We have a Hoover “SteamVac” carpet cleaner. The one with five, count them, five rotating brushes to deep clean carpets. One like it retails on Walmart for around $135.00. We’ve had it for over ten years I’m guessing, and we’ve cleaned a lot of carpets with it over the years. It’s a good carpet cleaner, easy to use, and, as far as anyone knows, we don’t own it. Never have. You’d be amazed at the things I don’t own, that people can’t borrow from me.
You can probably figure out why. We loaned the Hoover out once and had to ask for it back. The people we loaned it to were moving out of their rental house into another and wanted their deposit back. That would involve cleaning the carpets.
“Do you have a carpet shampooer,” I was asked.
“Yes,” I said without thinking.
“Can we borrow it?”
“I guess,” I responded, “But I better get it back in the same condition you got it in.”
I was assured that even bringing that up was an insult. Six weeks after they moved, I had to call and ask for the carpet cleaner back because we wanted to use it. It was dropped off a week later. It looked like it had been used to clean the carpet in a gorilla cage. The front scoop was chipped and the foot switch no longer worked. I cleaned it up as best I could and vowed I would never admit that I owned a carpet cleaner again. For the last 6 years or so you had to unplug the machine to shut it off.
So the other day my wife told me that the machine was leaking and she couldn’t use it. I looked it over and determined that a small rubber gasket and a spring was missing at the bottom of the cleaning solution tank. The dilemma was now whether to buy a new carpet cleaner, or attempt to locate a replacement for the missing little rubber gasket and spring.
So I went online to “VacPartsWarehouse.com” armed with only the model number, and within minutes I had located an exploded diagram, a schematic, of my actual carpet cleaner with numbered parts. I figured I should buy part #17, 18, 19 and 20 just to be safe. Except, one of the parts I actually needed, #18, wasn’t on the parts list below. The other three parts could be added to my cart. So I searched a little further and discovered I could order the complete tank with the parts included. That would cost $40 and some change. Still cheaper than a new machine, but considerably more than the less than $10 I was getting ready to pay for the other four small parts.
So I figured, while I was at it, since I could see the part clearly in the schematic, I would order a replacement switch for it as well. Click “Add to Cart” and we’re in another $10.95 total including shipping and handling, still less than the cost of a new machine. The switch arrived yesterday in the mail.
Last night I decided to replace the switch. The switch is buried in the guts of the machine so I started taking out screws. I started removing this part, removing that part, digging my way down into the bowels of the machine trying to find the elusive switch. I would just need to snap it in place and attach two wires according to the exploded diagram. That diagram was the only direction manual that I had.
Over an hour later I had parts strewn all over the dining room floor and well over a dozen screws of different sizes. Panic seized me as I realized I couldn’t remember where some of them went, the parts or the screws.
“I’m never going to get this back together,” I said aloud.
“You’ll figure it out,” I heard back.
“No, really, I can’t remember where these screws go, and I still haven’t found the switch.”
A few minutes later I did find the switch. It was clearly in a place that the designers of this machine had no intention of letting you replace even though they gladly sell you the part. I snapped the little plastic switch in place, attached the two wires, and started the painstaking process of putting it all back together again.
Another hour or so later, I had it reassembled. It was a struggle, believe me. I almost gave up on more than one occasion and was ready to go online and buy a new machine. I plugged the cord in the wall and stepped on the foot switch. The machine roared to life.
Pride. That was the emotion, complete, unadulterated, pride. I couldn’t believe it worked. Well, I actually don’t know if it still works because I don’t have the solution tank yet. That should come in the mail today or tomorrow. But it turned on and off. I was and still am pretty impressed with myself. It even looks the same as it did when I started taking it apart, always a good thing, and there were no parts or screws left over. I’m hoping it will still clean the carpets.
Just a side note: It took me a while to straighten out my legs after sitting on the floor for several hours struggling to put the Hoover back together again. For awhile there, I was afraid they weren’t going to work anymore either.