Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Meet my Nemesis...

I'd like to introduce you to someone:

This is my vacuum. We are not friends.

I inherited this vacuum along with my husband. I didn't realize what was happening. You see, Mark and I both had vacuums when we got married. But the roommate I was leaving (with a fully carpeted residence) didn't have a vacuum. The one I had I didn't really like and in Mark's words his vacuum was "the best vacuum ever." I should have known to ask if he used it more than the 4 times a year his parents came to visit.

In our first year of marriage Mark took on the job of vacuuming since it's not really my favourite chore. I did it a few times, but not enough to loathe the vacuum, just enough to kind of hate it.

Then we moved into our current house. Which was double the size of the rental place from our first year of marriage.

Our house was built in 1979 when everyone thought carpet was the best thing ever so they put it everywhere (except the kitchen and bathrooms - so glad that trend died quickly - and my teeny tiny front entrance). We don't have a huge house (1200 square feet upstairs and a basement that's around 900 of carpeted area), but it's pretty much all carpet and there are a lot of stairs and there is just enough vacuuming to do to make me detest the vacuum. Any time I complain Mark tells me his vacuum is fantastic. I tell him it's old. He tells me 1980-whatever was a good year for vacuums. I gaffaw.

You see my vacuum sucks, except it doesn't. Well, that's not true, the first day you put in a new bag for the first 2 rooms (if they're small rooms) you can feel it suction itself to the floor. After that, you basically can only get surface dirt (we're talking cheerios). Then there is the whole issue of it being a canister style. I hear these are supposed to be great for stairs. Here's the problem. It has the shortest hose so I can't reach all the stairs with the vacuum at the bottom and the vacuum is too big to actually sit on the stairs. So it's this crazy stretching/balancing act whenever I need to do the stairs. Annoying! Oh and it has bags. I hate bags. And the bags for this thing are not carried by every store, so I have to make special trips for vacuum bags. I don't have time for special trips.

Have I mentioned I have a near 3 year old and a 10 month old who are not exactly clean eaters? Oh ya, and a dining room that is carpeted. If I was a good girl I would vacuum that room daily, but I'm not because I HATE MY VACUUM.

So I came up with a plan. To kill my vacuum.

Okay, that's not entirely true. Last August I did by accident. And I was totally happy. You see this is a 1980-something model and the plastic on the handle started to crack (because it's old, that's what happens. "But Mel, 1980-something was a GREAT year for vacuums" "That's nice, honey, but plastic gets brittle when it's over 20 years old"), which meant that it was leaking air so it didn't suck as well. Sweet! Dyson here I come!

I told Mark about it when he got home. And he FIXED IT. Boo. No new vacuum for me.

Then in November it did this weird thing where I could go back and forth at most 3 times and it would shut off and I'd have to hit the reset button to make it work again. I thought for sure that was the end. Mark thought so too. But he decided to "inspect" it. Turns out there was just stuff (hair, string etc) wrapped around the beater-head bar and once he cleaned it out it worked like it did before. Boo. No new vacuum for me.

Then in March it started cracking farther down the handle. Mark fixed it. Gah! This thing won't die.

And then the day happened a couple of weeks ago: Mark was vacuuming and then he came and asked where the scissors were while holding the vacuum bag. Turns out it had cracked enough to loosen a piece and then he vacuumed it up. He got the piece out and tried to put it back together, but no amount of duct tape (we're classy like that) could hold it together properly. I vacuumed two more times (cursing the vacuum the entire time) and then it just fell apart. Screws came loose, pieces wouldn't fit back together. The thing is done.

