I have 5 vacuum cleaners, each kept for specific tasks, as you can imagine. No, seriously I love vacuum cleaners. From friendly faced Henrys and Hettys to ‘frickin’ Sharks, I love ‘em all. Why you ask? Well I guess that using a hoover is sheer joy to me. You take your machine to a grubby area, run it around the floor, and you are rewarded with instant gratification! The carpet is returned to near pristine condition. Better still, with many machines, you can see all the muck that was once on the carpet, swirling around in mesmerizing dust-storms, in the see-through debris collection bin! Cosmic stuff.
Decent vacuum cleaners cost a few quid and far too many repairable machines end up at tips across the country, prematurely.
I suspect that many machines could be saved with basic skills. Most people could manage light servicing with basic tools and a small dusting of knowledge so here are some top tips to help you keep your hoover running well for longer.
Models vary, but you are likely to need the following:
- Big flat-head screwdriver
- a cross-head screwdriver
- damp cloth bowl of hot soapy suds
Before you start work on any appliance, always unplug from the mains.
Brush heads: Upright vacuum cleaners probably have a rotating brush head. Remove any dog, cat, child hair, Lego etc from the brushes, especially the stuff stuck at the sides, where it can cause damage to things like bearings. Use a knife or some old scissors to cut-away trapped hair etc. This will improve performance and prevent damage.
Filters: Many vacuum cleaners have at least one, sometimes three filters to prevent dust entering back into the environment it was sucked-up from, preventing sneezes. Usually all you need to do is see where the filters are located and to remove any retaining clips/covers. Some machines use screws to hold the filters in-situ, so you’ll need to familiarise yourself with your instructions.
If you’ve held on to your instructions, well done. If you’re like most people and have chucked the instructions away, you might need to Google your model and download them. These filters need to be cleaned every three months in warm soapy water and left to dry for at least 24 hours or until bone dry. Clean filters not only prevent dust build-up in the air, but are essential for the free flow of air into your machine and out again.
A blocked motor filter could cause overheating and damage to the motor bearings and brushes. Suction can be reduced by a blocked cylinder filter. HEPA filters need to be replaced and can’t be cleaned, however eBay is awash with good quality, cheap alternative filters, so there’s no excuse for not lavishing your machine with some filter-love to let your machine breathe easy.
Seals: All vacuum cleaners rely on good seals between joints to ensure perfect performance. Rubber and foam seals need to be cleaned regularly to prevent the build-up of dirt. Get a bowl of hot soapy water and an old cloth to clean up joints and seal-like surfaces, no special skills required. Don’t scrub too hard as you might damage the smooth surfaces, just a gentle clean is all that’s needed. Remember, dirty seals equal vacuum loss.
Just a small tune-up in the way of basic servicing will mean that your trusty vacuum runs sweeter for longer, saving you time, money and valuable resources. You’ll also bond with your machine, which is a good thing.
After all that cleaning, you’ve earned yourself a cup of tea. Time to put the kettle on, make a brew and grab a custard cream.