How to Troubleshoot a Vacuum Cleaner

When your vacuum cleaner stops working, you might be tempted to simply replace it, especially if it’s an older model. However, the problem will often be simple to fix. Spending a few minutes investigating the problem can save you a lot of money.

Step 1- Initial Check

The very first thing you need to check is the bag or cylinder on your vacuum cleaner. If it’s full, there will be no suction. Just remove the old bag or take out the cylinder and empty it before replacing with a fresh bag. Switch on the vacuum cleaner to see if it picks up dirt and dust. Replacing the bag before it’s completely full keeps the vacuum cleaner running more efficiently and puts less strain on the motor so your machine will last longer.

Step 2- Suction without Picking Up

If there’s ample suction but the machine won’t pick up material, check the hose for blockages. Disconnect the hose from the vacuum cleaner and inspect it for any cracks or holes. If any are found, use duct tape to repair them - it might not look great, but it does the job! Where there’s a blockage in the vacuum cleaner, clean it out by pushing a long, thin object like a broom handle through the entire length of thre hose. You can then reconnect the hose and try the vacuum again. It’s worth checking the hoses a few times every year for cracks or splits.

If everything else appears to be fine but the vacuum still won’t pick up, take a look at the brushes. Turn the vacuum cleaner upside down and clean hair and other material from the brushes, especially at the sides.

Step 3- Repairing a Broken Belt

One common problem is a worn or broken belt on the vacuum cleaner. Unscrew or unsnap the cover plate behind the brush and inspect the vacuum cleaner belt for wear and tightness. If there’s excessive play in the belt or it appears to be split or broken, replace it. To do that, just ease the brush out of its housing – it should slide out quite easily -  and slip off the belt before putting on a new one. Place one end of the belt over with the drive shaft pulled and the other into the groove on the brush. You can now put the brush back onto the machine. Turn the brush by hand a few times to check it moves tightly but smoothly.

Step 4- No Power

If the power to the machine breaks and it won’t start, check the circuit. Has the vacuum cleaner tripped a circuit breaker or blown a fuse? Check the circuit breakers (or fuses), and, if it has, simply re-set the breaker (or replace the fuse) and switch the machine on again. If it continues to happen, you may have too many appliances on the same circuit so unplug some and try again.

Check the cord. Is it frayed at the plug end or in the machine? If so, that could easily be the problem. Replace the cord, making sure the correct wires are attached to the correct terminals before plugging the vacuum cleaner back in and switch it on.