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Vacuum Cleaner Troubleshooting

Like most of us, you probably take your vacuum cleaner for granted. Flip on the switch, and you expect it to zoom along, digesting all the dust, sand, paper clips, buttons and anything else in its path. Amazingly, they usually do. However, when a vacuum begins to leave lint clinging to a carpet, or it requires two or three passes to pick up sand and grit, or when it no longer zaps hairpins and buttons off the floor, it's time for some troubleshooting.

Start by unplugging it, then check the following items.

1. The dust bag: Dust bags should never be more than half to three quarters full. The air needed to deposit dirt in the bag or container can neither enter nor exit if the bag or container is full. Good air flow is necessary.

Fine, silt-like dirt---talcum powder or fireplace ashes, for example --- can restrict air flow quickly. This is why paper vacuum bags should never be reused. So, even if the bag in the machine doesn't appear full, try a new one at the first sign of trouble.

Also look into the opening where the bag connects to the machine---a hairpin or toothpick caught sideways can cause dust buildup at the opening.

2. Motor filter: While a vacuum's bag acts as a filter, many units also have motor filters to collect fine silt that passes through the dust bag. A clogged motor filter will reduce suction and cause the vacuum to run hot. Check your owner's manual for instructions on finding, cleaning and changing these filters.

3. The hose: If the dust bag and filter are okay, move on to the hose. Remove it from the vacuum and holding it up, drop a marble into the high end. If it doesn't quickly come out the other end, the hose is clogged or crushed.

4. The drive belt: If your unit doesn't pick up dirt at all, the problem could be a broken, stretched or improperly installed drive belt. Any vacuum that has an agitator brush will usually have a belt. You may even fine the instructions for installing a new belt right on the bottom of the machine; otherwise check your owner's manual. Take the old belt with you to purchase a new one. A belt that almost fits is unlikely to work.

5. The agitator: Check the length of the brushes by holding a stiff card across the bottom plate of the vacuum. If the brushes don't touch the card, they probably aren't touching the carpet either. Some agitators are adjustable and can be lowered to meet the carpet. Brushes on the agitator can usually be replaced.

Disengage the agitator to get at any string or hair wrapped around it; cut off the debris with scissors. While you have the agitator out of the machine, clean the inside of the housing particularly the end slots for the agitator.

6. Cord and plug: If your vacuum cleaner doesn't run at all, there are a few easy checks to make. First, make sure the receptacle into which the unit is plugged is live ... test it with a lamp. Then plug the vacuum in and turn it on. Slowly rotate the cord, starting at the plug and working all the way down the cord to the vacuum. If you can get the vacuum to run at all by doing this, it means there is a break somewhere in the cord and it needs to be replaced. Or if the vacuum responds while you are rotating the cord near the plug, it could be only the plug is faulty and needs replacing.



Eureka  Vacuum Cleaner Ad

History of the Vacuum Cleaner

The Eureka Company has a long and distinguished history. The first Eurekas were sleek, lightweight, and versatile, while many other vacuums were heavy and hard to handle. The 1913 Eureka came in six different models and had attachments for bare floors, walls, upholstery, and crevices.

The first step to develop a mechanical device was the “street sweeper,” which was invented in 1599, England. In 1853, a new and improved street sweeper was invented. In 1858, a mechanical cleaning device used in homes was invented. It was made up of a variety of pulleys. For the rest of the story visit The Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology.




The Cyber-Space Vacuum Cleaner Museum

Many products designed to make life and work easier emerged from the (American) Industrial Revolution. Among them was the lowly vacuum cleaner.



Gizmo Highway: The History of the Vacuum Cleaner

Love it or hate it, it was a great invention.



The Newcomen Society
for the study of the history of engineering and technology

The paper entitled "The origin of the vacuum cleaner" by H Cecil Booth, is published in the Transactions of the Newcomen Society, 1934-35 Vol 15. The inventor's friends had been "urging him for about a quarter of a century" to set down the history of the vacuum cleaner in writing. As the author of the original patent he was well qualified to present these experiences to the Newcomen Society. In this paper he describes how he came to design the first cleaner, evaluates the various previous patents, relates his litigation experiences and discusses the technology's adoption in the early 20th century - long before it was ever called a 'hoover'!



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