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Change your vacuum bags. Change them often. This is more important now than ever when it comes to vacuum cleaner maintenance, due to the trend of more and more vacuum cleaner manufacturers are locating the motor underneath the vacuum bag area.
More and more vacuums are designed to protect the motor from damage while vacuuming. This is a good thing and it makes the quality of the vacuum cleaner bags you use increasing important. If you own a Sharp, Simplicity , Sanyo, Panasonic, or Kenmore upright vacuum with a motor bypass system, you could vacuum up a coin or something small and will not break the vacuum fan (this is not a challenge). The motor in most of these machines is "enclosed", so everything you vacuum goes from the bottom of the vacuum, up the hose and directly into the vacuum cleaner bags. This is how a canister vacuum cleans your carpet. This is also one of the reasons those old Electrolux canister vacuum cleaners lasted so long. If you buy a vacuum advertised as "lightweight" (8 or 9lbs.) don't try the coin test. Lighter vacuums generally do NOT offer a bypass system. You will probably break the fan.
One of the most effective ways to shorten the life of a vacuum is allowing the vacuum cleaner bag to overfill and/or break. Not changing your vacuum filters is another. In a vacuum where the motor is "protected" in the manor mentioned above, the motor resides underneath the vacuum cleaner bag area. You may also notice a filter in the vacuum bag cavity area of your machine. This is where the suction is created. A vacuum cleaner may be able to pick up a small hard object, but if this object causes your bag to break, the only thing protecting your motor from sucking all this dust and dirt inside of it is the filter above it. The filter will help, but it's not enough and will eventually clog. Also, if you notice that you ripped the bag when you were placing it on the machine, throw it out.
I recommend changing your vacuum cleaner bag once a month. I would at least check your bag this frequently. If the vacuum bag is more than half full, you will notice a reduction in the amount of suction your vacuum will generate. Keeping your vacuum cleaner bags less than half full will ensure that you're vacuum cleaner is producing as much suction as it should be.
I also recommend using good vacuum cleaner bags. I like hypo-allergenic bags. They are treated to reduce dust and dust mites from being reintroduced into the air, and I have noticed that they keep the inside of the vacuum much cleaner than cheap supermarket vacuum bags. Also, I don't think it matters if the vacuum cleaner bags are actually made by the vacuum manufacturer or somebody else. I have been using replacement bags for years in my vacuum store without any problems. Just make sure you are ordering the right "style" vacuum bags that were designed to fit your vacuum cleaner.
Some vacuums, like Kirby, Oreck, and Sanitaire have vacuum cleaners where the vacuum bags can break wide open in the vacuum bag area, and it won't hurt the vacuum cleaner. It'll make a big mess for you to clean, but it doesn't hurt actually hurt the vacuum cleaner. I would still use higher quality vacuum bags for these machines as well.
Finally, try to buy vacuum cleaner bags from somebody who specializes in selling vacuums and vacuum parts. This way you will be able to contact somebody if you're not sure what type of bags you need for your vacuum.
Miele Dust Bags - Find the right Hyclean or IntensiveClean Miele dust filter bags for your Miele upright or canister vacuum cleaner.
Vacuum Bag Coupons - This site has coupons codes for popular brands like Kirby, Oreck, Hoover, Kenmore and more. The coupons codes are all valid for months at a time.
Kirby Vacuum Bags - This site has a complete list of vacuum bags for Kirby vacuum owners. Genuine Kirby bags and part #'s plus some basic parts information.
Simplicity Vacuum Bags - Guide to help you find the right size Genuine Simplicity vacuum cleaner bag. simplicity vacuum bags numbers for the Genuine HEPA and Healthy Home style bags.
Oreck XL Bags - Quick guide to help yous select the right Oreck upright vacuum cleaner bag (CC or Xl).
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