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Friday, May 18, 2007

Eureka! (well, Bissell, actually)

I've figured out the secret! When bagless vacuum cleaners came out, I thought it was a great idea. It made sense to me that a bag with holes in it would quickly clog and lose suction. It was also a cloud of dust every time I took the bag out, not to mention having to remember the model number so I could buy bags. So I bought a fairly cheap one (our regular had died- I wasn't just running out to buy the latest invention) and I got the Bissell powerforce. When I brought it home and tried it, the suction was amazing. I pulled things out of the carpet that had been there so long they were forgotten (like glitter) and I was very confident I was getting the allergens and critters out of the floor and making things safer for my asthmatic baby. I understood that the filters were washable, but it seemed that they were 'full' about half way through my vacuuming job. I would keep going, knowing I had to get done, because washing and drying the filter took about 48 hours. So my vacuum started to work less efficiently, then hardly at all and it made a growling noise. I also smelled the unmistakable dirt smell you find when someone is running an old vacuum.

I had to buy a new vacuum again after only 6 months (now we are harder on them because of the amount of carpet we have and the stuff that gets tracked in, since we have a dirt driveway and live on a farm where pants are muddy, etc. The new one worked great again, but started going down the same sad path as the first. I was pushing it across the floor, pleading with it to pick something up! And then my husband surprised me with another vacuum. He figured we needed two since we could only get about half done before the filter was full. So I started with that new one and everything went great. The filter filled up (from all the stuff I wasn't picking up with the other one) and then it was time to switch. The problem was that I had the cover off the old one so I could put on the new belt, so I took the whole dirt chamber and put it into the new vacuum (same model, so it fit). And finished the job beautifully! Hmmm. Why did that filter work great in the new vacuum and not the old one? Well, it was clean because I had just washed it.

I realized I did not need two vacuums, just two filters. So I ordered replacement parts off that little slip that comes in the box with a new appliance (I actually ordered 4 of the main filter and 4 of the filter assembly, since they were the only ones that needed changed so often) and I donated my old one, cleaned up and with spare filters, to our church. Now I have filters enough to do the whole vacuum job. I've had this Bissell for almost a year and it still runs GREAT with no smell. When I wash the filters, I use just a dab of baby shampoo, so I am employing the dirt capturing power of soap without something harsh being thrown into the air. And I have a third, so if I have vacuumed and the filters are drying after a cleaning, I can still grab my vacuum for messes (like the cat food the baby just dumped in the bedroom floor).

So the key to buying a fairly inexpensive carpet machine and having it last without smelling like a mold factory is to buy extra filters!!! And you know what, they probably have that somewhere in their owner's manual or on their website, but who actually reads that stuff? ;)

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