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Top Vacuum Cleaner Problems and How To Fix Them

Now that your valuable vacuum cleaner has problems, you’re probably thinking of looking for a professional to fix it or getting a new one. But hang on! Do you know you can save valuable time and resources by identifying and fixing the problems yourself?

Some of the top vacuum cleaner problems include clogged hoses, the hoover failing to turn on, noisy cleaning, and the vacuum turning off during cleaning. In other cases, the vacuum can be difficult to move around, have a burning smell, or overheat.

Woman holding a stick vacuum up high

We’ve compiled a list of the common vacuum cleaner problems along with their simple solutions. Read on to learn how to fix your vacuum issues like a pro!

Vacuum Cleaner Won’t Turn On

Woman vacuuming hardwood floors

Just when you’re fully psyched up for cleaning, your cleaning machine won’t turn on. Such a mood buster, right? Don’t worry; we are here for you! The hoover failing to turn on is one of the common issues experienced by most vacuum owners. However, it’s pretty easy to handle.

The first and most obvious thing to do in this case is to check whether you have electricity within your house. There may be a power outage which is pretty much a common occurrence. After confirming the presence of power, check to see that the vacuum is plugged appropriately.

If you are using cordless vacuum cleaners such as the stick or handheld vacuum, you may consider recharging the battery.

If the hoover is properly plugged in and still not turning on, try a different power outlet. Here, you can test whether an outlet has power flow or is faulty using a circuit tester. You can plug in a small appliance like a hairdryer to see if it works in the absence of a tester. Testing a power outlet helps determine whether the problem lies in the hoover or the outlet.

If the power outlet is stable and the vacuum still doesn’t turn on, unplug it immediately and check its power cord for any significant damages such as a chip or cut. If there aren’t any notable damages, carefully open the vacuum and check the interior electrical paths.

Checking the interiors calls for extra caution. You can use a multimeter or continuity tester to check for current continuity. You may notice that some contact connectors need a bit of cleaning or replacement where the connection is weak or not established.

If the electricity paths are in their stable working conditions, consider inspecting the motor. The motor acts as the brain of your vacuum, and in the event that it’s damaged or faulty, you’ll have to repair it. In case the motor necessitates a replacement, you may, at this point, think of getting a new hoover since most vacuum motors are equally expensive to replace.

Vacuum Cleaner Won’t Stay On/Keeps Shutting Off

Woman vending over and vacuuming floor

You may find that your vacuum turns on as expected but randomly turns off during use. Don’t panic! It’s common, so what should you do? Give up on vacuuming? No!

In most cases, the reason behind the random turning off is overheating. Some vacuums are designed with a safety feature that prevents them from getting too hot, so they automatically shut themselves upon reaching a specific preset temperature.

If your vacuum suddenly turns off, unplug it and give it some time (probably 20-30 minutes) for the motor and internal parts to cool down. Once it has completely cooled down, try using it again to see if the problem recurs.

If it turns off again, you can then consider opening it to check for any obstructions, such as fine dust and debris, that would be interfering with its performance.

Additionally, if this doesn’t seem to work, you may try setting your vac to a different suction setting. You may check for any loose connections at the battery that may necessitate repairs for the handheld cordless vacuums.

If the problem is beyond your ability, feel free to seek professional help. Avoid interfering with any parts of your cleaner if you don’t have sufficient know-how. You could be causing more harm than good.

Vacuum Cleaner Has No Suction

Close up view of stick vacuum brush roller on white carpet

Loss of suction is another irritating issue experienced by vacuum owners. Once you notice that your vacuum isn’t suctioning as expected, you need to know what to do.

If you’re using a bagged vacuum, check whether the bag is full or has holes in it. Ensure you check the inside of the bag compartment for any accumulated dust and debris. If you find any dirt particles, it might be a clear indication that the bag has a hole or holes and it’s the appropriate time for a change.

In case you are using the modern bagless vacuum models, be sure to check whether the dust canister or container needs emptying. Additionally, check on your container seals to ensure they are intact. If you notice any cracks or signs of drying up, consider replacing them.

Today, most vacuums are designed with multiple layers of filters that may get clogged up with dirt particles, affecting their suctioning power. Therefore, ensure that you open your vacuum and inspect all the filters. If they are washable, remove and wash them appropriately (use plain water only, no cleaners or chemicals).

