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Is Your Vacuum Running a Little Rough After The Holidays?

Posted Jan 04 2011 11:20am
Is your vacuum running a little rough after the holidays, or maybe its not picking up anything at all?  Thinking about trashing it, purchasing a new one, or taking it to a professional?

I challenge you to fix it yourself! 

And of course I'm going to show you how.

1.First get the vacuum, a disposable plastic bag, a screwdriver (one that fits in the screws on the bottom of your vacuum, most likely a Phillips head (that is the one that looks like  + )), a pair of scissors, old cloth, and a pencil (or other long tough skinny object).

*Important* Make sure your kids are safely occupied before attempting this project.

**Important** Make sure your vacuum is unplugged before attempting this project.

2.Make yourself comfortable on the floor.

3.Lay the vacuum out on the floor with the very bottom facing the ceiling.

4.Place the bag, open, partly under the part of the vacuum you are working on. (This is so when you start taking it apart the dirt and dust will fall into the bag so you wont be vacuuming it up a second time)

5. Find the screws that keeps the bottom cover on the vacuum and unscrew all of them.  Set them aside in a pile at a safe enough distance that you wont accidentally scatter them if you have to get up in a hurry to tend the children.  (But close enough to you that you can grab them if the kids start honing in on the fact that you are doing something important)

6.  Pull the cover off the vacuum.  If it is hard to remove, make sure you have gotten all the screws out.  Otherwise you might just have to tug a little harder.  (Mine snaps into place, so I have to give it a good tug.)

*I know this is scary you don't want to ruin your vacuum, but think of the alternatives; junking it, purchasing a new one, paying someone to do what your doing usually for $100)  Plus once you do this the first time, you will always know how to fix your vacuum, saving you years of money and lowering your carbon footprint)

7.  Flip over the cover and remove any dust bunnies with the cloth, make sure you are wiping them into the bag.

8. Carefully remove the propeller bar, it has a band hooked onto it on one side.  You can either slide it out of the band or carefully unhook the band where it connects to the vacuum on its other end by using the screw driver.  If you choose to remove the band set it with your pile of screws.

9. Keeping the propeller bar over the bag, use the scissors to carefully cut out all of the stuff that has accumulated in the propeller, causing it not to work properly.  (I once found a small, 3, stack of wipes my husband had just run over with the vacuum instead of picking them up to throw them away, I'm guessing he wanted to see if he could actually do it.  Needless to say he flushed when I showed him the evidence)

10.Once you have removed every thing, wipe it off with the cloth if it is still dusty.  Set the propeller bar aside next to your pile of screws.

11. Next you will want to tilt your vacuum up toward a source of light and check the tunnel to see if it is clogged.  If this is your first time cleaning it out, it will mostly likely be packed full.  Use a pencil or other object to dig the stuff out into the bag.  You may have to stand your vacuum up right and bang it against the floor to get more of the stuff to come down.  Some vacuums also come apart half way up the tunnel.  If you want to you can take the vacuum apart there and it will help you unclog it.  Just pay attention to how it comes apart, taking pictures even, if you need to, to remind you how it goes back together. 

12.  Also check the the outgoing tunnel that goes into the canister/bag for debris that you can fish out.

13. After you have removed everything, which could take awhile, start by placing the propeller bar back through the band.  Make sure you have it going the right direction.  The belt will loop around the part of the propeller bar that has a certain spot for it to turn the bar.  And replace it into the propeller chamber, you may need to tug on it a bit to get it back in.  The belt requires a certain tension to make it work, so it is harder to put the propeller bar back i than it is to take it out.

*My propeller has a shape on each end and if they are not facing the right direction they wont fit back into the base of the vacuum.

14.  The cover on mine has tabs on one side that have to be slide into place and then the rest snaps down into place.  Replace your cover. Replace all screws. Breathe.  You are done!

15.  Next you can check the canister of the vacuum.   Usually there are some insides that if you turn them to one side or another you can get remove and clean them off.

16.  There is also a filter that will either need to be replace or you can rinse it out.  To replace it write down the make and model for your vacuum and go to the store where you purchased it or search online for a replacement part.  This also works if the band in your vacuum has snapped or burned up.  Remove the belt and it will have a serial number along it that will tell what size you need to replace it.  Belts usually cost $1 and if you take your vacuum in to be fixed for just the belt, it is going to cost you a whole lot more than a dollar!

17.  You did it! Now go feel awesome about yourself!  I usually clean out my vacuum every two months, however I have 4 little kids and a hubby.  You will have to gauge for yourself how often you will need to maintain your vacuum.

P.S. Propeller Bar and tunnel are two terms I made up on the spot to describe what I was doing.  I have no idea what the real technical terms are. ;)
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