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Iama Vacuum Repair Technician and this is the 1 year anniversary AMA! Thanks, Reddit!

Nov 5th 2014 by touchmyfuckingc • 50 Questions • 3586 Points

Ok, so I missed the 1 year anniversary due to a summer AMA, that kept me from posting.

I'm here to make your life suck better. I'm commission free, loyal to no brand, and not plugging anything but my YouTube channel. Proof

I want to thank reddit for putting me on the map. You've so surprised me by giving a shit, at all, about anything this old asshole has to say. You made is so I got over 7 thousand subscribers to my YouTube channel in less than 72 hours! Thank you again.

I'm so happy to hear from so many people who've bought vacuums, based on my recommendations, and are much less miserable when cleaning. If you bought a Miele because of me, let me know.

So, on to business...here's the copypasta.

First AMA (archived)

Second AMA (Open)

Last AMA

Here's some basics to get you started:

*Dollar for dollar, a bagged vacuum, when compared to a bagless, will always:

1) Perform better (Actual quality of cleaning).

2) Be in service for much longer.

3) Cost less to repair and maintain (Often including consumables).

4) Filter your air better.

Virtually every vacuum professional in the business chooses a bagged vacuum for their homes, because we know what quality is.

  • Things you should do to maintain your vac, regularly:

1) Clear your brush roller/agitator of hair and fibers. Clear the bearing caps as well, if possible. (monthly)

2) Change your belts before they break. This is important to maintain proper tension against the agitator. (~ yearly for "stretch" belts)

3) Never use soap when washing any parts of your vacuum, including the outer bag, duct system, agitator, filters, etc. Soap attracts dirt, and is difficult to rinse away thoroughly.

Types of vacs:

1) Generally, canister vacs are quieter and more versatile than uprights are. They offer better filtration, long lifespans, and ease of use. They handle bare floors best, and work with rugs and carpets, as well.

2) Upright vacuums are used mostly for homes that are entirely carpeted. Many have very powerful motors, great accessories, and are available in a couple of different motor styles. Nothing cleans shag carpeting like the right upright.

3) Bagless vacs are available in a few different styles. They rely on filters and a variety of aerodynamic methods to separate the dirt from the air. In general, these machines do not clean or filter as well as bagged vacuums. They suffer from a loss of suction, and tend to clog repeatedly, if the filters are not cleaned or replaced often.

4) Bagged vacuums use a disposable bag to collect debris, which acts as your primary filter, before the air reaches the motor, and is replaced when you fill it. Because this first filter is changed, regularly, bagged vacuums tend to provide stronger, more consistent suction.

My last, best piece of advice is to approach a vacuum, like any appliance; Budget for the best one you can get. Buy one with idea you will maintain it, and use it for many years. And, for the love of Dog, do not buy from late-night infomercials or door-to-door salesmen! Stay out of the big-box stores, and visit your local professional who actually knows what they're talking about.

Q:

What's the best vacuum you can buy if you're a broke student? I'm talking $100 max.

A:

Used


Q:

What about used prostitutes?

A:

Always buy new.


Q:

Seriously, how do you guys stay in busuness? I never see a car in those parking lots yet they never go out of business.

Is it a secret society?

A:

You can't know our secrets.

Seriously though, it's not a terribly profitable business. But, there is money to be made, if you're smart and honest.


Q:

Considering the awareness you've brought to their brand, has Miele reached out to you at all?

A:

Not yet. But, they did recently get a spreadsheet of all of the redditors who've emailed me, letting me know they bought one on my recommendation. It's about 150 people so far.

Who knows what will come of it.


Q:

I bought one on Amazon last week. s8 cat&dog

A:

Since you're in Texas, you should have come to see me about a vacuum.


Q:

I saw your last ama and saw how you disliked rainbow. So what makes them so bad?

A:
  • They're way overpriced for what you get.
  • They're difficult to use and require too much maintenance from the owner.
  • They don't have particularly good suction...especially for the cost!
  • They cost too much to repair compared to conventional vacuums.

Q:

What the fuck man, I my mom bought one last week and she's thinks it's the best vacuum she has ever used.

How do I tell her this? It will ruin her day...

A:

Don't tell her...


Q:

You have answered this on previous AMAs but perhaps your opinion may have changed. If money is no object, what is the best vacuum you can purchase right now?

A:

My answer is still the same; The Miele S8 Uniq.