Ensure the filters are completely dry before placing them back into their rightful place. Note that a wet filter can blow up your vacuum’s motor. For the high-end vacuums where the filter is in the form of a paper filter, such as the Hepa filter, consider getting a replacement online or from local retailers.

Additionally, you should check the condition of the vacuum belt. If it’s faulty or not correctly attached to the brush roll, your hoover will not suction as expected. In case it’s broken, you’ll need to replace it, and if it isn’t in the right position, it’s upon you to have it positioned accordingly.

If all your efforts seem futile, check all the hoses for any dirt clogs. As you inspect the hoses, look out for any dust build-up on their outside, which might indicate a hole in the hose. Holes in the vacuum’s hoses affect the suctioning power, calling for immediate replacement or repair depending on the damage’s extent.

Don’t forget to carefully turn the vacuum upside down to check the intake area near the beater bar for clogs. The beater bar is the area around the rotating brush at the front end of your vacuum.

Vacuum Cleaner Is Difficult To Move

Guy in jeans vacuuming carpet in living room

So, what should you do if you can’t move your hoover around? In this case, check the condition of the vacuum’s wheels. Are they cracked or broken?

If a vacuum is misused or used on rough surfaces, the wheels tend to break or crack, limiting their mobility. If you notice this in your valuable vacuum, rush to a nearby store and get matching wheels for replacement.

You don’t need to be a guru in vacuum repairs to replace the broken wheels. To replace the wheels, remove the wheel covers or the caps to expose the wheels’ attachment points. Carefully remove the faulty wheels, replace them with new ones, and attach them securely before reusing your cleaner.

Vacuum Cleaner Smells

Woman using a canister vacuum cleaning hardwood floor

Imagine using a vacuum that ends up stinking a room rather than freshening it up. No one wants this!

You may notice an unpleasant smell from your vacuum cleaner, which is expected since it collects all kinds of dirt, from food and dust particles to pet hair. Given that we want to give our homes a fresh scent, any disgusting smell from the vac may ruin the freshness we hoped to get.

Therefore, any smell issues must be addressed promptly. For a bagged vacuum cleaner, check the bag; if it’s full, consider replacing it. For the unbagged vacuum, you may empty and clean the dust canisters with soap and water.

Dirty filters can also be another culprit in this case. Try cleaning the filters, and if the smell doesn’t go away, you might need to replace them.

If, after doing all these, the smell persists, check the hoses. Clogged hoses may contain decaying materials that may cause the putrid smell. Unclog the hoses and clean them. You may even soak them in soapy water to get rid of the smell. After washing any part of your vacuum cleaner, ensure it’s completely dry before returning it.

You can put a simple takeaway tip, put a fresh orange peel, a cinnamon stick, or a teal leaf in the hoover’s bag or dust canister to give it a pleasant and inviting smell.

Vacuum Cleaner Has a Burning Smell

Person repairing vacuum motor

A burning smell from any electrical or home appliance indicates a serious underlying problem. Therefore, if you detect it from your vacuum, immediately stop using it and try fixing the issue first to avoid further damages.

One of the leading causes of the irritating burning smell can be overheating. In case your hoover doesn’t automatically turn off upon reaching a specific maximum preset temperature where the motor has overheated, it will produce a smell similar to that of burning plastic.

In the case of overheating, unplug the vacuum from the power source or turn it off immediately and leave it to cool down first. Once it has cooled down, try using it again and check if you still get the burning smell. If the burning smell persists, open your vacuum and check its interiors for any underlying problem.

You can check the beater brush for any tangled hair producing the burning smell. If the beater brush gets hot from constant rolling, it may cause a burning effect on any tangled hair or materials. To avoid this, ensure you clean your beater brush regularly.

Another cause of this irritating smell is the burning of a vacuum belt. A tangled brush roll can result in overheating, which can ruin the vacuum belt. If you inspect and find that the vacuum belt is burnt, you should immediately get a replacement.

One more move you can make to address the burning smell is checking whether the plug or vacuum cable is burning. Your cable connection may overheat and burn if it’s not properly plugged in or has a loose connection.

