Saturday, 9 April 2011

A Tale of Two Vacuum Cleaners

Sometimes you think of a blog title and then struggle to justify it! Well, we do now have a replacement.

A few years ago we needed a new vacuum as the insulation tape holding the pipes together on the old one was becoming tacky again, the belt kept smelling and it was getting a problem. So we chose a new one. The new one was a Hoover PurePower 1800! We were still shunning Vortex at the time as they were still overpriced and experience showed they were not yet as good as the old vacuums. This was only three or four years ago. We expect a vacuum to last about 10 years or so and it works out to be about ten pounds a year or twenty pence per week (plus bags, filters belts etc).

Wifey wasn't enamoured by it from the off and I think it knew. It didn't pick up as well as the old one did and wouldn't tilt easily and fell over when using the tools. I think it wasn't enamoured with it's new owners. The start of a love/hate relationship I wonder?

At about two years old the machine refused to power on. I took it to pieces and put a meter on all the relevant bits and determined the 'quick start' board had failed so I wired around it and hey presto it worked again! AND it behaved no differently to how it always behaved.

A few months later... the machine refused to power on. I took it to pieces and put a meter on all the relevant bits and determined the cable had gone open circuit. So through trial and error and cutting out about a meter of cable I found the break and got it working again.

A few months later... it refused to switch off! So unplugging it became necessary to stop it. Can live with that I suppose.

A few weeks later... The belt stopped working. So I replaced it - I like to keep one in. Now the switch started working again - looking good? I also ordered new belts on the web as that one was my last.

A few days later... The belt fell off again and on looking at it I found that part of the body work had broken. Plans built themselves inside my had to fashion a fix and resolve the broken body part.

Next day... The machine refused to power on! But this time the switch was broken.

I could come up with fixes to both parts but one thing is clear - this machine is determined to die and I am only being cruel in perpetuating it's existence. It became clear that it was time for ANOTHER new one.

We started to look at the highly complex and dynamic market that is 'Vacuum Cleaners'. These modern devices like digital cameras, mobile phones, TVs etc must be very simple because you enter a shop and you can easily get mobbed by all knowledgeable individuals who can show the nuances of how much better the most expensive ones are - but enter the vacuum cleaner part of the shop and you have entered a desert of knowledge - this underlines how complex this market must be! I went out into the 'digital' world and dragged back, kicking and screaming, a sales assistant and a chocolate fire guard came to mind. Pushing him to look for answers - because he didn't know about anything that wasn't digital - he did finally come up with some answers.

So what's so difficult about vacuum cleaners? Well 'what maintenance is needed to the filters?', 'You do stock the filters? No? But you can get them?', 'What is the price of the filters?' And I was horrified that on some the filters need to be replaced annually and cost 30% of the cost of the machine! Ok I am mean, but I only want clean floors!

We waded through the models available and found hoses that wouldn't enable you to clean the stairs, machines that wouldn't lie down enough to get under furniture, machines that were just too heavy and many other problems. Finally we chose one - one I didn't want to go for at the off but really felt it was the only practical machine. So why didn't I want it...? Well it's the same model as the one that failed! Obviously uprated a bit but the same model. So we came away without one. Why? Because the same shopping group offered the same model 17% cheaper on the web! (It pays to be aware before you go out!).

So while I agreed 100% with the choice I still find it rubs salt into the wound that Wifey thinks this one is really good. Perhaps the old one was a Friday afternoon model because she NEVER felt that about the old one.


  1. Now I know why most of the laser printers at Bemrose were stuck together with packing and sellotape!!

  2. Never used sellotape on printers! Perhaps you're thinking of baler twine?