Next to the motor, the belt on your vacuum is just about the most important part of your vacuum. Without the belt to spin the brushroll, most vacuums won’t pick up on carpeting at all! If your vacuum uses a rubber belt, check it once a month for cracks, melting, and especially, slippage. Rubber belts stretch, even if you never turn on your vacuum, so check frequently, and change it approximately 3 times per year.
If you have one of our models with “permanent” belts, check them once a month for wear, debris in the belt channel, etc. Although cog belts don’t generally stretch, and these are often called permanent, cog belts do get worn or damaged.
One of the frequently overlooked items is the bag itself (or if you own a bagless, see Tip #3). Many times the bag becomes vastly overfilled, clogging the vacuum and causing overheating of the motor. Some websites mention emptying and re-using bags – I cannot disagree more strongly. Bags are filters – dumping them out and putting them back in just puts an already dirty filter in your machine. Clean bags filter better, suction improves, motors run cooler – the list goes on. How often to empty? Bag types vary – some, like our Miele bags can be filled full before emptying. Other types (mainly paper bags) should be changed when about 2/3 full for best performance. Oh yes – don’t rely on the full bag indicator – I know, they all have them, but few if any work at all – by the time the indicator moves, it’s often overfilled. Just check the bag for yourself once in a while.
Many vacuums today are labeled as “bagless” – that doesn’t mean theres nothing to change or clean! Bagless vacuums rely on several filters to take the place of the disposable bags other types use. It is vital that filters be checked at least monthly – after all, they are trapping all the debris that gets past the dirt cup (and there’s a LOT!). Clogged filters cause overheating of the motor, cut suction down to nearly zero, and cause clogging in other areas as well. They will also destroy your vacuum’s motor more quickly than you would believe. Some filters are washable, and should be rinsed and dried thoroughly before being placed back in the vacuum. Other types are replaceable, and should be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommended interval (many suggest 6 months). Check your owner’s manual for your model. Don’t forget – many bagged models also have a secondary filter, and that should be checked regularly too.
Next to the motor itself, the brushroll does the most work in your vacuum. Check the bristles weekly for thread, hair or carpet fuzz build-up. Keeping the bristles clean will allow them to work the nap of your carpet more effectively, doing a much better cleaning job.
Also, periodically test the bearings in the brushroll. This should be done every time you change belts, and at least annually for models with “permanent” belts. The bearings need to spin freely, be free of dirt & hair build-up, etc. Although some do-it-yourself websites mention lubricating the bearing in the brushroll, you really should not. Most bearings are sealed in the first place, meaning you can’t get lubricant in there. Other types of sleeve bearings should be cleaned, but adding oil or grease merely accelerates the build-up of dirt, shortening the bearing’s life. It can also end up all over your carpet, which is definitely a Bad Thing!
In addition to the things already mentioned, you should clean your vacuum regularly (or have it done professionally). That means removing belt covers, cleaning out the housings around the belt & brushroll, cleaning the interior of the bag compartment, and even cleaning inside the motor compartment. Now, I don’t generally recommend that the consumer dismantle their vacuum (it generally ends badly….). However there are often interior filters and airways that should be cleaned out occasionally. Motors can collect dust inside, shortening bearing life, causing excessive heating, etc. and generally shortening the life of he vacuum as a whole. Just remember if you do attempt the disassembly, it really does cost more if we have to undo what you did wrong before we can do the job for you!
Sounds silly, I know, but most people don’t give the slightest thought to the vacuum, even when they’re running it! For example – if you see something lying on the floor and the little man in your head says “Gee, I wonder if it’s OK to run that over with the vacuum?” – DON”T! Coins, ropes, socks, chunks of wood – the list of things we pull out of vacuums is virtually endless – all caused damage, and ALL could have been avoided! Check your cord once in a while – look for exposed wires, cuts, etc. When you vacuum, PAY ATTENTION! Running over the cord is one of the most common causes of repair in our shop. Why? Cords aren’t invisible – just take an extra second and move the cord out of the way! Wheels squeaking? Put a drop of il on the axles! Remember the squeaky wheel theory? If it squeaks, it’s wearing out faster than when it doesn’t! Check your hoses. Are they cracked? Pulling loose? this can cause loss of suction, which in turn causes clogging…… you get the picture.
I hope you’ll find these tips helpful, and that you’ll visit us if you need help or have questions about your vacuum!