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How To Repair Small Appliances -- I

Apr 21, 2015

Vacuum cleaners typically last 8 to 12 years, depending on their quality, frequency of use, and general maintenance. By maintaining and repairing your vacuum cleaner as needed you can extend its service life and reduce its actual cost.

There are two common types of vacuum cleaners: upright and canister. The upright vacuum cleaner has the motor and beater bar in the same unit. A canister vacuum cleaner has the motor and storage bag in the canister and the beater bar in a separate power head, with the two units connected by a hose.

How Upright Vacuum Cleaners Work

An upright vacuum cleaner uses a motor and fan to pull dirt from a surface and deposit it in a bag. Dirt is loosened and swept into the vacuum with a rotating brush called the beater bar. The upright vacuum cleaner is guided by the operator using the handle on which the bag and controls are mounted. Operation is simple. Maintenance and repairs are easy to perform.

How Canister Vacuum Cleaners Work

canister vacuum cleaner places the majority of its weight (vacuum motorfilters, bag, and cord winder) in a separate unit to make the power head lighter.

With a long hose, the canister can be placed in the middle of the room and the power head moved more easily. This design allows larger and more powerful motors to be used.

As with the upright, the canister vacuum cleaner loosens dirt with the beater bar, located in the power head and driven by a smaller motor. Dirt is pulled through the hose by the main motor in the canister. Wheels on the canister make it easily portable. Because the fan in a canister vacuum is more isolated than the fan in an upright vacuum, it is generally less susceptible to damage.

How to Repair an Upright Vacuum Cleaner

The following tips offer easy instructions for servicing an upright vacuum cleaner's on/off switch, beater bar, drive belt, dirt fan, and motor. You'll also learn how to repair an on/off switch, a power-head wire connection, a beater bar, a motor, and a cord reel for a canister vacuum.

Servicing an On/Off Switch: Because of its repeated use, a vacuum cleaner's on/off switch can malfunction. Fortunately, on most models the switch is easy to access and test. Some are fastened in place with rivets, but most use screws. To test and replace the switch:

Step 1: Make sure the vacuum is unplugged, then remove the cover plate to expose the back side of the switch. The switch may be on the handle or on the housing.

Step 2: Check the wires to make sure they are completely attached to the switch.

Step 3: Use a continuity tester or multitester to make sure that there is an open circuit when the switch is off and a closed circuit when it is on.

Step 4: If there is a problem with the circuit, or if the switch doesn't test correctly, remove and replace the switch with one designed to be a replacement.