Common Vacuum Cleaner Problems

Common Vacuum Cleaner Problems

Common vacuum cleaner faults and problems, faults and fixes

Avoid sending your vacuum cleaner to landfill!

For the most part, the basic construction of most vacuum cleaners is essentially the same and troubleshooting common vacuum cleaner faults can be reasonably simple. While the act of vacuum cleaner fault finding can be relatively straightforward, it might be advisable to seek professional help if there is a failure with any integral component. Safety is always a key issue while executing home repairs, and if you lack the requisite protective gear, the services of a trained service engineer might be the better option. However, this article can help you understand some of the more obvious causes of common vacuum cleaner faults.


Vacuum Cleaner Lacks Suction

Typically, the causes for a vacuum cleaner's inability to remove dirt can be related to several basic issues and can be easily dealt with.

A clogged Air Filter can be responsible for causing lack of suction. This part can easily be removed, inspected and cleaned out thoroughly. If there is more significant damage to the filter, it should be replaced. You should also check the Exhaust Filter to ensure that it is not blocked, torn, or otherwise physically damaged.

Lack of suction may also be indicative of a blocked Vacuum Hose. The hose may be physically inspected after it has been detached from the appliance. Extend the hose out fully and keep it as straight as possible. With the help of a powerful flashlight, shine light through the pipe. If the light cannot pass through, it generally indicates the presence of solid dirt residue in the hose. You can use a long handled cleaning tool (or simply attach a long handle to any cleaning implement) to clear the hose of any obstructions.

If a vacuum cleaner does not exhibit any suction and is unable to clean up dust, there could be a problem with the Blower Wheel. In certain instances, this wheel could get blocked by dirt or there may be something pressed up against it. You can attempt to rotate the wheel manually to check for any obstructions.

This can also indicate a fault with the Dust Cup Assembly. For an adequate suction force to be generated, the dust cup should fit tightly. If it has come loose, or has developed cracks, the machine will not be able to generate a proper cleaning force. In the event of any cracks or breakages, this part should be replaced.

Also check the Vacuum Bag to ensure that it is not full. Check your cleaner's instruction manual for the correct procedure to clean out or replace this bag.  

Vacuum Cleaner Belt Has Broken

Quite often, a cleaner belt may break when solid dirt particles such as lint, string, or hair are trapped. This can affect the Brush roll, causing its movement to be restricted. This results in increased friction and pressure on the belt. Dismantle the brush roll and clean out any objects that might be trapped in the bearings. This should enable the brush roll to rotate without difficulty.

In general, any problems within the Brush roll Assembly, including the bearings, can have a direct affect on the vacuum cleaner belt. Any type of blockage within these parts, places excessive stress on the belt and can result in wear and tear. If this is not rectified, the belt will eventually snap.

While checking these components, it is also necessary to make sure that the Brush roll Cover is not in direct contact with the belt.

Vacuum Cleaner Brush Does Not Spin

In most instances the vacuum cleaner brush does not spin due to problems related with the belts that are used in the construction of the appliance. If any of these belts are overstretched, broken, or are misaligned, the cleaner brush will not be able to spin.

It is necessary to check the Drive Belt and the Cogged Belt to ensure that they are both in perfect working order. If either of them is broken, they should be replaced.

This type of condition may also be caused by a jammed brush roll. In this case, the brush roll should be pulled out and cleaned properly before replacing. Also pay attention to the brush roll assembly and bearings to ensure that there are no external objects trapped here. If the assembly is cracked or broken, it should be replaced.

Vacuum Cleaner Motor appears to be dead

If your vacuum cleaner appears to be dead, it could indicate that there is a problem with the mains flex. It is also necessary to check the main fuse of the plug before turning your attention to the appliance itself. The switch may be checked with a continuity checker or Ohm meter to ensure that power is being supplied to the vacuum cleaner.

Another possibility is that the electronic control board (PCB) of the appliance has burnt out. In instances where the power light is displayed on the cleaner but the motor does not engage there is the possibility of a blown thermal fuse. This will cut the power supply to the motor.

In the worst cases, this indicates a failure in the Drive Motor. Typically, this occurs when the motor has undergone overheating and subsequently burns out. Disconnect the cleaner from its electrical outlet and attempt to turn the motor shaft manually to check for any blockages. If the motor turns without difficulty, but does not engage, it will need to be replaced.

Vacuum Cleaner is unusually noisy and vibrates

In most cases, vacuum cleaner noises tend to emanate from the location of the drive motor. This is caused when dirt enters the motor area and causes blockages. Quite often, this may result in a broken motor fan and noise while the cleaner is being operated. Broken fans will need to be replaced.

If the noise appears to originate from the vacuum cleaner brush, it could signal a broken brush roller bearing. In this case the complete brush roller assembly will need to be replaced. In rarer cases, there may be a breakage or erosion at the point where the brush is attached to the body of the vacuum cleaner. This could represent a terminal issue where the machine itself will have to be replaced.

Vacuum Cleaner cannot be pushed easily

A vacuum cleaner that is difficult to push might simply be affected by the accumulation of dirt on the base plate. The base plate may be cleaned with the aid of any good-quality furniture polish to ensure smooth movement over carpets and rugs.

In more serious cases, this could be caused when the drive belt is not properly aligned and may need to be replaced.

Avoiding Common Vacuum Cleaner Faults

The correct maintenance procedures can help you avoid the vast majority of common vacuum cleaner faults. Typically, most faults are related with certain components within the cleaner, and by taking adequate care you can prevent any serious problems with your appliance.

Clean Vacuum Cleaner Bags and Filters - It is a good practice to empty out cleaner bags on a regular basis. Certain types of sealed bags should be replaced and not reused. These bags are made of a porous material that can get clogged. Reusing these bags may result in frequent overheating of the motor during periods of operation. Similarly, the vacuum filters should also be replaced when they are blocked with dust. This ensures the best cleaning performance of your machine. As a rule of thumb, bags should be emptied or replaced when they are ¾ full, Filters should be changed once a year, and HEPA filters should be replaced twice a year.

Belts should be replaced - Due to the stress they are placed under, the machine belts have a tendency to get over-stretched. Excessive pressure may cause them to snap. They should be replaced periodically to ensure maximum performance from your cleaner. Ideally, flat drive belts must be replaced twice a year, while cogged belts are generally changed only if they are broken.

Brush Rolls - Poor maintenance of the brush rolls is a common cause of most vacuum cleaner problems. External items such as hair, string, or threads have a tendency to get trapped around the brush roll. This affects its ability to rotate without restriction and increases the friction during the time of operation. A frequent issue here is that these blockages place extra pressure on the belt. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure that the brush roll assembly and bearings are clear of any blockages.

Clear Hose Blockages - Any external object that is trapped within the internal or external hose of the vacuum cleaner can have a detrimental effect on the appliance's performance. This places the drive motor under additional strain and can cause problems such as the motor overheating.

Handle the Flexes Carefully - A frequent issue is overstraining the vacuum cleaner flex during times of use. This is especially relevant if your cleaner makes use of an auto rewind motor for the flex.

Simple maintenance procedures and sensible vacuum cleaner fault finding can help you extract the maximum productivity from your appliance.


Disclaimer: The information provided has been prepared as a guide only and the steps taken are likely to vary for different appliance models. We strongly recommend using a qualified engineer to undertake major repairs and fault finding.


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