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5051 of 5082 found the following review helpful:
Very good machine Dec 01, 2005
If your new machine LEAKS, see note #2 below. I am just amazed at how many people write that their machine leaked from day one, and they returned it. It will leak if you skip a crucial one-time set-up step.
Paid $170 at Best Buy. This is my first carpet cleaner so I have nothing to compare it to except my own expectations. Even though the name is SteamVac, like all the others in this class of cleaners, there is no Steam to it. That's just false marketing, but all the manufacturers do it, so no particular knock on Hoover.
First, let me say I'm ashamed to admit that our carpet hadn't been cleaned in 4 years, and that we live in the country where lots of dirt gets tracked in from outside. So the carpet was pretty darn dirty. The Hoover F5914-900 did a very nice job the first time I used it - a drastically noticeable difference in the appearance of the carpet. The water in the dirty water receptacle was black. Did it return the carpet to new condition? No, impossible. Did it take another treatment or two to really get it clean? Yes, that is the price I pay for ignoring wet-cleaning the carpet for years. One of this cleaner's best features is the ability to dry the carpet quite thoroughly. Since the front of the machine is made of clear plastic, you can see when you're vacuuming up water. If you want to dry the carpet as much as possible, keep vacuuming until you no longer see water being pulled up. As time has passed, the SteamVac has done an excellent job of maintaining my carpets.
My only gripe is that the dirty water container fills up too quickly and should be a little bigger. Ideally, the dirty water receptacle "should" be full right as you run out of clean water. Then, you shut down, empty the dirty water, refill the clean water and back to work. But this process gets out-of-sync with the dirty water receptacle filling up before you run out of clean water. So this can be a little inconvenient, but not a show-stopper.
The machine is well constructed but it IS plastic, with lots of compartments and latches and hose holders, etc, so one must simply be careful or those things will no doubt break off.
A few other notes:
1. If you are not the type to read manuals, do read this one. Assembly and operation are easy if you sit down and read the manual through before starting. It's not like a vacuum cleaner where you just plug it in and go.
2. My machine leaked badly BUT it was my own fault. There is a one-time only setup procedure where you squeeze the trigger and push the Clean-Surge button to lock a rod into place. Push the Clean-Surge button firmly. There may be a loud SNAP which sounds like you broke something, but you didn't. Until you get that snap, the Clean-Surge (which releases extra water-cleaner solution) is on all the time, hence the leaking. I didn't push the button hard enough initially, so I had the leak problem.
EDIT December 2007
Apparently many people are assuming that without a loud snap, the Clean Surge will not work. All that matters is that your machine doesn't leak. If your SteamVac doesn't leak, it is assembled properly and the Clean Surge will work!!! The only reason I emphasized the "snap" was because so many people were having leak problems, which are easily solved. And it's possible that Hoover has changed the design after getting so many returns from people who didn't read the instructions in the manual. So don't get hung up on the snap. If your machine does leak after assembly, you know what to do.
3. ANY time it seems like there is no suction, the problem is that something is not seated properly. It is easy to snap the lid onto the dirty water container without lining it up properly, which causes a vacuum leak. If there is a vacuum leak, there is no suction at the bottom of the machine, where it is needed to suck up water from the carpet. Plus you'll see that the brushes aren't turning, as they're driven by vacuum. So recheck the dirty water lid. Carefully line up the hinges at the back. The front should snap closed very easily. If you have to force it a little to snap it closed, it means the back is not aligned properly and you'll get no suction.
4. If you have velvet or velvetine furniture, do NOT use the powered tool, use the utility tool. The powered tool is too strong for delicate fabric.
5. Like others have suggested, find a cheap alternative to the Hoover brand carpet detergent. One gallon of water doesn't clean a lot of carpet, and at 5 oz of soap per gallon, you go thru it fast.
6. Always be sure to dry vacuum your carpet with a regular vacuum cleaner first before using this machine to wash it. Be sure to remove and clean the brushes when you're done using this machine. Otherwise hair, thread, and balled up carpet fibers will dry on them and between them. Then the brushes won't turn. These are not "use and put away" machines like vacuum cleaners, they're "use, clean, and put away".
