Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This Sucks... Or Not.

Imagine this scenario:

After 2 gruelling years of 60+ hour work weeks, tests every 7 days, hours of homework every night, not to mention time spent in mandatory clinicals in area hospitals and countless hours in the classroom, and you just finished your last test, marking the end of some of the craziness: goodbye continuous classroom hours and homework.

It's 10 till' 8 on a Friday night, and you bust out the vacuum to top off all the hurried cleaning you've been doing to get the house ready for company. You plug it in, as usual, and turn it on.

And suddenly it seems a jet engine's replaced the vacuum motor.

There's an earsplitting thundering noise, accompanied by earthquake-like vibrations, a burning-rubber smell and plenty of smoke to boot.

You wonder if all that studying has caused you to lose your mind, or induced some sort of hallucination, because no vacuum should ever do that. Did the cleaning elves come in the middle of night and tinker with our always-reliable-barely-1.5-year-old-vacuum?

So, without another option available, you plug your ears and pray that the thing will  survive one last cleaning. Or at least make some vacuum tire marks in the carpet to make it look clean.

And thankfully it does. But now the whole house smells like a tire factory. A few lit candles later, and it smells like a nice tire factory - in Jamaica.

Oh well, at least there's vacuum tracks in the carpet, right?

This is what happened to us a couple of weeks ago. Our vacuum died. Which is pretty upsetting, considering that we've only had it for a little over a year, we liked it and we always cleaned it fairly frequently. Oh, and of course the warranty on it had expired a few months beforehand, which makes me wonder if the vacuum people over at Bissell had planned for this to happen. Hmmm.

So we took it apart to try and see what was wrong with it.

We found that the belt had started to go a little and stretched out a little bit in one small section, which in turn caused the roller to start spinning funny and eventually the roller began to spin very unevenly causing the plastic holding it in place to start melting and wearing down. So, the whole thing is ka-put, which is really very annoying considering how much we paid, that we've only had it for a little over a year, and that we've always taken very good care of it.

And up until a couple weeks ago we loved our Bissell 3576-6 Cleanview II Plus Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner. It's always worked very well, and we had had no problems with it. Cleaning the carpeted stairs was always hard, but isn't it for any vacuum? Of course now we have a different opinion on the whole thing...

So now we are officially vacuum-less, unless we want to use the tiny attachments to vacuum all our carpet. Uh, no thanks...

We've been having a bit of a dilemma, as many reviews we've read on less pricey vacuums seem to indicate that they will only last 1-2 years (with proper maintenance), versus the pricier ones that seem to last 5+ years. We searched and read about all sorts of vacuums over the weekend, and still can't come to a conclusive decision.

Then Tom's Mom had a brilliant idea: we should ask you guys!

So what about it? What vacuum sucks for you? Is there a brand of vacuum that you'd stand behind and recommend us? Any one we should avoid? Are the pricier vacuums worth the hefty price tag? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

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  1. I don't have any helpful advice, but I feel your pain! I bought a new vacuum with fancy attachments when we moved into our rental house almost 2 years ago and it stopped working correctly a few months in. So now I use the dinosaur that my bf's mom gave him when he went to college. It has to be 50 years old and it still works like a charm.

  2. I've heard nothing but rave reviews about the Dyson's. Pricey, yes! But from what I've heard, worth it. We do have a vacuum, but with only one teeny-tiny carpeted room in our house it doesn't get much of a workout. Let us know what you decide!!

    Also - I know Young House Love did a review of a vacuum recently and they really liked it. Might be worth checking out!

  3. Thanks, guys! I feel like we've been living in vacuum-world for awhile now, and sometimes I just feel like saying "I just want a vacuum that won't break for more than a year or two... is that too much to ask?".

    @Jennifer - I know how you feel! I was so upset that ours break after only about a year, especially when we feel like we spent so much on it. That's great that you are able to use your BF's old-school vacuum... maybe it's one of those things that they don't make like they used to?

    @Cindy - We have definitely been checking out the Dysons, but 500$ is pretty steep for a vacuum for us - that's more than our granite countertops cost, haha! But the reviews are really good on them, so maybe we will go that route - plus the 5 year warranty is nice, which ensures that it won't break after a year. :) I do remember that review that YHL did on their vacuum, but funny thing is we already had the exact same vacuum that they bought - the one that just broke and smoked everywhere. Hopefully theirs lasts longer than ours did...

  4. We bought the Bissell 82H1 Cleanview Helix Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner because YoungHouseLove raved about it, and we like it, but that appears to be what you have dead on the floor, isn't it?

  5. Our vacuum cleaner was a hand-me-down from my grandmother's house. I can't recall exactly the brand (maybe the dinosaur cousin of Jennifer's?), so when I get home I'll re-post with the details. It's lasted us several years from my previous two apartments to the dirt-clogged carpeting we now have (20 years of neglect + no ventilation = dusty mess).

    The only thing we've had to replace is a broken belt. It's heavy and all the attachments have long since wandered into the abyss, but it does the trick.

    I'd still love to get one of those small "cone" hand vacuums for corners (and the occasional dusty craft project).

  6. @Sunny - I'm not sure if ours was a helix one (I think it was a Cleanview or something?), but it sure looked alot like the one YHL raved about. And don't get me wrong, it's a good vacuum, and maybe we got a rotten egg or something, but I really really liked the thing until it died after a relatively short life. :/ I hope yours has better luck and a longer life! (perhaps replacing the belt every 6 months or so will help extend the life?)

    @Sarah - Wow, that is one old but trusty vacuum! I'm really starting to think that dinosaur vacuums are built to last. Maybe I should shop Craigslist for one? :) I love the little Kone vacuums, too - we have one, but I think it's down in storage right now due to the kitchen construction, but it's wonderful for anything that needs a quick cleanup. Hmm... I should go fish that out so we can actually use it now that our kitchen is no longer MIA!

    Thanks for stopping by!


  7. Chelsea..I had a new Electrolux canister vac.(the old ones must be built better) and it actually caught on fire! Scary!!
    We were in the same dilemma you are in now and ended up getting the Dyson based on a lot of people's personal reviews. I miss having the canister, b/c the upright is heavier and harder to use on steps--and we have a lot--but all in all I'm happy with the Dyson.


  8. I meant 'newer' Electrolux..it was a few years old.

  9. Ohmygosh, Heather! That's crazy! I hope everyone (and your floors!) were okay. Sheesh! Okay, now we are gonna avoid Electrolux like the plague...

    Thanks for sharing!


  10. Yes all people and floors were unharmed. I remember looking at the metal hose and wondering why it was lighting up? and in the same second I was screaming "OMG IT'S ON FIRE". It went out as soon as I unplugged it (thankfully!)



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