Problem-Solving Vacuum

A new vacuum from Kenmore could be the answer to one of the main reasons vacuums stop working — the belt breaks. Consumer Reports tested to see how well Kenmore’s beltless vacuum delivers.

Sal Galasso has been repairing vacuums for 34 years and says belts can be a pesky problem.

Galasso says, “We call them rubber bands. They stretch and after two, three months, they stretch out and everything starts vibrating.”

Consumer Reports just tested a beltless vacuum from Kenmore for 350 dollars. It’s what’s known as a direct-drive vacuum.

Bob Markovich of Consumer Reports says, “With direct-drive vacuums, a motor drives the brush directly without a belt.”

Consumer Reports put Kenmore’s beltless vacuum through its standard tests.

Technicians sprinkle sand onto bare floors, embed sand and talcum powder into carpets, they even use pet hair to challenge the vacuums.

The Kenmore Elite 31150 cleaned up — outscoring every other vacuum. It did an excellent job on bare floors and was impressive on carpets, and has strong suction.

But most vacuums still come with belts. And if yours breaks, Consumer Reports says it isn’t hard to replace.

Dave Trezza says, “There are basically two ways to access the belt and brush to change in the vacuum cleaner. One requires a screwdriver. And the other one just requires releasing a couple clips on the cover.”

You just undo the clips, and the cover slides off. Then you slide the brush off the belt, and then slide the belt off. Now you can install a new one.

Of course, if you aren’t the handy type at all, there’s always your local vacuum repairman like Sal to get the job done.

Consumer Reports says to maintain your vacuum, it’s a good idea to clean hair and carpet fibers from the brush roll regularly. Also, change bags before they’re totally full. If you hear or feel anything unusual, consider taking it to a repair shop before it becomes a major issue.

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