Jeff Flowers on December 9, 2015 5 Comments Vacuuming is a key element to keeping your home clean and your carpets looking like new. Whether new or used, a vacuum cleaner is an important appliance that everybody should own. If you’re looking to buy a vacuum cleaner, you’ll soon find out that it’s not a cheap appliance to buy. Which is why it’s important to know how to take care of it and ensure that it lasts for many, many years to come. There are several maintenance practices that can help you maximize the effectiveness of your vacuum and prolong its lifespan. By following these guidelines for the care and upkeep of your vacuum cleaner, you can prevent damage and excessive wear and keep your machine working great for as long as possible. 1. Do Your Research Many of the common problems people experience can be avoided by simply choosing the best vacuum cleaner for your situation in the first place. When shopping for vacuums, you will find that you have many options from which to choose, all with their various pros and cons. It’s wise to familiarize yourself with the different types of vacuums, the most popular brands and the many features that come with each particular model. Some people would argue that the more recently designed bagless vacuums are the way to go, whereas others firmly stand by the more traditional bagged style. Maybe you will find that a small, handheld vacuum will do the job. The type of vacuum that will work best for you depends on the floors you have in your home, whether you have pets, how big of an area you need to clean, and how often you will use the device. Picking an appliance that is inappropriate for its usage will result in a reduced lifespan and less effectiveness. Doing your research before you make your purchase will help you find a model that will demonstrate the most utility, durability, and value for your needs. 2. Bagged Vacuums: Regularly Check and Replace Bag Bagged vacuums have bags in which they store dust, dirt, and debris they has been collected from the floor. The bag itself acts as a filter, but these devices generally also employ a second filter to act as an air purifier. If you own this type of vacuum cleaner, it’s important to monitor how full the bag is, and make sure to dispose of it once it starts to feel full. While the bags typically have a rather large capacity, they will fill up quickly. And the fuller the bag gets, the less efficient the machine becomes. This is why it’s important to keep an eye on how full the bag is, and dispose of it once it starts to reach it’s limit. Obviously, once the bag is completely full of dirt and debris, you should stop using your vacuum cleaner. If you continue to use the device once the bag is full, you risk significant damage to the machine, as well as making a big mess. This is because the machine will continue to suck up dirt, but it won’t have any where to go. Therefore, the small particles of dirt will make its way into the internal components of your vacuum cleaner, or just circulate back onto the floors you just cleaned. As long as you replace the bag before it completely fills up, you minimize the risk of your vacuum cleaner becoming clogged, jammed or otherwise damaged. 3. Bagless Vacuums: Empty Before Every Use Bagless vacuum cleaners store the debris in a removable bin that is built into the front of the device. For most models, the bin is transparent so you can see precisely how full it is. You can wait to empty it once it becomes full — and many people do follow this route — however, we would recommend emptying it prior to every use. This gives you optimal efficiency at the start of your cleaning session, and also reduces the risk of built-up dirt and debris from harming your device. We would also recommend going the extra step and rinse out the removable bin periodically. Ideally, you should do this after each use, but that’s not always feasible. However, by rinsing out the bin on a regular basis, you prevent dirt and debris from building up and becoming “caked on” the side of the bin. You can do this in your sink or even in the yard with a garden hose. No matter how you rinse it out, the important thing is that you are thoroughly removing all of the dirt from inside the device. Just like with bagged vacuums, you should stop using your device once the disposable bin becomes full. By continuing to use it, you increase the risk of damaging your vacuum cleaner beyond repair, as well as making a big mess. 4. Clean the Vent Covers A good deal of vacuum cleaner maintenance comes down to simply cleaning the unit itself. This is especially important when it comes to the vent covers. Your vacuum contains several vents, which are covered to allow small particles like dust and dirt to move through but will stop larger objects, such as pieces of plastic, coins, or wadded up debris. Over time, these vent covers may start to become clogged with this larger debris. Once this happens you will notice that your vacuum cleaner is becoming less and less efficient at cleaning your floors. If you don’t clean these vents periodically, you run the risk of your vacuum cleaner over-heating and possibly burning out all together. This is easy to prevent. All it takes is to clean these vents on a semi-regular basis. It doesn’t have to be after each use, but it should be something that is on your mind. Especially if you notice the device not working as well as it once did. 5. Clean or Replace the Filters Just like the vent covers, the filters in a vacuum should be cleaned or replaced regularly. The filters catch the very fine dust that you may pick up from your floor by trapping it in their fibers. Without the filters, the finer debris would escape the machine, return to the room and devastate the quality of air in your home. Not surprisingly, filters collect lots of dirt over time, which can make them less effective. The dirtier the filters become, the less your vacuum will be able to clean. The specifics regarding filter maintenance depends on the type of vacuum you have. Newer vacuums are generally made with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, which uses a fine mesh to trap potentially harmful particulates. HEPA filters are designed to improve the air quality of a room by removing irritants and pollutants. Because of the importance of air filters, especially HEPA filters, you should remove them and clean/replace them on a regular basis. Be sure to refer to the owners manual of the vacuum cleaner you own. Some filters can be washed, while some just need to be replaced. And the duration of which they last may also vary. Using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter for too long can actually expel the particulates back into the air. The lifespan of a HEPA filter depends on its use and its environment; in a regular household setting, one can last two to three years. 6. Remove Debris From the Roller The brush roller is the spinning device that comes in contact with your carpet and helps pick up dirt and debris that is embedded within. The roller usually has bristles attached. As these bristles get full of hair and dust, they can no longer pick up debris as well as it used too. Not only does this prevent you from getting a deep clean, it may also make your carpet dirtier as it is simply spreading the dirt around your carpet. Getting to the roller compartment to clean it can sometimes be tricky; the process depends on the particular model you own. It’s wise to refer to the owners manual or search for instructions online. As a general note, you will likely need to use a screwdriver to remove the flat plate on the bottom of the machine to get to the roller. Or you can simply reach in and pop the roller out with your hand. Not only should you clean the bristles of the roller itself, but also you should remove any built up dirt in the roller compartment. Grab a wet rag or some disinfectant wipes and give the internal compartment a thorough cleaning. Cleaning the roller and its compartment will not only help the vacuum cleaner run better, but it also helps extend the life of the unit itself. Proper Care = Longer Life The main thing to remember when it comes to properly maintaining your vacuum cleaner is that it is essential that you keep it clean. Whether it’s the inside components or exterior, keeping it clean is vital and will not only help extend its lifespan, it will also keep it running smoother and more efficient. By following these tips, you will be able to clean your home faster and more thoroughly.