7. Here's something I do which you *might* want to try. For a very dirty carpet, I fill a cheap plastic 2 gallon watering can (or smaller for a smaller carpet) with hot water and a tablespoon or 2 of Oxy Clean. I then sprinkle the carpet heavily, being careful not to soak it. Then use the Hoover normally. Of course, this fills up the waste water receptacle long before the soapy water container is empty, but it still saves trips to the sink to load up on clean, soapy water.
8. Others have suggested using boiling water. Not for me, thanks. Too dangerous to handle and unnecessary, unless you've spilled or tracked in grease.
After reading countless reviews here, I have concluded that the problems people have encountered are from failing to properly set up the machine initially, failing to seat the dirty water lid properly, or failing to clean the machine after use. I recommend this Hoover. It won't perform miracles, but I think if it is not abused it will last a long time and do an excellent job of maintaining a carpet.
587 of 593 found the following review helpful:
Slower than the pro machines, but cleans just as well Aug 08, 2006
By Henry Perkins
The Hoover F5914-900 SteamVac with Clean Surge works astonishingly well for a consumer carpet cleaner. There are some limitations and some gotchas; I'll tell you about both.
There's a 2-page "Quick Assembly Guide" and a 40-page manual. If you want your assembly guide with pictures and few words you'll like the QAG. If you prefer verbal instructions, turn to pages 4-6 of the manual; I wish I'd started there first. (It takes me longer to figure out "Store Hose" with four illustrations showing a hand in various steps of the process than to understand the eight sentences that accomplish the same instruction.)
There's no heater in the "SteamVac", so make your gallon of water VERY hot for best cleaning. And prepare your carpet for cleaning before filling the tank with these two steps: (1) vacuum thoroughly; and (2) pre-treat heavily soiled or grease-stained areas. The vacuum in the SteamVac is designed to suck up water (which it does very well), but will only pick up the tiniest bits of solid crud. Hoover recommends buying their PreCleaner, but you can make your own for a lot less money. Just mix 10 parts sudsy ammonia to 1 part Simple Green in a spray bottle. Hit the stains with your spray, and work in with your fingers or a clean cloth.
When cleaning you'll need to go over the carpet quite slowly to clean it well. This is the one area where the Hoover SteamVac is down a peg compared to the pro cleaners. Make two passes (one forward, one back) holding the trigger down; this is what squirts your hot detergent mix into the carpet. Then make two passes without using the trigger to suck up the bulk of the water. I found it really helps to clean your carpets barefoot. Because the "dry" pass greatly cools the carpet while it sucks up the water, it'll be easy to tell with your bare feet if you step on a warm, wet patch that you didn't dry yet. There's also a thumb button -- the "Clean Surge" -- which squirts the hot detergent mix more vigorously than the trigger does. Hold this down while making repeated passes over the really dirty parts of your carpet, then do your dry passes. The machine changes its pitch quite noticeably when the dirty water reservoir fills up, so you don't have to wonder about that; just pop it out, dump the yucky water in the sink, and make sure to clean the carpet fuzz off the fibrous filter.
You use 5 ounces of Hoover's detergent to 1 gallon of water, and I found this was barely adequate for a medium-sized room. You get a 16 ounce bottle with the SteamVac. The manual says not to use other carpet detergents, as they sudse up too much. Amazon sells Hoover's gallon size, which is handy if you want to clean your carpets regularly -- it IS the best way to maintain them.
There are other carpet cleaners, both from Hoover and its competitors. But THIS is the one you want.
830 of 857 found the following review helpful:
Great cleaning Aug 17, 2003
The F5914 really cleans carpets well. On my worst carpet area, the cleaner did as well as a commercial carpet cleaner. I recommend the following to make it a successful cleaning:
1) I supplement the hot water with some boiling water to really get the temperature up. By the time the water hits the spray nozzle, it has really cooled off so make it hotter. Bissell uses a heater, but it can't be that powerful without reducing motor power. Best to supplement.
