Most people have a vacuum cleaner to help keep their carpets, rugs, and other floor surfaces clean. In just a few minutes, you should be able to turn on your vacuum, go over a specific area, and get rid of all the dirt, dust, pet hair, and other debris that’s accumulated since the last time you vacuumed. But what if your vacuum isn’t working right? What’s the best course of action?
Signs Your Vacuum Isn’t Working Correctly
Vacuums come in many shapes, sizes, and specialty functions, but nearly all of them exhibit the same signs when they aren’t working properly.
- Total failure. There’s a chance your vacuum cleaner won’t turn on, or that the brushes won’t start rolling. If this is the case, your machine could be suffering a total failure.
- Loss of suction. You may also notice there’s a lack of suction. If you take out the hose and feel little to no suction power, it could be an indication something’s wrong.
- Strange noises. Most vacuum cleaners make at least some noise, but they shouldn’t be making growls, inconsistent thumps, or high-pitched screeches. If you notice strange noises coming from your machine, you’ll want to turn it off and take action.
- Strange smells. It’s also possible to notice strange smells. For example, if you smell something burning, it’s an indication that something needs to be cleaned or replaced.
- A dirty carpet left behind. The surest sign that your vacuum isn’t working is that it leaves behind a dirty carpet. Its one job is to get your carpets clean, and if it’s not doing that, you’ll need to do something about it.
Initial Steps to Take
These are some of the best initial steps to take.
- Ensure the vacuum is plugged in (and use multiple outlets). Let’s get the obvious one out of the way; make sure your vacuum is actually plugged in (if it’s not cordless; otherwise, make sure it’s fully charged). Your vacuum won’t work unless it has a power source. It’s also a good idea to try multiple outlets in case there’s a problem with a single outlet.
- Empty the bag or main chamber. Most vacuums require you to periodically change out the bag, or empty the main chamber of dust and debris. If it gets too full, the vacuum will no longer function as intended. Empty these if they need to be emptied.
- Adjust the height setting. Vacuums typically come with height adjustment functionality so you can appropriately address different types of carpet. If you’re using the wrong height setting, the vacuum won’t work properly; check this and adjust it if necessary.
- Clean or change the filters. Filters serve an important purpose in vacuums; they’re designed to block certain pieces of dust and debris to protect the vacuum’s moving parts. If they become clogged or dirty, it could interfere with typical operation (and produce bad smells in the process). Clean or change these filters to restore them to working order.
- Check the hose for obstructions. Look into the hose to see if there are any obstructions. If there’s an object clogging the hose, the rest of the vacuum isn’t going to work properly. Often, you can easily remove these obstructions on your own.
- Check the brush roll for obstructions. Similarly, it’s important to check the brush roll for potential obstructions. Thick wads of hair, large objects, and other stray items from the carpet can jam up the brush and prevent it from moving correctly.
- Consider changing the belt. Vacuum cleaners rely on belts to operate their rolling brushes (and sometimes, other components). If the belt is worn or broken, your vacuum isn’t going to work properly. Fortunately, it’s sometimes possible to purchase a new belt inexpensively online and replace the old belt yourself.
What to Do Next
If you’ve taken all the aforementioned steps and you’re still experiencing a vacuum problem, you only have two real options left. First, you could take your vacuum to a professional repair service. A professional may be able to disassemble your vacuum, identify the root cause of the problem, replace parts as necessary, and restore the machine to full working order.
If that doesn’t work, or if the vacuum repair cost is too steep, your best bet is to simply purchase a new vacuum cleaner. Like all machines, vacuums have a finite lifespan; even if you take good care of them, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll need to purchase a new one, especially if you use yours often.
Thankfully, there are many excellent vacuum options to choose from in the modern era; you can select a machine that offers deep cleaning potential, comfort, and reliability.