You don't really appreciate your Vax vacuum cleaner until it stops working. It's the first thing you reach for if you spill coffee, salt or sugar on your kitchen floor. It's the old friend you spend time with just before guests arrive, as you get rid of the dust that seems to have accumulated since you went upstairs to get ready. If your Vax suddenly stops operating at just such a critical juncture, don't panic; you can take several steps to get it back in working order.
If the problem is a drop in suction, or complete suction failure, you must first establish the cause. Check the dirt container. If it appears to be full, empty it. Examine the filter. If it is dirty, take it out, clean it, and place it back in position. A blockage between the cleaning head and the dust container will also cause suction problems. To check for this, remove both the dirt container and cleaning wand. This allows you to check the hose inlets for obstructions. If suction failure occurs while you are using tools such as the crevice nozzle or dusting attachment, check for blockages within these accessories.
If your vacuum is not picking up dirt from carpets and rugs, the problem may not lie with the suction, but with the brushroll. This loosens dirt, allowing the suction to remove it from the surface being cleaned. Check to ensure that the brushroll switch is in the "on" position. If this is the case, unplug the cleaner and examine the brushroll. Any threads or other materials caught round it will prevent it from working properly, so remove them straightaway. Finally, press the brushroll reset button, which is located on the rear of the floor cleaning head.
Dust will escape from your Vax cleaner if the dust container or filter are not fitted correctly. A wrongly installed cleaning wand will have the same effect. Check the installation of all three of these parts. If necessary, remove them and secure them back in position. Once again, take the opportunity to empty the dust container, and clean the filter.
The dust container lid must be correctly aligned before you can secure it in position. Remove the lid and realign it, making sure the tabs match up.
Any failure of your Vax cleaner to function when you switch it on, may be due to something as simple as a plug not properly installed, a blown fuse or a thrown trip switch. Check all of these out. If all appears well, your vacuum's thermal protector may well have been activated. If this is the case, allow your Vax to cool down before doing any more vacuuming.
Belfast-based Neil Greenlees was made redundant in March 2009 after working as a reporter for 26 years. For most of his career he was a senior journalist with ''The Ulster Star," a weekly newspaper covering the Lisburn and South Belfast areas. Greenlees holds the National Council for the Training of Journalists Pre-Entry Certificate.