YEAH!! Now I get a new vacuum. The only problem is this: I want a Dyson, Mark doesn't like that they don't come out very high on the consumer reports charts (meaning not the top 3). But the vacuums that do require fixing more often. I'm tired of dealing with broken vacuums. I think I've pretty much convinced him to let me get what I want since I'll be using it the most.  Now I need to figure out which one (upright, canister, which model). I figured I'd talk to the professionals (and not the teenager at Sears) but the place I want to get it from is only open from 9-6 and Mark gets home every day at 5:45. So we'll have to go on a Saturday. We couldn't last week, which means that's how we will be spending our long weekend (and hopefully planting our garden too).

For those of you who are savvy, yes, I haven't vacuumed in about 2 weeks. Eww, I know. I'm grossed out too, but there has really been no other time to go. And I figure once I get the good vacuum then it can do a really good job and fix it all for me.

Do you have a Dyson? Which one? What should I get with wall to wall carpet? Do you have a different recommendation for me?

Thoughts please!


  1. I can't believe you didn't have me celebrate with you! Boy, when it died, it did a good job. I've told Dan he needs to tell you what he can remember from his research. SO excited for you!

  2. have you thought about installing vacu flo? I was so against it at first but my husband insisted and now I love it. ( dont tell him that or my mother in law...)

  3. I grew up with a central vac. I'm not totally a fan. Mostly because I hate lugging the HUGE hose around. And if we move I can't really take it with me.

  4. Ok so... I had to buy a new vac about 4 years ago. I did a bunch of research and concluded:

    1) Dysons have slick marketing, but in real world testing they had very average performance. Not bad, not great.

    2) Bags aren't convenient to change ever few months, but still perform better than bagless vacs in pretty much all tests. If you have any respiratory problems, don't get a bagless.

    3) All vacuums will make your floors "look" clean, weather or not they've picked up anything... (don't believe me? take any vacuum, disconnect the hose but leave the power connection to the beater bar... then vacuum your carpet. It'll "look" clean, but all you're doing is just bashing the dust deeper into the carpet nothing is picked up.)

    I ended up buying the vaccum that was at the top of the consumer reports list at the time. It's not fancy like a Dyson, but it does a really good job.

    It's an upright, which I found much easier that lugging a canister around.

    It's light enough that a child could use it. (Something I'm sure you're already considering ;)

    It still has a detachable hose ready when you need it. The attachments stay on the unit so they're not lost in some closet somewhere; but they also put some thought into how they store on there. i.e. they're not just clipped on in such a way that you could knock them off easily, and they nest togeather so they take up little space.

    It's worked well for us, so well in fact that we still use it some of the time even though we have central vacuuming in our current house.

    They don't seem to make that particular model any more. But I'd look for something similar if I was buying another vacuume.

    - Dan

  5. We have Vacuflo and I LOVE it! Especially the option that we installed in the kitchen - the Vroom. It's basically a retractable hose in a cupboard. That is by far my favorite part because then you don't have to get out the big hose just to clean up the cheerios off the kitchen/dining room floor everyday. I use this part more than anything. LOVE IT!

    Christen :)

  6. I don't have any good vacuum suggestions for you, but YAY!!! IT'S FINALLY DEAD. Sooooo happy for you! :)

  7. I have a Dyson, and I love it! And we even replace all our carpet with hardwood floors and I STILL love my Dyson. I have the yellow one. Not sure on the model, but it's not the purple pet one. Just the regular upright Dyson. It has an awesome telescoping handle and a brush attachment I use for most of my vacuuming of the wood. Then I also can do baseboards and vents at the same time. And the hose is really REALLY long, so it reaches up my entire flight of stairs. I love having it bagless and I can see all that it's picked up. I grew up with a bag/canister vacuum and I hated that thing. I did all the vacuuming and I despised it. That's why I got a vacuum I wanted and I would vacuum with. Anywhoo I love my Dyson even if it's not the best on the market! I like your blog. I'm not sure how I got here, but I like it!

  8. I have a crazy dirt devil. It's super loud, but easy to use and pretty effective! Good luck with the vaccuuming!


The fact that you take the time to leave me comments makes my day! Thanks for taking the time. I read every single one.