Thread Number: 36100  /  Tag: 80s/90s Vacuum Cleaners
The most abused (commercial) vacuum?
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Post# 387104   3/3/2018 at 16:45 (205 days old) by oldskoolguy (Chicago, Illinois)        

So I went to work today to clean my mother's office suite, and as I went into the kitchen in the building to enjoy my lunch, I saw this blue Sanitaire sitting around. I was going to borrow it to clean the hallway as the janitor was off today, but what I found shocked me: dull hood, a belt that desperately needed replacement (minor), rusty metal parts, a motor that seems to jam at some point when the fan moves, a filthy and packed outer bag due to an exploded F&G bag, no furniture guard, and a non OEM replacement cord that didn't have a strain relief. I can't even tell what model it was, the manufafcturer's sticker was partly unreadiable since the bottom was so dirty. I could make out S 6 5, but the last number was hard to make out, I couldn't tell if it was a 0, 6, or 8. I know Sanitaires and similar machines (think Hoover Convertible, Eureka, etc) are pretty durable, but this is just horrible. I'm not even sure it should get fixed it's that bad! I think this could be the the most abused vacuum out there! It amazes me how plenty of vacuums in a commercial vacuums have issues that tend to go unaddressed.

Post# 387105 , Reply# 1   3/3/2018 at 16:57 (205 days old) by Toddk13 (Milwaukee, WI)        
You want to talk about abused?

Sanitaire that I just pitched at work. Was used in a shop to pick up steel shavings from walk in mats for quite a few years. Sat in a closet for years. Shake out bag was hopelessly stuck and not coming off. Bottom third of the bag contained a big chunk of metal. Debated saving it. Just too much work.

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Post# 387127 , Reply# 2   3/3/2018 at 18:45 (205 days old) by kirby519 (Wisconsin)        

Vacuums in commercial use get used hard. They are a piece of equipment and not thought of as a collectable prized possession. I have seen much worse at work. I used to be the one repairing or just replacing them.

One group I had thought they needed new vacuums. Which in fact they did. How ever I wouldn't approve any new machines until they learned basic care for the ones they had. When you have to replace plug ends weekly on them and there is an inch of dust on the hood of the vacuum. Broken fans every few days. You know it isn't from daily use but improper use and or basic care.

The boss thought he was going to strong arm me on it. I told him if he tried to back door me on this. The first time one of the new vacuums was found in this condition or broken he would find it in his bed with the filthiest end resting on his pillow. (I had keys for the house at the time.) Funny how fast that group learned how to give basic care to a vacuum.

Post# 387130 , Reply# 3   3/3/2018 at 19:06 (205 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture

No kidding... I have seen many a Royal commercial metal upright whose cords were abused in the form of the grounding prong being missing from the male plug, meaning no protection from an electrical shock.

And not just that, but one of the two machines in question that my grade school had (this one of course having the missing grounding prong from the male plug!) there was no disposable bag in it, so it was very dusty inside!


Post# 387132 , Reply# 4   3/3/2018 at 19:26 (205 days old) by Hank (Cali)        

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People beat the hell out of things that aren't theirs all the time or just flat out don't care or never crosses their mind. It's sad but its like the rental car mentality.

I have worked Civilian contracts for the US military the past 10 years in aviation maintenance. I've seen first hand people damage and destroy pieces of equipment (Navy Sailors, not us Civilians) such as Zambonies which were shared by everyone in the hangar to clean the floors (were constantly needing service due to neglect and ignorance), aircraft tugs which sailors shifting from D to R or vice versa in them, these were heavy duty transmissions meant to handle 10,000lbs in weight and they routinely broke them.

I was told all the time by the navy guys who worked on their GSE equipment and checked the stuff out to everyone that they were never worried about getting something busted to hell back from a civilian. We'd lose our jobs if that happened. The other part is people who break stuff are never held accountable, add that into the I don't care mentality and you are guaranteed to spend money needlessly.

Here is a vid of me driving one of the tugs I'm talking about (they are bad ass machines!)

Post# 387143 , Reply# 5   3/3/2018 at 20:40 (205 days old) by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

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The vacuums are paid for by the company and are meant to be used until they break, and then are replaced with the same model. The business has to be cleaned daily so they can't wait around for parts to come in or a week for the vacuum to be repaired.

The people that work at these businesses are janitors - not collectors. They could care less. The vacuums become battle-scarred because they are used every day and accidents and incidents happen.

This is why when you look at government auctions you see several dozen of the same model vacuums in a lot.

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Post# 387150 , Reply# 6   3/3/2018 at 21:14 (205 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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That also explains why some of these businesses order large quantities of the appropriate replacement parts such as armatures, impeller fans, wheels and the like.


Post# 387153 , Reply# 7   3/3/2018 at 21:25 (205 days old) by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        
@ KirbyClassicIII

huskyvacs's profile picture
I noticed this more in schools. There was a local auction here of school vacuums, and it came with an entire parts bin rack (wooden) full of wheels and bag clips and fans and who knows what else. It was also Sanitares I think.

Post# 387166 , Reply# 8   3/4/2018 at 00:33 (205 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Two examples of abused commercial vacuums-Both brought into the former Vacuum Cleaner Hospital place-A CarpetPro that was used to pick up a WHOLE hamburger off the floor.another-Sanitaire-another restaurant vacuum-that was used to pick up a MOUSE--half was in the STINKY bag-other half stuck in the fancase.This one was returned unrepaired-don't blame Bill on this.The vac place I go to doesn't work on too many commercial machines.TOO NASTY for him.
Liked the shots of the airport tug!Appears to be a fun vehicle to drive!

Post# 387175 , Reply# 9   3/4/2018 at 08:07 (204 days old) by bikerray (Middle Earth)        

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There is a gymnastics place that uses Kirbys and Royals to suck up all the rosin. They bring them in covered in white powder that is almost impossible to get off, the bearings in the roller brush are grinding from the rosin. You touch the vacuums and you get this rosin on you as well, when you turn them on there is a white cloud coming from the bag. It's just a mess.

Post# 387199 , Reply# 10   3/4/2018 at 14:07 (204 days old) by kirby519 (Wisconsin)        

Being that Military people are just civilians dressed in a uniform and the fact that government entities don't really take finances as a genuine concern. It is still amazing to think that with all the training, discipline and military pride that these people would take pride and reasonable care of equipment they depend on every day. Guess they are like the rest of us. Don't have to care unless they want to.


The grounding plug missing is just small potatoes so to speak. I'm talking the entire plug being yanked off the cord. Be it the original molded plug or a replacement plug end.

Yes we do tend to by in "bulk" so to speak. It is about the only way to keep up with the demand these days. And yes we do often do our own repairs as well. Far to costly to send a $189.00 to $500.00 vacuum out for a plug end/cord, new fan or brush strips to keep the machine in use. And the costs just for that add up fast.

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