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Heartland America's Handheld Steam Cleaner... Save your money! (unless you're sick!)
on May 21, 2014
I actually have TWO of these, and they BOTH behave identically, leading me to suspect a systemic design flaw. (one ordered directly from H.L.A. the other through Amazon) I have at least two other brands of similar Steam Cleaners (also verifiably Amazon ordered) Here is how Steam Cleaner SHOULD work: After filling with Distilled Water, and heating up, you SHOULD get a CONTINUOS blast of steam as long as thumb button is held down continously! The H.L.A. Steamer, after a minute or two of continous steam, SHUTS ITSELF OFF! (the red power light goes out) after about 45 seconds or more, of no power, the water inside stops boiling, about that time, the red power light comes ON again, and stays on for about 15 to 20 seconds... just as the water inside almost begins to start boiling again, the red power light goes OFF AGAIN! (the Steamer has shut itself OFF again!) This cycle repeats itself over and over, resulting in the EFFECT, that you absolutely CAN NOT get a continous blast of steam through the front steam nozzle! At best, you get a brief, weak fizzle of steam lasting only a few seconds, since, as the water starts to boil, the unit always SHUTS ITSELF OFF AGAIN! Through trial and error testing, I discovered a piculiar quirk; identically common behavior exhibited by BOTH of the H.L.A. Steamers: If, after filling unit with water like normal, you LEAVE unit sitting on stationary surface, after plugging it into power outlet, only PARTIALLY screw down the black filler cap on top... this is a hollow threaded bolt, with a single hole drilled into it's side, meant as a pressure relief safety measure. If you screw it in a couple of turns, so this 'safety hole' is STILL ABOVE the flush top, and pointing off to the SIDE of the steamer, you WILL get a blast of steam coming out of that 'safety hole' CONTINOUSLY, not stopping every few seconds, as it does if you screw cap down ALL the way and try to have steam come out the front spigot, with thumb knob held down!! This unit is ONLY good as a makeshift Room Steamer, for when you are sick, and want to breath in Steam! Word of caution: DON'T stand in front of the steam blast for the first 30 seconds or so- even if you've only slightly over filled the water chamber, a bit of HOT water may come spraying out of that hole, along with the steam! After a minute or so, it should be safe, and a steady, CONTINOUS blast of steam comes out that hole for a good 10 minutes! The minute the water runs out, the steam stops, and the power light goes out. I discovered that even though unit is empty (no water) it will CONTINUE to heat (power light will come on intermitantly) so be sure to unplug unit! Wait a few minutes for it to cool down, then refill, and repeat cycle. I discovered that if you try to refill it BEFORE it cools down, hot water will come spraying out the filler hole for the first few seconds, until the added water has a chance to cool down the internal heating coils! The behavior of these units suggests to me, the systemic design flaw is an OVERLY SENSITIVE internal pressure cut-off solenoid that PREMATURELY cuts off power when you try to use Steamer the way it was intended! BUT if you leave filler cap only partially screwed down, with the steam coming out the pressure relief 'safety hole' -the internal pressure never builds up enough to activate the (defective) OVERLY sensitive pressure cut-off solenoid! Thus, this device is usable ONLY as a makeshift Room Steamer, that, if you are sick, only gives an annoyingly short 10 minutes of steam! The ONLY "good" thing about this steamer is that it IS a good 1200 Watts (ALL the other similar models I have are only about a Thousand Watts) BUT that powerful 1200 Watts is TOTALLY WASTED by this units defective inability to function as intended! (unless you are sick, and need a make shift Room Steamer!) It goes without saying, if you have children, don't let them near this thing!