Question about Sharper Image SI570 Steam Wizard Handheld Wet/Dry Vacuum

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Need a replacement part

Need the stopper that holds the water in the reservoir

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  • Susan Messick Apr 22, 2013

    The stopper has a locked and unlocked position. I do not know what it looks like, exactly, because I don't have it. I bought the unit, and when I opened it, this piece was missing. Bought it several years ago and stored it.

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Cleaning solution will not dispense


This seems to be a very common problem with the FloorMate, and fortunately it seems to be about the only glaring problem with this otherwise fantastic machine. Worst-case scenario - you will need to merely buy a NEW solution tank for your FloorMate to fix this problem. Here's the mend, on the cheap.

First, do this since it's preventative maintenance that likely is long overdue anyway:
Unplug the machine and remove both reservoirs.
Release the handle as if you were about to use the machine and lay it all the way down. Do this on a counter top with the brush head over or near the sink, or alternately a kitchen table works fine too, just have plenty of towels or paper towels on hand to catch any liquid.
Push the nozzle release tabs outward and take the nozzle off of the machine.
Press the brush release buttons and remove it as well.
Use an old toothbrush and some dish detergent in the sink to clean all the parts as good as possible internally.
Flip the FloorMate over so the underside of the head is facing up. Check the tiny holes where the brush assembly goes, and verify there aren't any clogged [there shouldn't be since dirt never reaches this area]. That is where the solution dispenses from and is dispersed by the spinning brushes.
Reassemble the freshly rinsed brush assembly and nozzle into the head of the unit and close the nozzle latches.

Now, on to the problem at hand:
What I found was the problem with my FloorMate not dispensing any fluid was that the plunger inside the solution tank was pushed up too far into the body of that tank. It is a little black piece, about 2 inches long, is shaped like a pin, and should descend from that hole about one eighth of an inch or so. Since mine [and likely yours] is up in there too high [mine was flush with the bottom of that hole], when you put the tank back into the FloorMate, the post inside the drain hole in the FloorMate isn't sufficiently reaching your recessed plunger to push it up inside the tank which then would allow the cleaner to dispense.

To remedy this, I'll list what I think is the easiest remedy first, followed by how I did it by trial and error:

I recommend using a tartar scraper like the dentist uses, about $2 at Walmart in the toothpaste aisle.
What you're trying to accomplish is to pull the plunger down about an eighth of an inch, as it has slid up further inside the rubber stopper it's attached to than it should be. Don't use too much force when attempting this repair as you might pop the plunger out of the tank completely. If so, see the ALL IS NOT LOST! section further down.
Open the solution reservoir and empty it, and then reinsert the top cap in the event the parts come loose so they won't fall out and go down the drain or otherwise.
Turn the reservoir upside down.
Put the curved end of the tartar scraper into the small drain hole in this reservoir, hook it just above the black plus-sign shaped part of the plunger, and pull down slightly but not too much. You want the two little black plastic "wings" on the bottom of the plunger to extend below the bottom of the drain hole. If you use too much force when pulling, you'll likely dislodge the entire plunger from the rubber stopper and spring that are inside the reservoir. If this happens, ALL IS NOT LOST! :) Just use patience and good lighting, and keep your work area neat and dry, and see two paragraphs down.

TESTING
Once the plunger is now sticking out of the bottom of the reservoir on its own, fill it up with tap water and hold it upright over the sink. It should not be dripping, but a few drops is not a deal breaker either - this rubber stopper/plunger is to keep the tank from leaking/dripping/draining while you're refilling the tank and putting it back in the machine. A few drops coming out is harmless.
Use the tip of a finger and, holding the tank upright, push up on the plunger. Water should run freely. If so, stand the FloorMate in its locked upright position on the counter or kitchen table and reinsert the tank. If at the sink, put the edge of the brush head over the sink, or if you're at the table place a hand towel under the brushes. Pull the trigger and hold it, and you should see the flow continue uninterrupted until the tank is empty, about 3 minutes [the sink is obviously better, here].
If it emptied completely, your work is done. Pat yourself on the back and go clean your floor! :)
If not, take the tank out and try to pull the plunger down just a little bit further, but not beyond one quarter of an inch from the bottom of the drain hole. Keep doing this until you have satisfactory results.
Note that the solution should dispense SOMEWHAT evenly from the brushes while you're testing this - don't worry if it's running fast out of one or more brushes and only dripping from others. The spinning action of the brushes spreads the solution out evenly. What you want to watch for is that the flow continues uninterrupted until the tank is empty.

ALL IS NOT LOST!
Here's how I did this repair during my trial and error investigation:
I used needle-nosed pliers and reached down inside the top hole in the solution tank.
I squeezed the top of the black plunger pin slightly and pushed down until it came out of the bottom of the tank. What remained inside [now loose in the tank!] were the rubber stopper and the spring that sits atop that stopper. I shook them out of the tank and reinserted the spring into the same-size part of the stopper, dropped it into the tank and played a game of skill & chance until I got it back where it was supposed to be and then inserted my tartar scraper into the hole from the bottom, up through the center of the stopper and the spring assembly, and pulled the spring down slightly to get it all back where it needed to be. Challenging but it took less than two patient minutes to do this.
Now turn the tank upside down again and carefully reinsert the plunger into the stopper, but don't push too hard. Make sure you're pushing in a straight line as your goal is to go all the way through the center of the spring and back into the retaining hole above the spring.
Now that the plunger is back home, you'll see it's sticking out about one half of an inch from the bottom of the tank - entirely TOO much!
Using the blunt handle end of my tartar scraper, I pushed the plunger firmly back into place until it bottomed out, causing it to reseat with the rubber stopper. I had to do this about 5 times before only the two plastic "wings" were sticking out from the bottom of that hole. Be careful you don't slip and slice open an artery on you or someone nearby. Perhaps consider using a less-sharp tool for this step if you're not sure of yourself here. Once the plunger is where it should be, see the TESTING section above to make sure you're in the clear.

Since other's solutions posted for this problem are too vague and possibly suggests you modify your FloorMate unnecessarily which will likely lead to future and perhaps irreparable problems, and my solution is very wordy, I'm going to soon make a repair video and post it on YouTube and I'll link to it here in my solution so you can watch instead of read.

Good luck, be careful, and enjoy using your FloorMate once again. :) WHEEEEEEE!!!

Dan


Nov 21, 2007 | Hoover Floormate H3000 Upright Wet/Dry...

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