Q:

I've heard that it's terrible to vacuum baking soda. Is this true? I'm a big fan if using baking soda to get smells out of carpets and upholstery... Should I change my tune? (I have a small upright eureka bagless)

(Edit:bagless, not canister)

A:

I am really not a fan of baking soda for several reasons. It can be left behind, in your carpet and padding, and it can be very bad for your vacuum.

Here is a link that will help. I just would use all of their recommendations, when it comes to baking soda straight on the carpet.


Q:

What are your thoughts on the European Union vacuum cleaner power limits (no more than 1600w motors allowed this year, and no more than 900w in 2017)?

Personally, I think it's a good thing and it will just force manufacturers to make more efficient machines. People don't seem to agree, and stores saw a huge uptick in people buying 2500w monsters recently, before they're not allowed on the shelves.

For background: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/21/anger-as-eu-bans-most-powerful-vacuum-cleaners

A:

Even 1600W is more than enough to properly clean your home. In the US, we're limited to 1200W from our imported Miele vacuums, and they clean better than most brands. I really don't think 1600W is an issue, at all. But, I wouldn't want to be limited to 900W either.


Q:

I'm about to move into a house that is REALLY big. I was thinking about getting two separate vacuums, one for the carpeted floors (mainly upstairs) and one for the hardwood (mainly downstairs). What should I look at when choosing what would be best for JUST that kind of floor? Most of them have a switch or something but I want something specific.

A:

I've got a great package for you that won't break the bank.

Get yourself a good Miele canister, with a powerbrush head. Also, get the Miele Quickstep. It can use the powerbrush head from the canister, do your stairs, and be good for quick jobs. The canister can handle the rest.


Q:

What is the weirdest reason you've seen or heard for a broken vacuum? Maybe something stuck inside or something like that.

A:

I did come across a vacuum with several .357 magnum, .38 special, and .22 LR loaded cartridges once.


Q:

Nowadays, the .22lr rounds were probably worth as much as the vacuum itself.

A:

Is there a shortage?


Q:

Hi. I loved your previous AMA and channel. Thanks for taking the time.

I bought a Meile Complete C3 and it initially worked great. After a year it started to stink really bad when we used it. We used fresh bags and replaced the filters regularly. It still stunk so we sent it back to Meile for repair. It came back good but the suction doesn't seem to be as good. I've replaced the bags, cleaned the rollers and replaced the filters but I'm convinced the suction isn't great. (We have a cat and I vacuum 2/3 times a week in an average sized 2 bedroom house).

How often should we be replacing a unit of this quality? It was quite expensive and we've only had it for approximately 15 months.

Bonus question - How and why did you get into the business? All the best. Thanks again!

A:

First, with your vacuum; For the best odor control, I recommend using the more expensive Activated Charcoal or HEPA filters. They are far more effective than using the AirClean filter that is provided with your bags. Having your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year will also help prevent odors in your vacuum.

Here's what you can do at home:

Remove your hose and spray vinegar into it, soaking all the inside. Let that set for a half hour or so, then rinse it out with clear water. Be certain to let everything dry COMPLETELY before using the vacuum.

You can do the same with your brush roller, and you can wipe out the nozzle, inside where the brush sits with vinegar. Do not submerge your powerbrush head in liquids.

Finally, you can buy some scented drops to put onto your HEPA filter, to make the exhaust smell pleasantly.

As far as your suction goes, I'd recommend taking it to a local dealer, and have them put it on a suction gauge and compare it to a floor model. You should be getting a minimum of 70 inches of lift suction from your Miele. If you're not, the dealer can find out why.

Edit: I got into this business as an unemployed hair-stylist, with a background as a mechanic and technician. My boss loved my voice so much, he knew I'd do well...or, at least he thought so. I basically got the job over the phone. It's hard to find good people in the vacuum trade.


Q:

What kind of money should I expect to pay when I bring my Meile vacuum cleaners to the shop to be tuned-up?

A:

Miele's really don't require "tune ups". Every 3-5 years, you should have the commutator on the motor cleaned, and the carbon brushes checked. But, that's about it, other than removing trapped hair from the powerbrushes, occasionally.

It's usually around $50-60 here.


Q:

Have you ever been recognized by a stranger in real life and they said something along the lines of "Hey! You're that vacuum technician guy on reddit and youtube!"? How did you react to it?

A:

I haven't had anyone recognize me from my videos. But, I have had redditors come into the shop, just to be blown away to find out it was me all along.


