Once such item is my monster Bissell carpet cleaner. With our Nevada snowy winters, decomposed granite (DG) dirt that cheerfully sticks in the tread of your shoes until you come inside and our various animals, this thing isn't a luxury item, it's a damned necessity.
I call mine the Big Beast.
I got it at the same time we bought the house 6 years ago once I saw the state of the carpets here. Based on the amount of dog hair and DG the Big Beast has pulled up out of the carpet I strongly suspect the previous tenants had simply left the window of the master bedroom open and allowed several large dogs to come and go through it as they willed, year round.
By the way, the Bissell 'Pet Urine Remover' solution in fact, looks suspiciously like...well...
The Big Beast has served me faithfully ever since. This thing could pull Satan himself up from Hell through my carpet, it's that strong. When you turn it on you have to warn anyone else in the house that you are about to do so because this thing is mind-rattlingly LOUD. Using it gives you such a 'RAWR!' feeling that you know what Ripley must have felt when she climbed into that Cat Power Loader and battled the Alien Queen. I may have actually blown kisses at it when I do my Spring cleaning after Chickam is through and my house is a wreck. I love it.
When it works.
When it does NOT, it never fails that the thrice-accursed thing fails spectacularly, vomiting several gallons of filthy water all over my carpet or even more fun, haha, laying down scads of soapy water and then refusing to suck it back up.
And does it do this right at the outset, you ask?
Of course it bloody doesn't. It's sneaky. It waits until it's lulled you into a false sense of security and you're halfway through your whole-house cleaning job. When you've put in your earbuds and turned on your music player so you don't have to endure it's loud, throaty roar as it's foaming maw attacks your carpets. When you've fallen into the mindlessness of carpet cleaning.
Then you realize--I haven't had to empty the dirty water receptacle yet. And I should have had to empty it at least twice by now, shouldn't I...? Because that's the other fun thing about using the Big Beast--you use it so seldom that it's easy to forget the finer points.
I long ago learned the operate the Big Beast barefoot in order to make sure that 1. It's putting down soapy water and 2. That it's picking it back up again. I know by know that the carpet should have a certain degree of wetness after I've used the cleaner on it and no more.
I check with my feet. The carpet squelches, it's too wet.
Damn, damn, DAMN. I unload the two water containers--no fool I, I'm not gotta tip this thing upside down with them in place and spill them, I learn. I tip the thing over and no surprise, it's loaded to the gills with dirt and dog hair--some of it from our dog over the winter, but a lot of it still from the previous tenant's dogs, which are the gift that keeps on giving even 6 years later. Armed with several tools I pulls clots of gunk out of the machine, and the levels of nastiness they have attained are stunning.
It's clean again, huzzah. Now it should work.
Nope, the rollers won't turn. Huh. it must be that when the rollers don't turn it won't suck up water.
OK, I go in again and see that hair has lined the rollers where one of the belts goes and is obviously keeping the roller from turning. I spend another cheery half hour muttering bad language, throttling back my disgust and carefully cleaning out the hair...and try it again.
It should work.
Nope...the rollers still won't turn.
Wrestle it over on it's back again like the 600 pound Gallapagos turtle that it is and check. Oh joy, one of the belts is broken.
Who wants to bet if I can find a new belt in our small town! Anyone...?
Bingo, Amazon it is. Two days later I have my belts. Belts, I say, because I've lived with me long enough by now to know that if I only get ONE of the one that is broken either the OTHER belt will break or the new belt will snap going on. So I cut to the chase and buy two of each belt, thus ensuring that I will NEVER have to change a belt on the Big Beast again.
New belt goes on. Rollers turn. Huzzah again, this should fix the problem.
Nope. It still won't suck up that damned water.
It has more than one problem at once, I now know. Time to bust out the $2 cuss words.
By now I'm grimly stomping through the house armed with several screwdrivers, covered head to toe in disgusting dirty water and sick to death of wrestling the Big Beast. I've gone through the 6 stages of Carpet Cleaning: Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I've seriously considering stabbing it to death with the screwdrivers I've used to take off the covers again and again, aiming for wherever the word 'easy' appears on the stupid labels. I've begged the Carpet Gods to just make it work for this last 6 foot square section so I can be done. I've threatened the thing with death by backing my '69 Plymouth over it. I've been mucking about with this hellbeast for almost 5 days now. Nothing has worked.
The Big Beast has spent most of it's time in this state:
Husband and I stare at Big Beast wondering what it wants. I wouldn't put human sacrifice beyond it at this point. Then I see it.
"Wait--" I say. "What is that?! That wasn't there before was it?"
Husband says he has no idea. I suspect the thing is spontaneously generating weird new parts just to gaslight me. Nevertheless, since it claims to be a filter we fuss the thing open and clean it (it wasn't dirty but we do it anyway because we are firmly in the 'bargaining' stage). That'll fix it!
Also, the rollers have stopped turning again.
"FIRE UP THE PLYMOUTH!" I roar at my husband. I'm backing over this SOB right now and I'll bet I can sell tickets to other homeowners at this point. I'm so exhausted and permanently filthy I'm feeling positively maniacal and I swear I'm foaming at the mouth. Don't get it on the carpet, I remind myself.
Instead I take a deep breath and turn to the Internet, making sure to use the proper search parameters..
I watch several official Bissell videos for 'loss of suction'. All say the same thing and address Dumbshit 101 areas such as: make sure the tanks are seated properly, make sure it's plugged in, etc. Because by the time you resort to the Internet you haven't checked those things already 900 times, haha. All the videos offer to sell you new, expensive replacement parts. More really bad language is directed at the makers of the videos.
Finally, finally...I run across a little post in an out-of-the-way forum where someone mentions the little trap door in the uptake tank...it has a filter screen behind it that can become clogged.
Away I fly to the kitchen where I've got the Big Beast apart to check...
HALLELUJAH BROTHERS, THERE'S THE PROBLEM. I swear if the person who posted that was standing before me I'd kiss them square on the mouth. The thing is gunked up. I clean it and discover, printed on the inside of the flap door, a message to clean this area regularly--printed inside the flap so that you cannot see it when the flap is closed.
Imps and demons of Hell are loudly and vocally directed at whoever designed this particular aspect of Big Beast. More abuse is heaped upon the heads of the makers of Bissell videos that never mention this little hidden filter screen.
I take the thing out to the living room to show it to my husband, shaking the thing under his nose and griping loudly the entire time. "Look at this! Why would they print that where you can't see it?!"
He doesn't know, but he does know he doesn't want me to hold it over him and let it drip on him. One filthy human at a time, please. I run off cackling with glee at the prospect of someday NOT being entrapped in the eternal chore of carpet cleaning like Prometheus having his liver pecked out by eagles for all time.
I replace all the parts to the Big Beast, mutter a serious threat at the carpet cleaning gods and flip the switch.
WE HAVE ROLLERS TURNING AND SUCTION!
I'm past crying for joy, I'm up to growling, "Damn well BETTER, too!"
Now, of course, I have to start all over from the beginning because my carpets are laden with soap.