Thread Number: 44338  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
Bissell ProHeat Series (Early to Mid-2000s)
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Post# 461483   3/19/2023 at 17:31 by niclonnic (Bonney Lake, WA)        

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I'd like to discuss a line of carpet cleaners that I've always been fascinated by: the Bissell ProHeat, specifically the ones produced from the early to mid-2000s.

They were primarily made out of glossy black plastic (other colors were available), and have a hood design that I always thought resembled Darth Vader from Star Wars.

As the name implied, the big selling point was a built-in heater that made the water up to 25 degrees hotter for more effective deep cleaning. They utilized a 2-in-1 "Tank-in-Tank" where the clean water went into a vinyl "bladder," whereas the recovered dirty water collected around the bladder, so that the clean and dirty water would never mix. This was supplemented by a "SmartMix" system where the formula would be poured into a separate, smaller tank, and then the user would turn a dial to control how much solution would be mixed in with the clean water, depending on how soiled carpets were.

At the heart of the machine was a DirtLifter PowerBrush with either 5 or 6 rows of bristles, driven by a rubber "pump belt" along with a geared "brush belt." Replacing the pump belt added an additional cost of ownership to the machine.

These machines also had a built-in flex hose, accessible by simply turning a diverter dial at the base of the unit. The heater did not work through the hose, though. Attachments included a tough stain tool and a spraying crevice tool; higher-end models included a TurboBrush with an air-driven brush roll.

One interesting attachment was a "Scotchgard Applicator"; it consisted of a sprayer which attached to a bottle of 3M Scotchgard carpet protectant. The user could then spray Scotchgard directly into the carpet, similar to using a garden hose, for better protection against stains.

There also existed a bare floor tool for this machine, allowing it to clean most floors. However, the ProHeat could NOT be used on hardwood.

Bissell went a bit wild with adding novel features to this line of machines; there was a model with a "Perfect Pass" speedometer (ProHeat Pro-Tech) as well as a Self-Propelled machine.

Now for my own stories. Sometime around 2003, my dad and I were at either Lowe's or Home Depot; he almost bought a ProHeat, but then changed his mind at the last minute and walked out of the store, leaving the cart with the machine out in the open.

My grandma owned a ProHeat ClearView back then, but I never actually saw her using it. One time, when I was 11, I was visiting her house, and used a screwdriver to take apart the machine at the brush roll area. I had previously watched a maintenance video (powered by Vendaria) on Bissell's website to learn how to do it. That brought me a step closer to learning vacuum maintenance. I also messed with the tanks and dials on the machine, although I never used it myself. One time, the belt access door had been removed (and presumably lost), and I saw that the pump belt had a bunch of cracks in it. The machine eventually broke after a few years of use, and she eventually tossed it in the trash.

I recently watched a YouTube video from VacLab, and discovered the ugly truth about the amperage: despite being labeled as 12 amps, it was actually split between the suction motor and the heater. So essentially, half of the machine's power is being used to simply heat the water, resulting in a weaker suction motor.

To those who have owned any of these machines, what were your experiences with them like?

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Post# 461489 , Reply# 1   3/19/2023 at 18:21 by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
Bissell Pro Heat

I've got three and they are all sitting in the shed. All three given to me, and I only got to use them maybe twice before the pump quit working. I was told that this was intended to happen by Bissell all along. It's too bad and what a waste of materials and tech.

When new they really worked well. A pull of the trigger and you got real steam into the carpet for good cleaning. I liked everything about the machine otherwise. I may try replacing the pump in one of them and see if I can squeeze more mileage from the new part by flushing the machine out after every use.

Meanwhile, my almost 20 yr. old Hoover Spin Scrub keeps chugging away!

Post# 461499 , Reply# 2   3/20/2023 at 04:47 by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

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I have the 2016 model of the ProHeat Pet. Very good shampooer and it works great. Had it 7 years now, no problems with it.

The 2016 model is likely a duplicate of the older models, but you heat the water BEFORE you start shampooing, not as you are shampooing. It is two separate switches. So you are not losing any power. It is not an instant water heater nor does it have that capacity to perform such a task. It is a simple rod element inside the tank that heats the water. This can also calcify over time with water deposits and will need to be removed and cleaned to improve efficiency (only distilled water should be used).

Post# 461528 , Reply# 3   3/20/2023 at 17:22 by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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Even though these machines were very nostalgic to me, they were definitely problematic. Pumps failing, brushrolls seizing up, leaking waters, etc. If taken care of properly or not used very often, they lasted longer. Overall, I don't think they were bad cleaners because I've seen them do a fairly good job. But if I had to use one of those cleaners, I'd prefer the PowerSteamers without the ProHeat feature. It's just one less thing to break. However, I like my ProHeat 2X better.

Post# 461554 , Reply# 4   3/21/2023 at 03:35 by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

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Well if you look at those same people that complain of failures you will find their shampooers look like they tried to clean a cow stall with it. They are not taken care of at all.

And I never noticed that much of a difference with the proheat or without. I just used hot tap water and then used the proheat and left it sit for a little bit. It was warm to walk on but that was about it.

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Post# 461570 , Reply# 5   3/21/2023 at 13:23 by niclonnic (Bonney Lake, WA)        

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I forgot to mention in my OP that before cleaning, you do have to turn the machine on and let it sit for a minute or two for the heater to warm up. Although the heater switch is labeled "heater" on the machine, the manual refers to it as the "SmartTemp Switch," which I thought was a bit odd. In addition, when the heater is running, the suction motor slightly fluctuates in tone during use. I know this because I have a 2012 model of the Lift-Off Deep Cleaner, which has a heater that only runs when the machine is in upright mode; there is no switch to turn it off.

As for the dirty Tank-in-Tank, I've observed that pet hair and other gunk tends to build up around the bladder, so you have to reach into the outer parts of the bladder to pull all the hair out. I know this because Hoover made note of it in an infomercial for their MaxExtract carpet cleaners.

Speaking of Hoover, their machines claim to have "heated cleaning," but what that really means is the exhaust from the motor is shooting hot air directly onto the carpet, similar to a blow dryer.

Post# 461598 , Reply# 6   3/21/2023 at 20:49 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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I have 2 and had a older version about 10 years ago.
They work great on cleaning much better than any other budget carpet shampooers.

Post# 461631 , Reply# 7   3/22/2023 at 16:10 by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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Again , these machines lasted longer if they were treated properly but most consumers don't really take good care of them. But I like cleaners that can handle the abuse most consumers would do to them, I think these machines were very delicate. That's why Bissell never sold them for commercial use.

I do like my ProHeat 2X. But what I like better and I wished they were still being made today is the Dirt Devil Platinum Force. I find that it cleans as well as the ProHeat 2X but it is a better built machine for the same price as the Bissell. They even sold one for commercial use as the Royal Procision.

Post# 461684 , Reply# 8   3/23/2023 at 18:28 by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
It's always been

Hit or miss with Bissell products, my experience. Of the three Pro Heat 2X's I inherited, one I assembled out of the box for a friend. I cleaned her carpet with great results, cleaned and dried the machine,done deal. 2 months later she moved to N.Y.C. and gave me the cleaner.

I used it twice at home, same results. I was jazzed. Third time around no spray at all. Went on line after inspecting thoroughly and found out the pump used in these, at least my model year, were practically bogus. This was their little planned obsolescence part and it really did as designed.

It would be nice if there was an after market, improved replacement pump for these as I hate throwing these away. I didn't abuse these machines. It doesn't matter when something is designed to fail, you can baby these and extend the life but eventually they win you lose!

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