Why Doesn’t My Vacuum Cleaner Work?

Why doesn't my vacuum work?Since we service as well as sell at Best Vacuum, “Why doesn’t my vacuum work” is a question we hear a lot, followed by, “And what can I do about it?” Sometimes the answers are complicated. Other times, they’re pretty simple. On that side, here are some things you can do yourself to see check why your vacuum may not be working as you expect, and what you can do about them.

It’s lost suction and is not picking up.

It could be that you have plenty of suction, but the brush is not working. Take off the brush and feel the end of the hose. If the suction seems right, the brush may need replacing, or it could have an obstruction that prevents it from turning (see below).

If, on the other hand, you take the tool off and you don’t feel adequate suction, the first thing to check is the dustbag. The more dust in a bag, the less suction, and the bag doesn’t have to be completely full to need changing. If you can see dust and dirt near the opening, it’s time to change it.

If the bag is OK, check the filters. They, too, can restrict airflow through the machine and reduce suction. A good rule of thumb is to replace your HEPA filters every year and other filters with every five bag changes.

Finally, check the hose. Remove any tools and detach it from the main body. Then drop a nickel in one end and see if it comes out the other. If it doesn’t, the problem is a clogged hose. If you can’t blow or shake out whatever is causing the clog, it’s time to give us a call.

There’s no power. 

If the vacuum is not doing anything, that is, there’s no power, stop. It could be that the vacuum cleaner is overheated and the automatic shutoff has kicked in. If that’s the case, wait a bit and try it again.

Otherwise, if it’s plugged in and not running, or it keeps shutting down, stop using it. Check the hose and see if it’s clogged. Otherwise, it’s probably an electrical problem that you won’t be able to diagnose or fix.

The brush isn’t turning.

Brushrolls depend on a belt to transfer power from the motor to the brush. If the belt is slipping or broken, the brush won’t turn.

Sometimes, the brush shuts off it encounters unusual stress, such as getting the end of rug caught in it. If that’s the case, it just needs to be reset. Look for a small red button on the bottom of the vacuum that you can push to re-set the brush and get it moving again.

Sometimes fibers from rugs or even dental floss get tied up in the brush and stop it from moving. If it’s just wrapped around the brush, turn off the vacuum and pull or carefully cut the fibers with a single-edge razor blade or box cutter. Never use a knife. It might slip and cut you.

The vacuum is making a strange noise.

With vacuums that us a fan to create suction, small objects can be sucked in and rattle against fan blades. In short order, the can break the fan, so if you hear a noise, turn off the vacuum immediately. Regardless, any noise that is unusual means there’s something wrong with the machine, and you should have it checked.

If you ever have any doubts about the reason why your vacuum cleaner is not working or if it is safe to use, stop using it. Never take a chance with any piece of machinery, especially if it’s plugged into the wall. Give us a call, instead. We can walk you through what you can and can’t do to see if you can fix the problem.


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