Q:

Do you ever have vacuum related dreams?

A:

Thank your god, no.


Q:

Hey /u/touchmyfuckingcoffee

I went to an authorized Miele retailer and they said while the Miele is good he prefers the Sebo for no maintenance, near zero failures, and better cleaning. What are you thoughts on the sebo, the black model with automatically floor level. I think it was the X6? What would you compare that to in Miele wise?

A:

Sebo makes great canister vacuums. But, I don't think they're any more reliable than Miele canisters. I love the Sebos, but I don't think they're as easy to use or ergonomic as Mieles.

Your Miele dealer may be one of those who are still holding a grudge against Miele for Miele choosing to sell at big-box retailers, and fucking the dealer network over. They don't really operate like a family-owned company anymore.


Q:

Oh he preferred the sebo upright to the miele canister. He said you cannot go wrong with either but was okay with miele. He said just don't get the miele upright as its too heavy to really use.

Also thank you for your reply.

A:

Yeah, I don't like the Miele uprights, either. I love their canisters though.


Q:

Are you sure that it's been a year? I remember being in the thread where we asked you to do an AMA like it was yesterday...

A:

That was on Oct. 28, 2013. Time flies when you're talking vacs.


Q:

What's your take on robo vacs? Which brands\models would you recommend ?

A:

I'm not a big fan of them. But, if you're going to buy, Neato and Miele make the best models.


Q:

What do you think are the best vacuums out now?

A:

If we're talking about the ordinary, residential market, there are three brands that all make very high quality vacuums. They are Miele, Riccar, and Sebo. There are more 'boutique" brands that are sold door-to-door and by other direct marketing, but I am not including those.


Q:

Thanks :)

Are there any specific ones from Miele, Riccar, and Sebo?

A:

Like I said in my AMA intro, visit a local dealer. Tell them your needs and flooring, and seek guidance based on that. Though, I am a bigger fan of canister vacs over uprights.


Q:

I just moved out on my own and I am looking to get rid of my shitty college belongings and actually get nice things. I am looking into the Miele S2 canister, it's the lowest level canister that I could find that would still be in my price range. Should I save up more and get a higher level or would the s2 still be a good value? I don't have pets but I am allergy sensitive and a bit of a neat freak. Just looking to keep the dust to a minimum in my apartment (mostly carpeted). Thanks for doing this AMA!

A:

Congrats and good luck to you. If you can wait to budget more, the S6 and S8 models are of a better quality, in my book, than are the S2. But, it does still have 7 years warranty coverage. So, it's entirely up to you.


Q:

I got rid of my bagless upright vacuum because of your AMA. I got a Eureka Mighty Mite and it works perfectly for my apartment!

I have a cat that sheds constantly, do you have any recommendations on how to remove cat hair from my couch/bed/carpet?

A:

This works pretty well. I have a couple of them. Also, any of the silicone pet hair tools work fairly well, also. My car-detailer buddies swear by pumice stones for fabric upholstery. I hope this helps.


Q:

What are your thoughts on Oreck vacuums? Also, I just read your first AMA, very entertaining!

A:

Orecks are ok, for things like motel rooms. I would never recommend one for someone's home.


Q:

You still mercilessly hate Dyson?

A:

I don't hate Dyson. I hate their business model. I do at least appreciate the way they stand by their warranties.

I just wish they'd make better vacuums.


Q:

Hi vacuum guy, Thanks for coming back. I got a Miele S1 as a gift. Should I return it and add more money to get a canister? Or stick with this one?

A:

If it were me, knowing what I know, I'd probably go for the canister.


Q:

Hi! I'm a college student with a limited budget. I have hardwood floors, so I'm not in desperate need of a big vacuum, but it'd be nice to have a handheld one for little messes. Any you can recommend?

A:

Look into the Riccar Butler. I really like this portable canister. I may even buy one, though I don't need it.


Q:

Thanks to you, I upgraded from a Shark upright to a Miele S8 Alize. Using it for the first time was something akin to taking a hit of acid.

My only issue with it is that the floor attachment that comes with it has little brushes all the way around that often prevent things from actually getting sucked (I have mostly bare floors). Why are these brushes there, if they impede the flow of debris?

A:

I'm not sure which brush you have. But, the SBB 300 Parquet Twist Floor tool is Miel's best.

I think they're brush could use some design improvements. You could try snipping some of the fibers around the openings to make them bigger. Just try not to open up the airflow too much.


