Friday, April 8, 2011

Fixing Melanie's H2O Steam Mop

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)

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.

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.

Coping saw

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

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.


1.5 hours




Shannon 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...


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


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.

Shannon 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

Unknown 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

Unknown 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.

Rick B said...

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.

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

Anonymous said...

Hi, my partner had our steam mop in the rubbish pile to throw out today and I thought I'd do a search online and found this thread which helped me fix it without any parts or sawing/gluing so I thought I'd contribute my experience.

Out mop was making the hum hum hum hum noise but nothing was coming out. The unit was heating up and the pump was working so this indicated there was an issue with the water flow.

I opened the unit up and it was surprising simple insided. I couldn't see any water flow through the clear connecting tubes. So I gave the pump a tap with the back of a screwdriver and I saw a little movement in one of the clear tubes. More taps and water started to inch it's way through until it cleared the blockage (which I presume was mineral build up) and the steam flow was stronger than I remember it. I'm assuming it was building up over time and restricting flow until it finally stopped... anyway I got it going and it's now back in the house.

I actually tapped the pump about 30-40 times in the end as I started softly but it needed some decent taps to dislodge all the build up and clear the way.

Inside the unit the water is all completely contained by connecting tubes so when you open it up you can still operate it safely. I still recommend exercising caution and using it on a protected circuit with circuit breakers.

This only took me about 15 mins to fix. I'm stoked :)

So if your pump is making that hum hum hum hum AND is heating up but nothing is coming out - my money is on this to fix it for you.

Good luck! :)

Unknown said...

Thank you; What type of screwdriver did you use?

Unknown said...

This is awesome!I'm following your instructions and working on my h2o mop right now. I got the filter open. How did you clean the beads?

Unknown said...

Omg! Thankyou so much! Following your blog here has guided me immensely!!! I finally got a green light and steam on my h20! Thankyou Sir!!!

Danutz said...

I have a different problem... the steam comes out from the top of the heating element, which makes me believe that the heating element is blocked completely. nothing goes through it. I can not find the replacement part, any suggestion?

Chris Eigenheer said...

@Danutz, I would probably take off the heating element and see if you can use a dental pick to clear the blockage or soak it in vinegar

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