How to maximize your vacuum’s performance and lifespan

Vacuum Cleaner Maintenance

A selection of bags, belts, and filters for Miele vacuum cleaners.

Much like a vehicle, your vacuum will run better and last longer with some basic, regular maintenance. A vacuum cleaner is a major purchase and will be subject to frequent usage. If you treat it right, your vacuum will give you many years of faithful service.

Bags

Changing the bag frequently is one of the easiest and most cost efficient ways to ensure your vacuum cleaner’s optimal performance. If your machine does not have a full bag indicator, check for a “max fill line” on the bag and feel the bag with your hand to check if the dirt is up to the line.

Air has to flow through the bag to maintain suction, so don’t wait until the bag is overfull to change it. Restricted airflow due to an overfull bag means that the vacuum’s motor has to work harder. This creates unnecessary wear and tear, shortening the life of the vacuum.

Changing the bag frequently also helps eliminate odours from dirt and bacteria in the bag. We suggest changing the bag every 1-2 months, or when the bag is 3/4 full. Always keep new bags on hand and use the correct style of bag for your machine.

We also recommend using genuine bags (produced by the same company as the vacuum) over generic bags (produced by a a secondary company) when possible. Genuine bags provides better filtration and fit over generic bags, limiting the chance of damage and lengthening the life of the vacuum. However, when a company stops making a vacuum they sometimes stop producing the bags as well, which means only generic bags are available. This is the only time we will suggest the use of a generic vacuum bag.

Filters

Filters, like bags, can impede performance by restricting airflow when they become too full of debris. Filters can get clogged with fine dirt and particles so they need to be changed frequently. Check your owner’s manual to see what kind of replacement filters your machine requires.

Reusable filters should be washed every 1-6 months and left to dry for 24-48 hours before re-using. These filters don’t need to be replaced as frequently, but will start to deteriorate over time. Disposable filters should be replaced every 12-18 months, depending on how often you use your vacuum. Never wash or get disposable filters wet as it will damage the filter material and reduce effectiveness.

Belts

Vacuums with a power head, and upright vacuum cleaners will have a belt that drives the agitator, the part of the power head that spins. If the belt is worn, damaged, or stretched out, the machine will not clean effectively. For optimal performance a flat rubber belt needs to be changed every 12-18 months and/or when broken. Cogged and serpentine belts should be changed every 5 years or sooner if broken.

Typically a flat rubber belt will break if something is picked up that shouldn’t be – this includes socks, the fringe on an area rug, and shoe laces. If your vacuum isn’t picking up dirt/debris from carpeting like it used to, or you smell burning rubber while the vacuum is running, it is most likely due to the belt being broken.

Even if a flat rubber belt isn’t broken it will stretch out due to it being under constant tension. Within 12-18 months of being installed on a vacuum a flat rubber belt will become ineffective. If you notice your vacuum cleaner leaving debris behind, or if you hear the agitator stop spinning on carpeting, it usually means the belt is stretched.

Another way to tell if the belt is stretched is to use your foot to gently press down on the top of the vacuum cleaner head (above where the agitator is) while the vacuum is running. If you hear the agitator stop spinning, or if it slows down, the belt should be changed. The pressure of your foot mimics the force and resistance carpet fibers put on the agitator while it is in use. When the belt is stretched the agitator does not spin at the proper speed, preventing the vacuum from separating carpet fibers and loosening dirt. This causes the vacuum to under-perform.

Need more information?

If you are unsure of what bags, filters, or belts are required for your vacuum cleaner please contact us with the manufacture and model number of the machine by phone at 1-877-537-8227 or by email support@mchardyvac.com.

For solutions to vacuum cleaner issues see our Common Vacuum Complaints – what you can do to solve them article. Always remember: if you are unsure of the issue or cannot solve it on your own bring your vacuum to a local repair center.

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