How to Change a Vacuum Belt

How to change a vacuum cleaner belt

How to change a vacuum cleaner belt

Most vacuum cleaner belts can be changed at home, preventing you from having to bring the vacuum into a repair centre. The process is quite simple and is one of the easiest things you can do to help maintain your vacuum cleaner.

How to tell if your vacuum belt needs to be changed:

  • You smell burning rubber
  • The agitator (brush bar) is not spinning
  • The vacuum or central vacuum isn’t picking up on carpeting
  • The vacuum doesn’t pull itself along like it used to
  • It’s been more than 18 months since the belt has been changed (flat rubber belts only)

If your vacuum uses a flat belt it should be changed every 12-18 months, or more frequently if it is broken. Changing the belt ensures the agitator (brush bar or beater bar) is spinning fast enough to effectively clean the carpeting. When the belt stretches out there isn’t enough tension between the agitator and motor shaft causing the belt to slip. This means agitator does not spin at the proper speed and cannot effectively separate the carpet fibres or help lift the dirt, which is vital for a clean carpet. Cogged and serpentine belts only need to be replaced if damaged or broken, as they will not stretch like flat vacuum belts do. It is still recommended to check cogged and serpentine belts yearly.

How to tell what vacuum belt you need:

  • Most owners’ manuals include a parts list, which should have the part number or style number for the required belt.
  • Each vacuum has a unique model number, which is found on the data plate (the silver sticker with black writing on the bottom / back of the vacuum). Depending on the brand we can use this model number to look up the parts list and determine the part number for the belt.

Tools to change a vacuum belt:

Steps to change a vacuum cleaner belt:

For this step-by-step guide to change a vacuum belt we will use a Sweep n’ Groom central vacuum powerhead. This powerhead is made by Electrolux and is sold under many names including Eureka well as Beam RugMaster, which require the Eureka P/T belt. However, the same process can be used to change most vacuum belts including Bissell, Dirt Devil, Eureka, Hoover, Kenmore, Panasonic, and Sanitaire vacuum cleaners.

  • Flip the powerhead (or vacuum) over, preferably on a flat surface with the top down.1
  • Use a screwdriver to remove the screws on the bottom of the powerhead.
  • Flip the powerhead back over and remove the top cover of the powerhead.
  • Use the cloth and wipe down the clear belt cover on the top cover of the powerhead.Vacuum belt change guide
  • If needed turn the powerhead so that the agitator is closest to your body.
  • Remove the agitator (brush bar) by lifting straight up.
  • If there is a lot of dirt and build-up the agitator can seem stuck. Sometimes you need to wiggle the agitator or wedge the screwdriver under the agitator and use it to help pry it out.
  • Remove the old belt off the motor shaft or pinion. If the belt is broken you should be able to pull it out.
  • You will notice that the new belt is much smaller than the old one. This is completely normal! Since the belt is constantly under tension while installed in the vacuum it will stretch out. An over-stretched belt performs just as poorly as a broken one.How to change a vacuum belt
  • Place one end of the agitator on the table and place one hand on the top end holding it in place. Spin the agitator making sure it moves freely and it is not seized.
  • If the agitator will not spin it is recommended to replace this part as well.
  • Using the utility knife remove any hair or strings that may be caught around the agitator and brushes.
    • Remove the end caps (the ends of the brush bar that hold it in place) if possible and clean them thoroughly.
    • If the end caps cannot be removed do your best to clean around them and remove any build-up.
  • This is extremely important as if it’s left un-cleaned it can cause the bearings in the end cap to seize, preventing the agitator from spinning. Once the bearings are seized the entire agitator needs to be replaced. This can be costly, and is easily prevented.
  • In homes with animals, or people with long hair, this is an important step in your routine vacuum cleaner maintenance which should be done every few months.
  • Using the cloth wipe down the agitator and agitator housing of the powerhead removing any dirt or debris.
  • Loop one end of the new belt on the motor shaft.Vacuum belt change steps
  • Put the agitator through the belt, lining up the belt on the belt rest.How to change a vacuum belt
  • Connect the end of the agitator that is farthest away from the belt first. In this case the one end has a hole, and not just a slot, which means it needs to go in first.
  • With one hand hold the already connected end in place, and use the other hand to pull back on the agitator. This will stretch the belt allowing you to aline the slots and slide the agitator into place.
  • Once in place press down on the agitator to make sure it’s in the correct spot.How to change a vacuum belt
  • With your hands manually spin the agitator making sure the belt is not pinched between the housing of the base plate. This will ensure the belt does not break when the powerhead is first turned on.
  • Put the cover back on top of the base plate. Holding the two together flip the powerhead back over with the cover facing down. Ensure the tabs of the cover are behind the tab in the base plate.
  • Using the screwdriver screw the screws back into the base plate. Make sure they are tight, but do not over tighten.
  • Use an all-purpose cleaner to remove any dirt or grime build up on the bottom of the base plate.
  • When there is build up it can make the vacuum hard to push on the carpeting.

If you have any questions about changing your vacuum cleaner belt at home you can reach us at 1-877-537-8227, or come into one of our stores. We would be more than happy to assist you with obtaining the correct vacuum belt.

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