbs to the lab for testing. We discovered that when a digital radio was placed within a few metres of the switched-on bulbs the signal went fuzzy. But, when the radio was only a few centimetres from the bulbs, it cut out completely.
Nearly 500 of you got in touch with your experiences and reported interference with other products too, including sound bars, TVs, digital hearing aids and solar panels.
Is steam mop interference a problem for you?
Electromagnetic interference is usually behind this. For example, electrical currents moving through the circuits in your steam cleaner might have a similar frequency to the radio station you’re tuned into. Household devices, from TVs to washing machines, have to pass European EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) tests before they can go on sale. Usually, an appliance will be designed to limit the amount of interference they’re likely to be affected by, or liable to cause. But this doesn’t eliminate all possibility of interference.
We’re interested in your stories to find out how widespread a problem this is. Have you noticed interference when using your steam cleaner? If so, let us know, including the make of steam cleaner you were using, the type of interference you heard and the device it affected.