How to Fix a Vacuum if It Doesn't Suck?

A vacuum cleaner that has lost suction could require repair in any one of a number of areas. Troubleshooting a poorly performing cleaner should include checking the cleaning head to inspect the belt and brush roll. Blockages inside the vacuum are major contributors to a loss of suction. Inspect each area responsible for transferring airflow to find and remove the problem and return the cleaner to its normal level of suction.

Things You'll Need:
--Wire coat hanger


1.Unplug the vacuum cleaner from the wall outlet for safety.

2.Press the vacuum cleaner's handle release lever and lay the handle horizontal to the floor. Turn the cleaner over to reveal the underside of the cleaning head.

3.Locate the clips or screws used to hold the cleaning head plate onto the bottom of the vacuum. Depress the clips or remove the screws to remove the cleaning head plate. Consult your vacuum's owner's manual for specific steps to remove the head plate.

4.Pull the vacuum's brush roll from the slots at either end of the inside of the cleaning head. The roll will still be attached to the belt, if the belt has not broken. Slide the belt from the brush roll and slide it from the vacuum cleaner's motor drive commonly located to the side of the cleaning head.

5.Inspect the brush roll. Replace the brush roll if the bristles have been worn down to the plastic of the roll as they are unable to make contact with the carpet if they are worn. Set the brush roll aside.

6.Inspect the belt. Check for tread on the inside of the belt. The tread enables the belt to grip the brush roll and motor shaft for efficient spinning of the brush roll while the vacuum is running. If the belt tread is worn the motion of the motor shaft will not be transferred as effectively as intended to the brush roll and the cleaner will not clean as well. Replace the belt if worn or cracked.

7.Inspect the intake opening inside the cleaning head. The intake is commonly located near either side of the vacuum's cleaning head and can be rectangular or circular depending on the make and model of the cleaner. Look inside the intake to check for any obstructions preventing adequate airflow. Remove built-up dust and hair that may be slowing airflow. Use your fingers for any debris close to the opening of the intake. Use a wire coat hanger to probe the intake to remove any obstruction lodged farther inside the intake, too far for your fingers to reach.

8.Replace the belt or place the new belt around the brush roll. Loop the belt around the motor shaft and slide the sides of the brush roll back into the slots at either end of the cleaning head. Turn the vacuum cleaner over and lift the handle into the upright and locked position.

9.Check the bag. A full or clogged bag will impede airflow and cause the vacuum cleaner to lose suction. Remove the bag following the instructions in your cleaner's manual. Check the opening leading to the bag for obstructions. Remove dirt and debris blocking the hose leading to the bag with your fingers or wire coat hanger for dust and debris out of your reach.

10.Replace the bag with a new, empty bag.

11.Check any filters that may be used on your vacuum. Common locations for additional filters include on the back of the main handle or on the side of the unit. Remove the filters and inspect them for heavy dirt. Clean the filters as prescribed in your cleaner's manual. Common steps for cleaning the filters include shaking them or lightly tapping them over the garbage to collect the falling debris and dust. Wash the filters only if your specific model's owner's manual allows for getting the filters wet in cleaning them. If not specified as an approved method for cleaning the filters, do not wet the filters as it may cause damage requiring replacement of the filters.

12.Replace the filters into their slots on the cleaning handle.

13.Plug the cleaner's power cord into the wall outlet and test the cleaner by vacuuming the area on the floor where dust may have gathered from your previous maintenance.

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The Best Steam Cleaners for Grout

Smaller tiles mean more grout to clean, making a large-tank steam cleaner ideal.

Chemical-laden and fume-heavy bathroom cleaners aren’t the only way to clean tile and grout. Hot steam at a high pressure kills bacteria, eliminates grime and restores grout to a like-new condition. Steam cleaners come in an endless array of styles, from small handheld to heavy-duty cylinder units. The best ones feature specific attributes that ensure your grout gets as clean as possible with little to no scrubbing on your part. If grout is exceptionally discolored, scrub it down with low-fume oxygen bleach diluted in water, and then use your steam cleaner regularly to keep stains and bacteria at bay.

Power and Temperature Matter
Outside of removing dirt, grime and stains, one of the benefits of steam cleaning grout is the ability to disinfect it, which is especially important on tile countertops and floors. But if the steam cleaner doesn’t reach the optimal temperature at the tip of the nozzle, it’s impossible to sanitize or disinfect. Choose a product that reaches at least 158 degrees Fahrenheit at the tip, the ideal temperature for sanitizing. To disinfect, purchase a steam cleaner that reaches 212 degrees. Keep in mind that while the tank may heat the water to 212 degrees, steam cools rapidly as it flows through the hose and out of the nozzle; therefore, the tank needs to heat the water higher than the desired temperature. But hot water can only do so much. The best steam cleaners use a combination of high temperatures and high pressure to restore grout. Look for the highest wattage possible when choosing a steam cleaner; the more power the unit has, the more pressure it produces.

Save Time With a Large Tank
Base the size of your steam cleaner on how much tile you have in your home. If it’s only present on the bathroom counter, a steam cleaner with a 6-ounce tank is best, lasting about 10 to 12 minutes. But if your kitchen features a tile backsplash and counter, tile covers your shower enclosure from floor to ceiling and grout lines the floor of your mudroom, a larger tank is best. Household steam cleaners with 48-ounce tanks work continuously for 45 to 50 minutes, providing ample cleaning time before you need to refill. Duration of use varies by manufacturer; one 48-ounce steam cleaner may work for more or less time than another same-size unit.

Opt for Multiple Attachments
When purchasing a household appliance, ensuring that it tackles more than one cleaning task to give you the biggest return on investment. Even if you only plan to steam-clean your grout, you may find the product suitable for other projects, including disinfecting upholstery, spot-treating carpet and releasing wrinkles from clothes. For steam-cleaning grout, opt for a product with a floor nozzle and a detail nozzle. The former will clean the entire floor and the surface of the grout, while the detail nozzle gives a deep clean along grout lines and in hard to reach areas. A small scrubbing brush attachment is also beneficial. The best steam cleaners for grout come with extension rods for the attachments, allowing you to reach the uppermost crevices of your shower enclosure or bathroom wall.

Nice-to-Have Features
The available bells-and-whistles take an average steam cleaner up a notch, making it the best product for you. An on-demand nozzle with a locking switch allows you to stop and start cleaning at a whim, while the locking switch gives you the option of continuous steam, preventing the need to keep your hand clamped down. Steam cleaners with large tanks are best when the tank has wheels attached, making moving the heavy appliance around easier. A flexible hose makes it possible to twist and turn as you clean, effectively removing dirt, grime and bacteria from tile behind toilets, along a backsplash behind a stove and other tight spaces. A long power cord, at least 12 feet, allows you to clean a large area without constantly unplugging and relocating the steam cleaner.

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