Monday, August 5, 2013

Fixing Things That Don't Suck - Vacuum Cleaner Repair

The funny thing about water...


I've had a Dyson DC25 multi-floor upright vacuum cleaner for nearly 5 years now and have been very happy with it. For 5 years I've diligently followed the manufacturer directions to wash the filters every 3 months. I've always left the filters to dry over 24 hours, as per manufacturer directions, before putting them back in the vacuum.

This vacuum, with no bags and washable filters, is optimal. The performance is great and there are no ongoing consumable costs. It's also a lot less money than some of the super high-end vacuums (think over $1000 Miele models)

Well, last time I washed the filters, and let them dry, there must have been some water trapped inside the orange cyclone assembly. I went to run the vacuum and it made a very unhappy sound and moisture poured out the bottom.

On the plus side, since it was a quality vacuum, it might actually be worth repairing it instead of replacing it. So many cheaper items are simply not worth fixing, this would hopefully be different.

"Waterlogged" Is A Strong Word

I rather sheepishly phoned Dyson technical support to find out what was to be done. Dyson marketing makes them seem more clever than other companies, and their tech support experience actually is. When you phone them, you have the option to leave your telephone number and be called back without losing your place in the queue. If you want to remain on the line, you have the option to do that as well. This simple idea, which I have never encountered at any other company, let's you avoid wasting any time on hold.

I got through to tech support, and explained what happened to the vacuum. The polite support person asked me to run the vacuum with the phone next to it so he could analyze the sound. We did so, and he said he recognized the sound and was able to determine it would need a new motor. How often can someone accurately diagnose a broken appliance by listening to it over the phone? What another great support experience, no wasted time visiting a repair shop before you can get a quote for the repair and a description of the issue.

The support person used the word waterlogged, which I thought was a strong - but accurate - description of the situation. I always think of logs floating down river with the word "Waterlogged", and at least I didn't drop the vac in a river.

The Damage From the Damage

I was quoted a $166 plus tax to repair the vacuum. Dyson was nice enough to mail me a box with prepaid shipping to send the vacuum to them. Within less than a week it had been repaired and sent back to me. For my $166 plus tax they did the following:
  1. Replaced motor
  2. Replaced both filters in the vacuum
  3. Replaced the hose
  4. Replaced the "end cap" on the dustbin
  5. Shipped it both ways
So I basically got most of the vacuum rebuilt for the $166 price. Buying replacement filters (albeit from Dyson) would have cost $57.98 alone. quotes the motor at $78.99, the hose at $49.99, the "bin base" (assuming I've got the right part) at $15.75. Vacuum-Direct has the filters at the lower price of $44.7 but that's USD.

So for comparison, total part cost from Vacuum-Direct is $189.43 USD ! and that doesn't include labour!

Excellent Repair Experience

While it was quite bone headed of me to not check every last crevice for moisture (it had always dried out in 24 hours before), on the plus side dealing with Dyson repair was a great experience the entire way through. With a superior phone system; polite, knowledgeable and efficient tech support personnel; shipping, both to and from their repair facility; and the rebuild of my vacuum, Dyson really impressed me.

I highly recommend Dyson, for the vacuum performance, and for the great repair experience I had.


  1. I think we are living in a 'throw away' society at the moment where people assume they have to replace the whole of an item if one part breaks. It is great to hear of someone not only saving money but also helping reduce waste by getting a repair rather than a replacement. Good for you!

    1. Thanks Rachel. I've very pleased how it turned out. Being in a "throw away" society actually makes sense most of the time. In general, it's probably more efficient for someone in China, as part of a large assembly line, that has economies of scale, to make a new item, rather than a single person in the West repair an individual unit. That said, this situation turned out great.