I bought this vacuum 11 months ago, and at the time I bought it, I wrote in and gave it a 5 star rating on this site. I thought it was the best vacuum I had ever bought in my life; it had fantastic suction and picked up pet hair like you wouldn't believe. I could not understand why some people on this site had exactly the opposite experience and wrote in saying the vacuum wouldn't pick up anything, and it was a piece of garbage. How is it possible to have such polar opposite experiences with the same product? Read on my friend... About 2 months ago I started noticing that the vacuum wasn't picking up as much stuff, and I was having to empty the canister less and less. Not a good sign, because I know my dog wasn't shedding any less hair. Slowly, but surely, it got to the point where the vacuum simply wasn't picking up anything at all off the carpet. The suction remained strong on the tool hose, but when I switched it to vacuum the carpet....nothing. I tried everything; checked the belt - it seemed fine and the brush was spinning like crazy, bought a new filter, checked to make sure everything was clear and unblocked and the canister and filter were connected properly. Still, the vacuum wouldn't pick up a thing. Sadly, I decided that the negative reviewers were right; the vacuum was a piece of garbage that didn't even last a year. I began looking for a new vacuum on line. As I went through the on line ads looking for the next vacuum to try, it occured to me that I didn't want a new vacuum, I wanted the one I had to work right! It was a fantastic vacuum when it was new, what happened to it? So, I decided to take it in to get repaired, even though the repair might cost more than the vacuum itself. The repairman looked at it, and in less than a minute, laughed and said, "I know exactly what's wrong with it; it needs a new belt!" A new belt???? The one it had was fine, not broken, no cracks, and was turning the brush, I replied. "Yes," he said, "but it's been on the machine too long and it's all stretched out. A belt needs to been changed every 4 to 6 months, even if the belt isn't broken." He went on to say that when he sells a vacuum to a customer, he takes it out of the box and puts a new belt on it, because if the product has been sitting on the shelf for six months, the belt is already stretched out of shape before it is ever turned on for the first time, and the vacuum won't function as is should. Well, this was all news to me. Skeptically I took the vacuum home and tried vacuuming the house with the new belt installed. EUREKA!!!!! My fantastic vacuum is back!!!! I had to empty the canister 6 times for all the dirt and pet hair it picked up. And it was once again lifting the nap of the carpet. Who knew the belt was so important? Obviously not me. So I am coming up on a year of using of this vacuum, and it is still the best vacuum I have ever owned. People complain about the filter; in the summer I clean it by just hosing it off with the garden hose using the power sprayer and let it dry for at least a day or 2. And in the winter, I do the same thing, except I switch to the hand held shower spray in the bathroom. I re-use the same filter over and over. There is no odor at all to the filter. #but I do make sure it has dried thoroughly before I use it#. I still give the vacuum 5 stars. Just remember to change out the belt every now and again. Oh, and the repairperson charged me a whole 5 dollars for that repair. :)
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