Monday March 29, 2004

Our new vacuum cleaner really sucks!

(This is, of course, a Very Good Thing in a vacuum cleaner :-)

When I met my spouse, Rich, he had an Oreck vacuum; we kept it going for years. Finally, I decided it was well past its prime. Without really thinking, I went out and bought a new Oreck (XL) to replace it. (I had a job at the time).

Orecks are expensive. The XL cost (cough, wheeze) $370. (Well, what did I know? OK, I should have shopped around. But I was replacing an Oreck, ok?)

Unfortunately, Orecks aren't really quite as good as they claim to be, at least, not for our usage pattern. For one thing, we have four long haired cats! I had buyer's regret very soon after we got it (but too late to return it easily). For one thing, it's got a bag, (which fills much too quickly at our house, and I'm _really cheap_). For another, shortly after we got the Oreck I started seeing ads for bagless vacuums that also claimed to be Very Good at picking up cat hair (which, with four long-haired cats, we have a _lot_ of at our house).

But, we had the Oreck already. And I no longer had a job.

Saturday night, I scorched the Oreck. This is something I've never done before. In some 30 plus years of vacuuming carpets laden with dog and/or cat hair, I have never scorched a vacuum cleaner. Last night, vacuuming the downstairs carpet, I noticed a bad smell. I turned off the vacuum, I went to find Rich. When we came back to the room we actually noticed an, ahem, blue haze. Yipes.

Rich turned the vacuum over and the spindle (that turns when you drive the machine) was wrapped in cat hair. Wrapped, coated, really wadded over. Rather like a layer of cotton wool. Oops.

Now, note, I _know_ this can happen. Granted, I've never seen it this bad. Also, I'm used to the situation where the vacuum stops cleaning. This time it seemed to be picking up stuff (we had lots of little 1" by 1/8" strips of paper on the floor from a shredder spill...) So, somehow, I missed the clue that the vacuum was getting bollixed up. That the spindle wasn't turning. That the belt wasn't moving. That the belt was melting to the spindle. Oh, boy.

We took it apart (4 screws). We used the canister vacuum to vacuum out the bits of melted rubber belt (Ouch). Rich sanded down the accumulated rubber on the spindle. And I, in disgust, went to the web to research vacuum cleaners. This was the last straw for the Oreck, as far as I was concerned.

My Google search criteria were "vacuum cleaner" and "cat hair". Reviews on the web were not very positive for the Hoover Windtunnel. They were not good for the Eureka Whirlwind. But they praised the Bissell CleanView to the heavens. And the SRP on the Bissell was under $100!

Bissell3175 Sunday morning we went to Target to look for a vacuum cleaner. We found the Bissell CleanView Bagless 3575 Upright but they didn't have the (higher-priced) Bissell 35931 Cleanview PowerTrak. So, just for completeness, we went over to Sears. We drove, out the south side and waaay around. The Mall is currently undergoing major renovation and the construction is all over the front parking lot but there's a 2-lane "road" at the periphery so customers don't have to go out to El Camino Real (the street). Still, not great. Into Sears where Rich rejoiced that Sears Finally Has Shopping Carts (Welcome to the 20th century!). But, of course, no way to take one up the escalator.

The vacuums are on the upper level at Sears, next to the large-screen TVs. Rich didn't get one step onto the carpet in the vacuum department before two salesclerks descended upon him like buzzards. I skirted around and turned the volume down on the radio tuners attached to the televisions. I've decided I don't have to take the intense high volume of these things in stores anymore. I've started turning them down or off.

Then I went into the vacuum cleaner area, ignoring another salesclerk's advances. Rich said "They don't carry Bissell. Well then, they lose." On the way out, we passed several Bissell carpet cleaners (steam cleaners) so we did a walk through of our own but no, no Bissell vacuums. Back down the escalator. When we got to the first level, Rich said he wanted to see if he could get to Target on foot, "We'll race". So I went to get the car.

I made it back to Target 10 paces behind Rich so it was about a wash (and the light was green at the corner :-). It's good to know they've rearranged the construction fencing in the northwest corner between Sears and Target. For about a year it was impossible to go through that part of the parking lot. Maybe that was only clobbered for the BART (subway) construction.

So we went back into Target (where it is possible to take a shopping cart up the escalator) to the appliances dept (blessedly quiet, with no lurking, leaping sales clerks) and picked up a Bissell CleanView Bagless 3575 vacuum, brought it back down to the first level, and paid for it. (Ouch! This vacuum has five level adjustments, is bagless, has a washable HEPA filter, got incredible reviews, including the best reviews for picking up cat hair that I found... and it cost $80. The $^@&! Oreck I smoked Saturday night cost nearly five times that and isn't doesn't have any of those features. Sigh. Live and learn. At least you live.)

We got the Bissell home, put it together (a few parts, four screws) and tried it. Wow. This vacuum really sucks :-) My office carpet is the cleanest it's been since we moved into this house. The Bissell has lots of features the Oreck doesn't have - a HEPA filter, hose attachments, adjustable height control. And it cost less than 1/4 the price of the #$^@&! Oreck. We plan to give the Oreck to Rich's dad, who has no pets, no children, and a rather immaculate house. It will probably do very well for them, although they may want to replace the belt fairly soon. It's a bit... uneven.

Our new vacuum cleaner really sucks! ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 29 Mar, 18:06 Pacific | «e»