Ensure you address this issue promptly to caution against any further damages and accidents.

Vacuum Cleaner Making Loud Air Noise/Suction Noise

Woman vacuuming white rug

Most vacuum cleaners make a significant amount of noise to make their presence known. Some people consider this noise a boisterous hello. Additionally, your vacuum may get a little bit noisy as it becomes old due to worn-out parts.

However, if your newly acquired vacuum cleaner starts making extra loud and irritating air noise or suction noise, you may need to address some issues, which include:

Clogged hoses

Any strange materials in the hoses, such as broken glasses, large debris, stones, nuts, and screws, may find their way into your vacuum cleaner’s inner compartments. Here, they rotate, producing disturbing noise. Therefore, ensure any foreign materials in the hose pipes are removed immediately.

Broken fan

If your vacuum cleaner’s fan is broken or faulty, it may make loud air noise. To solve this problem, you need to open the outer part of your vacuum and inspect your fan’s condition. If faulty, you can replace it yourself or utilize the warranty for replacement by the manufacturer.


If your vacuum produces the grinding type of noise, it may result from ungreased bearings. To solve this, ensure your vacuum cleaner’s bearings are regularly fed with generous amounts of grease. This gives smooth rotations when in use.


If the interiors of your vacuum, including the motor, get corroded by foreign materials and rust, they are prone to making irritating noise when suctioning. The solution here is to repair or replace the corroded parts.

Broken vacuum belt

A tangled or broken belt doesn’t work as expected, and it produces strange noise when the vacuum is in use. Ensure you check the condition of your vacuum belt and the beater bar and maintain them as expected.

Vacuum Cleaner Spitting Out Debris/Dust

Black vacuum on white shaggy rug

This is pretty annoying, right? If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where your hoover leaves behind trails of dust and debris after cleaning, then you know how disheartening it can be. Spitting out is mostly caused by a broken roller brush, a dirty brush, or a full dirt collecting bag.

Additionally, a broken belt or reduced suction power can result in a vacuum cleaner leaving debris and dust.

To solve this, you need to clean your vacuum regularly, replace any broken parts, and ensure the vacuum belt is in its operational state. Furthermore, you can regularly replace the dust bags and resolve any likely issues affecting the suctioning power.

In extreme cases, you may need to check whether the hoses are intact. A small puncture on the hoses can interfere with the suctioning ability where your vacuum ends up leaving behind trails of dirt and dust. In case of any holes, repair them or replace the hoses if needed.

Vacuum Cleaner Flashing Lights

Red upright vacuum on vinyl floor

Flashing lights on your vacuum cleaner indicate an underlying problem that needs immediate attention. Depending on the vacuum model you are using, different flashlights show different issues.

However, in most models, a red flashlight can mean that the vacuum is overheating or the brush rolls are jammed. Additionally, if the headlights are flashing, they may indicate that your hoover isn’t in carpet mode or there is something entirely wrong with it.

For the overheating flashlight, unplug the vacuum and let it cool before reusing it or analyzing the underlying issues.

For the jammed brush roll, turn your vacuum over so that you can easily remove any tangled rug fibers or hair on the brush. Remove the foreign materials, clean the brush roll, and set everything back in place.

If nothing seems to work, read the vacuum’s manual and try following the troubleshooting steps detailed down in it.

Vacuum Cleaner Turns Off When the Cord Is Moved

Vacuum on glossy hardwood floor

Do you find yourself running or tripping over your cleaner’s cord? Well, you aren’t alone; most of us do. It’s normal to run over your vacuum’s power cord accidentally from time to time. However, with time, it is likely to cause electrical damages to your treasured cleaning appliance.

You can easily identify this since your vacuum will stay on and work efficiently until the power cord is moved, and this is when it immediately shuts off. In this case, any slight movement of the power cord interferes with the power supply, resulting in frequent shutting.

If this happens, turn off and unplug your vacuum immediately as it may cause severe electrical damage; in extreme cases, it can be a fire hazard.

If you have minimal electrical knowledge, you can address this by identifying the cord’s broken section and fixing it accordingly. However, if you feel that it’s beyond your understanding, consider involving a third party, like a professional in vacuum repairs.