Q:

Do you also give people new identities on the side like the vacuum repair man does on Breaking Bad?

A:

Send me cash and let's find out.


Q:

Dollar for Dollar, what has better suckage: An eighty dollar vacuum or an eighty dollar prostitute?

A:

If you're buying new the prostitute....I assume.


Q:

But wouldn't the old have more experience?

A:

Maybe, but they lack eagerness.


Q:

Hello! For your tip #1, cleaning the brush roller / agitator, how exactly do you clean it? I've been cutting the hair out with scissors, but it's kind of nasty. Can it easily be dismantled to free everything?

A:

It all depends on the brand of vacuum. Check out my video on the subject, and see if that helps. If not, ask me again with more detailed info.


Q:

Why in the blue hell are vacuums so interesting?

A:

I really don't know.

I have a theory that boys are drawn to them for two reasons: They get to watch their moms operate it, and if they're lucky, they get to see their dads (or moms) to work on them too. They combine the worlds between mom and dad, cleanliness and mechanical wonder.


Q:

When there are no vacuums nearby and you need to clean up a ton of sand from a carpet, what is the second best thing to use?

A:

An air compressor?


Q:

Do you listen to music when you vacuum like me or do you just appreciate the sound of a vacuum doing its job?

A:

I like to have music going in the background when I clean.


Q:

As a fellow vac. technician left in the dark on how to fix all the brands, where might I go online to educate myself on fixing vacs?

A:

YouTube is invaluable.


Q:

So, what new things have you learned in your trade during this year?

A:

Other than learning how to work on some models that I hadn't worked on before, there's not much new to learn.

I did learn that Kirby recommends a full tune-up every 5 years, and have incorporated a new service for them, which has significantly improved my average price of Kirby repairs.


Q:

I know this is off topic, but any recommendations for steam carpet cleaners?

A:

Yeah...rent.


Q:

No. No. No.

Renting a carpet cleaning machine is the absolute worst way to clean your carpet. The mechanical operations of a 'rug doctor' do not extract enough 'rug doctor' chemical out of your carpet.

Home owners always spray down too much or too little and use way to much water leaving the carpet too wet.

Spend the few extra $ and call a local non-franchise professional hot water extraction carpet cleaner.

source: Was active in the insurance restoration & carpet cleaning industry for nearly a decade.

p.s. vacuum your damn carpet before the carpet cleaners get there. it will improve your clean exponentially.

A:

I agree with you, in principle. But, many people are very wary of hiring a professional to come in the home, and many companies have bad reputations.


Q:

What kind of "big" advancements in the vacuum industry could consumers potentially see with-in the next ten to twenty years?

A:

The next big advancement, that I see coming, is better battery tech. What we have now just isn't up to the task of driving >1000W motors with good suction.


Q:

I own a commercial cleaning business and have been looking for a good backpack-style vaccum. Any recommendations or should I just innovate and throw some straps on one of my Miele's?

A:

For backpacks, it doesn't get much better than ProTeam.


Q:

How did it all start for you?

A:

Well, let's see. First the Earth cooled. And then the dinosaurs came, but they got too big and fat, so they all died and they turned into oil. And then the Arabs came and they bought Mercedes Benzes. And Prince Charles started wearing all of Lady Di's clothes. I couldn't believe it- he took her best summer dress and he put it on and went to town...


Q:

How about some coffee, Johnny?

A:

Always.


Q:

Would you rather vacuum a carpet sized rug, or a hundred rug sized carpets?

A:

Gotta be the carpet sized rug.


Q:

As the most interesting man in the world, what beer would you recommend?

A:

There are so many good labels to choose from. Personally, I am an IPA guy.


Q:

I remember reading through your first AMA when it was linked in another thread not but a few weeks ago. Since the first AMA, have there been any notable changes in the various brands' quality where you might re-evaluate where you place brands in a general vacuum hierarchy?

A:

The market is basically the same. TTi is moving Royal into their flagship brand, over Hoover. Miele and Dyson, both, have entered the robotic vac business. Riccar has changed motor manufactures, introduced new models, and bumped the warranties up on their better models.

I think the next big thing will be the EU restrictions to 1600W, which has europeans freaked out for no reason.


Q:

Would you recommend your line of work to someone who as looking for a career?

A:

No...There's far better pay in far cleaner professions. Remember, always, that 80% of all vacuum debris is human skin and hair.