Why is Your Vacuum Cleaner Not Working?
Top 5 Solutions!

Has your Vacuum Cleaner stopped working or is making weird noises? These are the 5 most common issues and how to fix them.

Why is Your Vacuum Cleaner Not Working? Top 5 Solutions!

Table of contents

Introduction

How many times have you used your vacuum cleaner since you bought it? Me, I can’t remember!

Like every other machine we have at home, vacuum cleaners are meant to have occasional breakdowns from time to time. And there are two reasons why our vacuum cleaners may have stopped working:

- We put them through an enormous amount of work but this type of problems tend to be easy to fix.

- We forget to clean them regularly and maintain them in perfect conditions. If this is your case, then the problem might be a bit more difficult to fix.

I know, they tend to break in the least convenient moment. Right when you had planned to clean your house and made the impossible to find the perfect time…

Broken Vacuum Cleaner Doesn't work

Well, if you’re lucky, then you’ll be able to fix the problem in no more than 10 minutes. And we’re going to show you how.

Most common vacuum cleaner problems can be fixed at home. If not, then you can take it to the manufacturer or a local vacuum store to have it fixed.

First, you need to identify what the problem is. Once you have it, just look at the table of contents and see if your problem is listed. There you’ll find all the information you need to understand what might be causing that problem and how to fix your vacuum cleaner.

This is a very broad topic, so we'll be recommending other posts that might be helpful. Otherwise, this guide would be extremely long. For starters take a look at the following post. After all, most problems happen because vacuum cleaners aren't cleaned right or as often as they should!

How to Clean a Vacuum Cleaner. General Maintenance & Deep Clean

Your vacuum cleaner isn't cleaning the way it should? It's probably because you haven't cleaned it right (or at all!). This Ultimate Guide has everything you need.

Problem 1: It won't turn on

You may be thinking you need to buy a new vacuum cleaner, but before you do so, try and see if works again by checking the following:

- Check if there’s power. Maybe the power outlet is broken or didn’t fit correctly.

- The on/off switch is one of the most common parts that tend to break or cause problems and it will need replacement from time to time.

Vacuum Cleaner doesn't turn on

- Sometimes having a full bag is the problem. Try replacing it with a new one or if it’s a bagless vacuum, empty the canister.

- If your vacuum cleaner is too hot, then the thermal cur-out must have activated. Look out for blockages and obstructions in the filters and the hose and remove them. After that, leave the vacuum turned off until it cools down (you usually have a recommended cooling time in the user guide).

- Check and see if the vacuum cleaners cord is damaged. You need to check 2 things: see if the cord is properly connected to the vacuum cleaner and to the plug. Watch out for splits in the rubber. If you spot any, you need to repair it immediatley or replace it.

Finally, if nothing above has worked, then the problem lies on the motor itself and you need to take it to a professional.

Problem 2: It won't stay on

This may be even worst than before. There’s nothing more irritating than starting a cleaning chore and not being able to finish it.

The most common reason why a vacuum may stop working is due to motor overheating. See above what to do in case your motor is getting too hot. But first, unplug it and wait for it to cool down before looking for obstructions.

Problem 3: Burning smell or smoke coming out

To try and fix these problems follow these easy steps:

Vacuum Cleaner Picture

1. Turn the vacuum cleaner off.

2. Check everything’s right with the wall stocket, plug and cable. See if they are too hot or giving off smoke. If positive, take the vacuum cleaner outdoors.

3. See if the filters are blocked or the bag is full. These two can cause the motor to overheat due to the extra pressure it has to put. If so, clean and replace the filters and bag.

4. Finally, look for a broken belt or an obstruction of the rolling brush. These two things are typically what causes that burning smell. If a belt is broken you need to replace it (they typically cost around $2.99 to $20, depending o the vacuum cleaner model you have).

5. Once you’ve done all the above steps, try turning the vacuum cleaner on again and see if the problem still persists. If so, you may need to take it to a professional.

And check out these two posts in case you need a little bit more information regarding these topics:

How to Clean a Vacuum Brush? The 1 Tool You Need!

Cleaning your vacuum brush has always been a nightmare, right? Well, with this tool, I promise you, it can’t get easier!

How to Change Your Vacuum Belt in 7 Easy Steps

Changing a vacuum belt might seem difficult but I bet you’ll find it easy if you follow this guide step by step!

Problem 4: Loss of suction power

One of the signs that will tell you if your vacuum cleaner is losing suction power is if it leaves dirt and debris behind.

