Author Topic: My vacuum cleaner really sucks!  (Read 1525 times)


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My vacuum cleaner really sucks!
« on: March 01, 2015, 01:00:32 PM »
Or, at least, it does now. :)  Far more so than a few days ago.

TL;DR: Vacuum cleaner maintenance matters, is gross, but worth it.

I've had this upright vacuum for close to a decade.  It's a pretty standard bagless upright - foam filters, beater bar with adjustable height, etc.  I clean the main filter every now and then, and clean the secondary filter on occasion.  I mostly ignored the third filter because, well, it's paper, and how dirty can it really be after the first two?

I also generally hadn't paid much attention to the beater bar.  I'll cut some of the hair off if it's really bad, and I replace the belt if it breaks.  Yes, I've read the "Replace belt every 6 months for optimum performance" stuff on the bags, and I openly admit I didn't do that.  Why would I?  It's working fine!  It works just as fine as it did last time I used it!

It's been sort of lazy about the beater bar lately as well.  I had to raise the carpet setting so the bar would turn.  I didn't recall having to do this previously, but, eh, whatever, it's still vacuuming, right?  I'm sure it's fine... the container fills with stuff, so it's working.

Well, the other day, my wife was vacuuming and it cooked a belt.  Also, set off a smoke detector.  *sigh*  Time to replace the belt, I guess.

So, I dug in.  The belt was, as expected, utterly fried.  It wasn't broken, but it was pretty badly melted in a few areas, and generally very loose.  I don't know the last time I replaced it - probably 4-5 years, at least.

I pulled the beater bar, and after half an hour of cutting hair off it (we both have long hair, and you literally could not tell the bar was yellow), and also trimming some plastic where it had melted a groove into it (enough hair built up that it created enough friction to melt some of the plastic... whoops), I noticed that it really wasn't turning freely.  It would turn, but not spin.  So, a bit more fiddling later, and I pulled the end caps off.  They're just a friction fit, and once they came off, WOAH, there was a lot more hair in there pressing on the bearings!  And, also, the bearings are press fit and replaceable.  Good to know.  After removing all that, the bar spun freely.  Time to reassemble!

The new belt was... really very tight.  A lot tighter than the old one.  It actually took some work to get everything in place with the new belt being so tight.  Oh, and cleaned all the filters, including the paper filter.  Which, apparently, wasn't supposed to be black.  The new one was white.

And then I fired it up.  WOW.  It's a totally different machine.  Even on a low carpet setting, the beater bar spins furiously, with a pretty solid roar against the carpet.  And, just to test it, ran over some areas that had been freshly vacuumed pre-repair.  Ew.  Lots and lots of fine dust and grit got sucked up out of things that were just vacuumed.  It's back to the monster of a vacuum I recall it being!

So, lessons learned.  Vacuum cleaner beater bar belts can and do get loose enough to slip long, long before they fail.  Paper post-filters do, in fact, filter, and should be replaced on occasion.  And my vacuum has replaceable sealed bearings in the beater bar!  I'll probably try to replace the belt on a more or less annual basis at this point, since clearly 4-5 years is way too long.

Clean your vacuum. :)

Also, dismantling a vacuum, cutting hair off the beater bar, and generally doing a lot of gross maintenance is still more interesting than the most recent Indiana Jones film.