Friday, April 8, 2011

Fixing Melanie's H2O Steam Mop

Project:
So I've always wanted to take apart my wife's H20 steam mop to see how it all works. NOT. But, I've been informed that it is on its way out and I just could not have that. Paying $100 bucks for something useful is one thing, but paying another $100 bucks for the same thing a year or two later just didn't sit right with me. So out to my shop I went to see what was going on with that mop. I took the whole thing apart and was amazed by its simplicity.

Reason for Project:
Melanie told me that there was hardly any steam coming out and that it would leave streaks on the floor. I had noticed over the last few months that the pump seemed to jug pretty hard and I wasn't sure whether the pump was actually getting worn out or if the pipes were somehow clogged.

How it works:
Water flows from the main reservoir (1) into the filter (2) through a semi-permeable plastic "port" (3). The water then flows through foam filters (4), through a mini water softener (5), then through some more foam filters (4). After that, the water flows through the pump (6), then then through the heating element (7) into the base of the mop (8). The pump is activated by a trigger on the handle (9) that pushes a switch (10) and that's how it works.

Here's a general overview of the mop with the reservoir (1), the filter (2) and the base (8)

This is the water filter between the reservoir and the pump with the semi-permeable inlet (3), the foam filter (4) and the compartment for the mini-water softener (5)

Here's a close-up of the filter element with the foam filter (4) and the mini-water softener (5)

Inside of the mop with the switch (10), the pump (6) and the heating element (7)

Inside of the mop with the pump (6), heating element (7) and the base (8)

Bottom of mop with heating element (7) and base (8)

Diagnosis:
The reason the mop stopped working was that the minerals of the water had clogged up the semi-permeable "port" (3) and would not let any water flow into the filter.

Fix:
Since the filter element was plastic-welded together I had to cut it in half with a small coping saw and clean out the foam filters as well as the little water softener beads (more on water softeners in the "additional resources" section), put them all back together and use 24hr epoxy glue to glue the two compartments back together. I took a zip-lock bag, mixed the epoxy glue together inside of the bag and cut the corner off so I had an accurate way of squeezing the glue out onto the area to be glued.

Tools:
Coping saw



Materials:
Epoxy glue, zip loc bag

Although it takes 24hrs to cure, it is much stronger because of its flexibility to hold the two parts of the filter element together.

Additional Resources:
A good in-depth description of how water softeners work can be found at the following link: How Water Softeners Work

Update:
I just couldn't wait the full 24 hours to test the mop so I plugged it in tonight and it just didn't seem to work right. I was kinda disappointed but stubborn as I am (and Melanie would gladly attest to that), I tried to figure out why it didn't work. Well, I discovered that the filter compartment I epoxied up had a small hole in it so the pump couldn't create the vacuum needed to suck the water through the heater and out at the bottom. After another bead of epoxy (I used the 5 minute stuff this time) I plugged her in and she worked like a charm.

Cost:
$0.00

Time:
1.5 hours

Savings:
$100.57

Conclusion:
Success

15 comments:

Miss Murried said...

. . . I guess the only question left to ask is: So, is it fixed? :) I loved the detailed illustration! Totally my style, and perfect communication, but I bet Mel was just as happy with, "It works!" ;) You guys rock!

Crystal said...

hey

Great blog chris! Looking to live variously through you and your shop!!! for at least for now...... lol

shawn

Chris Eigenheer said...

yeah, wouldn't it be funny if it just didn't work at all! I have to let the epoxy set until tomorrow after church and will post an update.

Miss Murried said...

I was going to say, my guess is that the problem is caused by the "sawdust" in the unit seen in picture 3. :P

Sarah said...

Chris, think about all the steam mopping you can do now.
SO, next time will you just de-scale it with some vinegar???

Chris Eigenheer said...

@Sarah: Yes, descaling is a must from now on; I have informed Melanie of the new semi-annual requirement :)

Anonymous said...

What type of screwdriver did you use to take apart the body of the H2O mop?

Anonymous said...

Thank you. This is most helpful. My mop isn't working I am going to try this.

Anonymous said...

thanks. very helpful

simon whittle said...

Would there be any point in running de scaler through one of these before it packs up? Or will that screw the softener etc?

Thanks. Simon UK

mel said...

@simon whittle: yes, that's what I actually did. I didn't have any descaler so i just used some white vinegar and water

Unknown said...

I have another problem, my mop is nearly as yours, the parts are almost identical, but my problem is that the pump gave up working. Where could i find another pump to change it?

Chris Eigenheer said...

@unknown. it's hard to answer without knowing more details on your model. let me know what you got and i'll see what i can do.

Unknown said...

Chris
Just saw this on line. Having the same problem with the filter and unfortunately they're not available anywhere. Did you replace whatever is inside the filter ? If so what did you replace it with.
Thanks

Chris Eigenheer said...

@unknown, i just took it apart and cleaned it and then glued it back together. i did end up finding a replacement cartridge and bought two of them. one i'm using and i still have a spare. i'll sell it to you for cost (I think i paid $10 bucks for it) if you want (plus shipping). email me at eigenheerc at hot mail dot com if you're interested

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