2) Patience. Go slow and go over really bad areas. You will HAVE to pretreat and hand wash heavy stains, but so do the pros. Don't expect a diamond out of coal. You still have to do the work.
3) Clean often. I have one carpet that I waited way too long and it just won't come clean. The pros can't and I can't. BIG lesson learned there.
Have fun with this. I can't believe how much dirt there was in my "clean" areas, so it will be great to have this around to clean when I desire to. I saved more than the price of the cleaner this weekend.
338 of 349 found the following review helpful:
Hoover and Bissell side by side comparison Apr 16, 2006
I have been generally happy with my last two Hoover carpet cleaners and they have been durable for me. I used both TONS -- the 1st one was a very early model that was still going strong after 5 or 6 years of hard use, and I replaced it with one that had rotating brushes. It also got years of use but I accidentally damaged it thru my negligence. (Used it in an unheated cabin, left it overnight, and it got well below freezing - I broke the spray trigger when I impatiently tried to use it.) My last one still worked if you pushed the surge button and then pried it up again, but I decided to get a new one.
I purchased this model, but it leaked before even starting to use it, so I returned it and bought a Bissell Proheat 2x. I liked that it seemed easier to clean the machine than the Hoovers, and that it had a rinse option, although not conveniently located. I noticed immediately with first use that it wasn't as good as even my old (trigger broken) Hoover. The Bissell didn't extract water well at all, even though I went over and over an area trying to get the water up. It was obvious by looking that it also didn't clean as well (probably as a result of leaving dirty water still in the carpets.) If it'd been my first carpet cleaner I might have thought it great since it did get dirt out, but I knew they didn't look as clean as in the past and mostly they were WET. The next day, before returning it I bought ANOTHER Hoover 914-900 thinking the first leaky one was an anomaly. The 2nd one leaked initially also, but once I used it for a minute, pressed and released the trigger a few times and the seals got wet, it stopped leaking. Thus I had two new cleaners to try side-by-side. Where I used the Bissell after the Hoover, there was no difference, the Bissell didn't get the carpet any cleaner. Where I used the Hoover on where I'd cleaned with the Bissell the night before -- a BIG difference. The carpet was visibly cleaner; (it's a very light carpet so it's easy to see that) the dirty water collected confirms that it picked up dirt the Bissell left behind; and the carpet was drier. This was a return to what I expected based on my last 2 Hoovers -- damp carpet, not WET carpet, and I think it's why the Hoover cleaned better. The Hoover isn't perfect -- the tanks need to be bigger for fewer trips to the sink (if too heavy for some people, they wouldn't have to fill as full), and there is no good way to clean it! I did like the idea behind the Bissell of having clean water with which to either mix with the detergent and spray, or to rinse with, and it would be a plus if Hoover would find a way to do that. (Especially if the "rinse" button was on the handle and easily accessible.) But Bissell's technique of inserting a plastic bladder for clean water inside the dirty water tank means neither holds much water which makes for extremely frequent trips to the sink. Also, having to stop, bend over, and switch a dial on the base to "rinse" and the same to switch back to cleaning mode was highly inconvenient. Last, Bissell's on-board water heater didn't seem to make a difference. Leaving behind too much dirty water was its downfall, it didn't matter that the water went in "heated." I used the hottest tap water I could in the Hoover and it worked just fine. The "proheat" seems to me to be just another unneeded gizmo that can break. Overall, I guess it depends on what's most important to you. For me, clean carpets that dry in a couple of hours trumped ease of cleaning the machine.
454 of 471 found the following review helpful:
Cleans like a pro Sep 08, 2003
I'm very pleased with the Hoover F5914-900 Steam Vac. This is my first home steam cleaner. I delayed purchasing one because I never thought a home cleaner could do as good of a job as the pros. But this Hoover made me a believer. I used it to clean up pet stains and the smell and stains are long gone. The suction and scrubbing are an A+.
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