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Owned 2, works but dose not last. Hoover dealer said they last as long as the warranty, cannot replace on/off switch. Never mind
on April 16, 2013
August, 2017 update. A review "thank you" inspired this UPDATE: The ON/OFF switch gave out in 2nd half 2016..3 years old. Nearest Hoover repair is over 1 hr round trip, that's 2 hours for drop off and then pick up. I'm handy with machines, but just to get to the switch to fix/replace requires dismantling the entire outer shell. Never mind. Machine is now Junk. $160 for a new one from Hoover. Unsure what I am going to do, but once a consumer gets used to having this kind of clean, you want it again. August 11th, 2014 review update on Hoover Floormate: As those who have read the review below found, if one learns how to use the machine correctly, it is a wonderful tool for the price. However, I may have stumbled across the reason so many people had poor experiences with the machine, and why this machine does not pick up the water/cleaner mixture as well as the previous model. The issue appears to be the quality and installation of two rubber gaskets in the machine that are key to the removal of water during and after the scrubbing process. Our new model Floormate suddenly started putting out water on the tile floor and would not vacuum it up. So, though I like to think I've past my "Mr. Fix-it" days, I disasembled the machine. There were two gaskets that had flaws in them. One simply had too much "tag" (excess rubber that should be removed when it comes out of the mould). This excess on the top of the edge that was meant to be a water tight fit allowed little areas to not seal properly. The replacement I ordered also had the same tags and I simply trimmed it with a razor blade to allow a water-tight fit. The other main rubber gasket was actually broken or torn, I don't know how. I have not used it since doing the replacement of these two gaskets, but I imagine with these two critical parts either replaced or trimmed to meet what was originally spec'd by Hoover, the machine will work as well as the first one I had for a decade. Sadly, as happens with many companies that outsource manufacturing to Chinese companies, quality control is a problem, and there is really no legal recourse in China as there is here in the United States. So Hoover is sort of at the mercy of whomever they contract out the manufacturing. Which is probably why the Hoover website has so many used floormates for sale.
I would recommend to anyone that is not getting satisfactory results from the machine after several months should open it up and inspect the gaskets. They are inexpensive to replace, it is the owner's labor that is expensive.
As to those who ask if using it on hardwood floors is advisable, I would counsel this, my family having owned a small hardwood flooring mill in Louisiana in the 50s, and having grown up in the industry: If the wood floor has a quality finish on it that is not worn through, and if the seams between the 3/4" hardwood boards are tight, then it's most likely ok to use the Floormate on the hardwood floor. The water and the hardwood flooring cleaner mix and create a fluid that is a bit more dense than plain water. Therefore, it is unlikely to soak through the finish or into the seams in the few minutes the water will be in contact with the flooring. Hardwood floors react badly to standing water, it seeps into the seams and "cups" the edges of the board up. Hardwood flooring is only 6-8% moisture when it arrives on site, the lumber is kiln-dried prior to being run into the flooring mill process. That is why it is important to get a good varnish or other floor finish on it shortly after it is laid down. Pre-finished flooring comes with very durable finishes these days. Wood floors are a bad idea in Kitchens, and require area carpets in most other areas. There should always be a mat at every exterior door so that people do not track in grime, which scratches the finish, or water. The most common damage one sees to hardwood floors are dark stains from pet urine or dark circular stains from an electric "croup kettle" (used when someone had bronchitis or other pulmonary issue through the 1970's or so. I expect the vacuum function on this one to work better now that the gaskets have tight seals, probably tighter than when the machine was manufactured. Good luck to all.
What is most obvious about the negative reviews of the Hoover Floormate is that many folks don't figure out how to use it. Maybe the instructions are not clear enough. This being my second, I did not read them. But I know my wife, and a friend who borrowed the old machine had a learning curve, as did I. My previous Floormate lasted ten years, and would have kept going, but it needed a $25 part, and I'm done being "mr fix-it. Ten years for a machine that cost under $100 back then is good enough. Treat this Floormate right, learn how to use it, and it should last also.
Here are the key points one must know in order to have the product work for you, for years.
1) Manage your expectations. It's a $125 floor cleaner, not a magic wand. It does get the dirt off the floor, actually leaving it clean.
2) Know that when washing a floor, PULL THE TRIGGER ONLY WHEN PUSHING THE DEVICE. That is what puts the water down, the brushes still turn when the trigger is released, scrubbing the floor. Otherwise, the machine is "just spreading water around" as some reviewers said. That's because they did not know how to use it.
3) To pick up the water, pull the machine towards you, very, very slowly. This newer model seems to still pick up the water best in "wash" mode. If you can see water coming up the channel over the brushes, that means there is water to be picked up. If no water is coming up, the floor might have a damp shine on it, but it will be dry in a minute or three. If you think about it, the brushes are spinning the water, and the brushes are driving the water towards the center channel.
4) The squegee on the front is not meant to work both ways, only on when the machine is slowly pulled toward the user.
5)The vacuum works better on this one than the older model. However, it is better not to use it as a vacuum prior to washing the floor. We have cats, and the filter was plugged up with hair after vacuuming the kitchen. I never vacuumed with my previous Floormate, and the filter never became clogged enough to slow the suction. The filters do need rinsing and regularly and replacement occasionally.
6) Few homes have truly flat floors, particularly if they are over 20 years old. If it appears too much water is left behind after a slow pass or two, try a path 90 degrees, across the first path. That should help.
7) One of the good things about these machines is that they can be used on regular (3/4") hardwood floors, with hardwood floor cleaner. Water is not good for hardwoods, so being able to vacuum up 80-90% of the water is the only way to use a water/cleaner mix and not hurt the floor.
8) I bought my first one to clean the tile floor in my apartment's kitchen and bathroom. My wife's house has the same floor in the kitchen. This particular tile is a dirt magnet, and this machine will not get it back to white. The Floormate will get up the dirt, it will clean the floor, but only bleach and scrubbing will actually make a textured terrazzo tile give up the "dirty" look that can get ground into it.
9) Vinyl floors are a breeze if they are flat. If not, more back-and-forthing, and criss-crossing is required.
10) Once I could see the dirty water in the machine ten years ago, I understood that no mop could get a floor truly clean. That's why I put in the bit of extra work and maintenance a machine like this requires. It is not a $350 self-propelled scrubber/cleaner/waxing device. We get what we pay for.
It works, for those who pay attention. And I'm glad we have it.