Can we do our own repairs?

As one of the most heavily used appliances in our homes, the vacuum cleaner sustains a lot of wear and tear. This means with time; the vacuum may not work as well as it used to. A common problem with our vacuums is a belt that is dislodged, broken or stretched. If the belt is the cause of the vacuum's problem, we can do our own repairs and save money in the process. A broken vacuum doesn't always mean that we have to buy a new one or pay for repairs.

Buying replacement vacuum belts
Belts are readily available online, from the manufacturer or at the local hardware store. We need to note down the brand and model of our vacuum to buy the right kind of belt. If in doubt, it is always best to take the broken belt to the store and ask an attendant for advice. But before we start shopping for vacuum belts, we have to find out if the belt is actually the problem.

Signs that the vacuum belt is broken
The vacuum doesn't clean like it used to: If the vacuum cleaner runs but leaves dirt on the floor, there is a chance that the belt isn't working. However, we should eliminate other issues that may cause the vacuum to fail by inspecting the following components:

- We first confirm that the vacuum cleaner has suction by placing a hand over the hose to check for blockage.
- We also check if the dust bag is empty and in good condition.
- We then make sure the filter is clean and not worn.
If these three parts are working well, we proceed to check on the brush roll. The brush roll stalls or doesn't spin at all: We now flip the vacuum cleaner to take a look at the brush roll at the underside of the vacuum while it runs. If the roll keeps stalling or does not rotate at all, check if there's fur or hair on the brush that prevents it from spinning. If the brush is clean, then a broken belt is probably the problem.
Taking a look at the belt

The belt is found in the vacuum cleaner's brush roll area. It connects the vacuum's motor to the brush roll. This connection allows the motor to spin the brush which in turn loosens particles on the floor so they can be sucked into the vacuum cleaner.

To access the belt, we turn off and unplug the vacuum and then turn it to expose its bottom. The brush roll is covered by a plate that is held in place with screws or clips. We detach the plate to expose the brush, the motor, and the belt. Now we can confirm with our eyes if the belt has stretched or snapped.

How to replace the belt
1. Turn off and unplug the vacuum cleaner. Turn it upside down to expose the plate that covers the brush roll area.

2. Remove the plate to allow access to the motor, brush roll, and belt. In most canister and upright vacuums, the plate is fastened using screws. A screwdriver is used to detach the plate. In other vacuums, the plate is held in place with clips and the plate is removed by simply opening the clips. It's worth noting that in some upright vacuums, the belt can only be reached by removing the top cover of the cleaning head as well as the bottom plate.

3. If the belt is cut, simply pull it out.

4. Otherwise, the belt is looped around the brush roll and the motor's spindle. If the belt is positioned at the end of the brush roll, simply slip it off the roller brush then slip it off the motor. Some vacuum cleaners have the belt in the middle of the brush, so we need to pull out the brush roll in order to remove the belt.

5. Because the brush roll is now easily reachable, now is a good opportunity to detach and clean it.

6. If the belt goes in the middle of the brush roll, slip the belt onto the roller before putting the brush back onto the vacuum. If the belt goes at the end of the brush roll, put the brush back in place before slipping the belt on.

7. Pull the other end of the belt over the spindle of the motor. Because the belt is new and taut, a little force is needed to get the belt over the spindle. It may be easier to use a big screwdriver to perform this task. Please note that depending on the type of vacuum cleaner, we may have to slip the belt onto the motor first.

8. Once the new belt is attached, spin the brush roll. If it turns, the belt has just the right amount of tension. Next, spin the motor. If the brush roll spins, the repair is a success.

9. Re -attach the plate that covers the brush. If any other covers were removed to access the brush roll, put them back as well. Take care to attach the covers correctly. Replacing a belt is fairly simple

A person who is familiar with their vacuum can replace the belt in as little as five minutes. For a novice handyman, the process should take no more than 30 minutes. Doing our own repairs saves us money and makes us proud of ourselves. Also, a belt replacement requires relatively little effort. So the next time the vacuum has a belt problem, home repair is definitely an option.

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