Just What I wanted for Christmas…

Well, I will get it this week, and Mom and Dad Red agreed to put a bow on it.

I caught the vacuum cleaner on fire.

Now, before you start reminding me not to use an ordinary vacuum on fireplace ashes, there has not been a fire in the fireplace for over a decade. I’d finished most of the house, and just intended to make a few passes over the World’s Largest Throw Rug. The last time I did that, the vac started smelling hot, and I stopped.

This time, I raised the brush head, so that it wouldn’t overload as easily. I managed two swipes back and forth, and I smelled hot vacuum. Then something like burning grass, or over-baking bread. Off went the power, Dad unplugged the thing, and carried it onto the porch.

The bag had been changed two weeks ago. The beater-bar had some paper in it, and the usual cat and Alma hair, but nothing major. We couldn’t find any obvious source of the problem, so I said I’d take it to the small-appliance place. It’s only 25 years or so old, and they’ve worked on it before.

Nope. I was informed yesterday that no effort at resuscitation would be made. A new vac is en route.

I’m blaming Athena. If she were not a long-haired cat, this would not have happened. 25 years of twice-weekly use, plus dust and fur and what-have-you, cannot have worn out the vacuum.

16 thoughts on “Just What I wanted for Christmas…

  1. 25 years, in today’s disposable economy, is pretty good. Can I ask what you had?
    Our Electrolux is showing it’s age, and it is almost too heavy for me to comfortably maneuver, but it still works.

  2. When I was growing up Mom had a an old Eureka upright, acquired some time in the fifties. It worked fine until some time in the seventies, despite having a long haired Pekingese for 11 of those years. What finally killed it was that we could no longer find replacement drive belts for the beater bar.

    • Our Eureka (circa 2000) was getting too beat up, and I dismantled it, hoping to salvage the motor. It used a lightweight clear-plastic motor housing rather than any metal housing, so longevity wasn’t a consideration for the designers. Our dogs shed a lot, and it was too much for the next Eureka (and beater belts became unavailable, too), so we broke down and bought a Bissell pet vacuum. And, replacement parts are available.

  3. Hmm. I’m thinking lubrication and brushes for what’s probably a universal motor. But you’ve probably cooked the insulation on the motor windings.

    Years ago I got a handheld kitchen mixer as a gift. It had an odd rattle, so I opened it up. Whoever assembled it had left a spare housing screw loose inside. Once that was out, I took a more careful look. There was this odd-shaped bit of nylon with a spring in it between the front of the shaft and a pair of electrical contacts.

    It took about two minutes for me to realize that it was/is a flyball governor! I have the photos to prove it.

  4. Welp, you can ‘plan’ on the new one lasting a LOT less than 25 years… sigh… Vacuuming up after pets will fill the bag/bin in a hurry!!! Three times and JimJim could knit a new Obi!

  5. I’m seriously thinking about that with the cat. It’s enough fur off the Russian Blue to knit a new cat, or a nice scarf. By spring, it’s a ball of fluff about three time normal size, and I could probably brush, card and spin like an Angora rabbit. That’s a fun way to stop inane conversation: “… no, it’s cat.”

    • You can spin cat hair, but you have to spin it with something else. Cat fur doesn’t have the barbs that sheep, goat, angora rabbit, and dog hair have. And a sweater made with cat fur will still shed, until only the other wool remains.

      Yes, I got a wild hair 😉 one day and went looking for info.

  6. My mother, in the early stages of her dementia, bought a Kirby Upright Vacuum. It is heavy, because it is steel construction and cost her $3K.
    It will probably be running long after I am gone.

    • My wife did ta remarkably similar thing, for much the same reason. We had it three months, and she never used it. Not once. We traded it for repair work on the furnace.

  7. I have heard of people spinning yarn and knitting sweaters from dog hair … and I would think that poodle hair would make particularly lovely yarn…

  8. And here I though someone scattered 20 pounds of matches on the floor. and you thought your vaccuum would pick it all up…

    Is BUMMER, yes? Boy, HOWDY.

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