If positive, follow these steps to fix it:

1. Your bag (or canister) must be full or almost! Replace it if this is the case.

Vacuum Cleaner Canister full

2. Blocked filters or hose can also cause your vacuum to lose suction power. Clean the filters (or replace them if they’re not washable) and check for blockages on the hose.

If you'd like to know more about how to clean a vacuum filter or a vacuum hose, check the following posts:

How to Clean your Vacuum Filters in 4 Easy Steps

Do you own a Vacuum Cleaner? You should be cleaning your filter if you want it to work correctly! This is how you should clean you vacuum cleaner in 4 easy steps.

How to Clean Your Vacuum's Hose the Right Way

Is your vacuum hose is clogged? Has it started to smell weird? This step by step guide will teach you how to clean your vacuum hose the right way.

3. Check the brush roll. It might be stuck or filled with tangled hair and debris and stopped working. If you clean it but continues not to spin, then you have to options: check if any of the belts are broken and replace it or replace the brush roll itself.

4. You might have the height setting wrong. Try adjusting it every time you change form carpets or rugs to hard floor, as the height you need for each type of floor is different.

5. Check if there are any air flow leakages. Rips and holes on the hose reduce greatly your vacuum’s suction power. You can try to fix it but the option is to replace it if it’s broken. If you have an upright vacuum, then check if the connection between the hose and the base isn’t loose.

Vacuum Cleaner Broken Hose

Problem 5: Makes an unusual noise

Vacuum cleaners tend to be loud already but if you notice something different on how it makes the noise (maybe louder or in different tones) then it means something’s not working correctly.

Check for any of the following possible causes:

- Blockages in the hose: you’ll notice this almost immediately once the suction starts. If so, fix it. by removing the obstruction.

Vacuum Cleaner Clog Hose

If you'd like to know more about how to unclog a vacuum cleaner, check out this post:

How to Unclog Your Vacuum's Hose? 4 Amazing Techniques

Is your Vacuum's Hose clogged? These 4 Amazing Techniques will help you unclog your vacuum's hose. Just take this steps to fix the problem!

- Broken or not well-attached belts: they can make some truly unpleasant noises. Check it immediately if you don’t want to get your vacuum even more damaged.

- Broken fan: sometimes dirt may enter the motor area and cause blockages around the fan. If this is the case, you’ll need to replace it immediately.

If it wasn’t any of the above options, then you probably have a problem with the motor. And not a very good one. This might be THE sign for you to buy a new vacuum cleaner.

Problem 6: Leaves bad odors

There’s nothing more unpleasant than bad odors, right? Not to mention how difficult they are to get rid off, especially from carpets and rugs… so you probably don’t want your vacuum to spread those odors all over them.

Vacuum Cleaner Bad Odors

There can be multiple things causing them. Let’s see what you need to check:

- The bag or canister: just think about everything that your vacuum sucks in… from food spills to pet hair! No problem then: you just have to replace the bag or empty your canister.

- Vacuum filters: we tend to forget, but filters get dirty too. And if we don’t clean them regularly, then they can definitely smell.

- The hose and attachments: they can also start smelling bad, especially the debris in the brush attachments. Try cleaning them in with warm soap and water and let them dry completely before using them.

Conclusion

I hope you find this article useful!

We may not cover all vacuum problems, but the most common ones are certainly here. If not, you should probably take it to a professional or local vacuum store.

Now you know why your vacuum isn’t working! Follow the instructions or tips we give you for each problem and most certainly you’ll be able to fix it.

Vacuum Cleaner fun

Last but not least, remember that regular maintenance and cleaning of your vacuum cleaner will help you avoid having any of these problems. Just so you know!

Mary Evans Picture

By Mary Evans

Vacuums, Steam Cleaners, Robot Cleaners, etc.

My name is Mary and I'm a mother of 3! I worked for a big company for 10 years until I decided to stay at home to take care of my family. Every since cleaning has become sort of my hobby and profession at the same time. I write about vacuum cleaners, steam cleaners, etc. I just find it a lot of fun!

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Mary Evans Picture

Mary Evans

Vacuums, Steam Cleaners, Robot Cleaners, etc.

My name is Mary and I'm a mother of 3! I worked for a big company for 10 years until I decided to stay at home to take care of my family. Every since cleaning has become sort of my hobby and profession at the same time. I write about vacuum cleaners, steam cleaners, etc. I just find it a lot of fun!

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