About a month ago, I came across an article about how repairing broken items not only supports sustainability, but also empowers people, providing a psychological boost in these troubled times. (You can read the article here if you’re interested. It seems mostly to be a promotional piece on Kyle Wiens, who has an online repair community called iFixit.)
The vacuum handle release pedal holds the tubular wand in an upright position when locked. To unlock the wand, you step on the release pedal, and you can then lower the wand at an angle for use. It’s useful in that when you stand the wand up, it doesn’t just flop to the floor.
The locking part of our vacuum handle release pedal had broken off. That’s the tongue-like part in the middle.
It would seem to be a simple matter to replace this release pedal. You just get a new part and install it. Voila! Sustainable! Empowering!
Because this is an old Kenmore, the best source for this part was Sears. I went to searspartsdirect.com and with some help from chat support, found the part. I decided just to get it from Sears because it was hard to find elsewhere and wasn’t significantly cheaper. The photo of the new part up at the top is from the Sears site, and you can find this same photo all over, complete with the dent in the paper to the left.
I was told that this part came with instructions. It did not.
Evidently this release pedal fits many different Kenmore vacuums, but replacing it is easier on some than on others. In my case, it was difficult. The broken part could not be removed easily. It was necessary to take apart the Power Mate to have enough space to lift the broken part off and put the new part on.
Kyle Wiens, the repair advocate, says, “Once you remove the first screw and you start, you’re gonna succeed.” I love optimists, don’t you? So cheery!
I have dismantled the Power Mate in the past, fortunately—but I soon found I had to boldly go beyond my experience. Let the photos begin!
The photos immediately below show the steps just to get inside the red housing of the Power Mate. The cover unscrews and unclips from the base. (Click each photo to see a caption.)
Once inside, I had to unscrew and unclip the wand connector and small motor to allow the wand connector to be raised enough to remove the broken part.
Finally! I could pry that broken pedal out and clip the new part in place.
Not done quite yet. Reassembly needed. Fortunately I had kept things organized and taken photos.
This turned out well in the end, but it wasn’t any ten-minute repair. I spent a lot of time, and I had gotten to the point where I began to feel the minutes of my only life slipping away . . . just to have a working vacuum . . .
My repair was cheaper than having a technician attempt it, and also cheaper than purchasing a new vacuum. Is that the point? I wonder. I don’t know that I changed the world, but who knows. I suppose it was a tiny victory in modern life.