To avoid this, it’s advisable to inspect your cord regularly. In case it’s chipped or has cuts, fix it or do a replacement since chipped power cords are hazardous to the vacuum and the user.

Vacuum Cleaner Clogged

Vacuum brush roller flipped and showing tangled hair

It’s a natural occurrence for the hose to be clogged, especially if you use it to pick up large pieces of debris when you are too lazy to bend and do it yourself. If this happens, you need to be a little creative to remove the blockage without cutting or tearing the hose.

First, carefully disconnect the clogged hose, and if the blockage is close enough, use a pair of pliers or your hands to pull it out. However, if it’s far for your hand to reach, you can use a metal rod to push it through. Be careful when using a metal rod not to cause any holes on your hose.

Additionally, you can soak the hose in water to dissolve the blockage from accumulated dust for easy removal.

Vacuum Cleaner Blowing Out Hot Air

Woman holding up a vacuum brush roller

Generally, vacuums blow out air when suctioning that may feel slightly hot. However, in most cases, if your vacuum overheats, it may end up blowing out sweltering air. In such a case, it’s advisable to turn off the vacuum and address the possible cause, which is most likely the motor or an underlying electrical issue.

If the motor fails, you may need to replace it, which might be pretty expensive. For other underlying issues related to overheating, open your vacuum, study any problems, and resolve them accordingly. You can also refer to the vacuum’s user manual for guidance on troubleshooting.

Vacuum Cleaner Blowing Out Dusty Air

Side view of bottom of vacuum

If you notice your vacuum is blowing out dusty air during cleaning, the most probable cause could be that the canister or bag is full and needs emptying. Once the bag or dust canister is full, it won’t have space to store any extra dust collected, and the result will be blowing out dusty air.

Does your vacuum cleaner still blow out dusty air after you’ve emptied the bag or canister? Now, consider checking the filters. If the filters are washable, clean them and place them back only when they are completely dry. Additionally, if your vacuum uses the Hepa filters, replace them.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on March 7, 2021.

The best way to avoid this is to empty the canisters and wash or replace vacuum filters regularly.

The Vacuum Motor Appears Dead

Close up of screwdriver in vacuum motor

Is the motor dead, or could it be a related issue? Let’s find out.

First, if your cleaner suddenly stops working and fails to restart, you shouldn’t conclude that the motor is dead. It’s important to check other issues such as the plug and the cord before shifting your attention to the motor itself.

In this case, you can check the plug’s main switch for power flow using a current checker or a tester to gauge if there is an efficient power flow. Additionally, you can inspect the power cord for any cuts or chips that would break the motor’s power flow. If all is well, you can now turn your full attention to your motor.

The worst-case scenario is your motor turning out dead. Typically, this may happen if the motor has been overheating over a long time, after which it eventually burns out. Here, you need to disconnect the hoover and remove the motor for replacement.

Buying a new motor can be quite expensive, depending on the model you are using. Therefore, it’s upon you to do your simple calculations and decide whether to buy a new vacuum cleaner or go ahead with the motor replacement.

Vacuum Cleaner Won’t Charge

A vacuum that is plugged into a wall outlet

Just like a smartphone, laptop, or any other electrical appliance, your hoover may fail to charge. Here is what you should do:

  1. Confirm whether there is a power supply within your home.
  2. Use a tester to test if the power socket and the vacuum’s plug are in their stable working condition.
  3. If all is well, unplug the vacuum and try charging it from a different power source—this trick works in most cases.

If this approach fails, check the cord for any defects that would interfere with effective power transmission. Fix any problem accordingly.

For the cordless vacuums, it may be a problem with the batteries. Check whether there is any loose connection that needs to be fixed. Additionally, the batteries may be worn out or dead, creating the need for a replacement.

If your warranty is still varied, you may return the vacuum to the manufacturer for the charging problem to be fixed, or you may take it to a trusted repair shop.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on March 7, 2021.

Note: Like other home appliances, vacuum cleaners can develop problems anytime, and therefore, you should always be prepared to handle any arising issues. We hope that our guide will come in handy the next time your vacuum has any issues.

Regular Care and Maintenance Tips for Vacuum Cleaners

Scissors clipping tangled hair off vacuum brush roller

A well-maintained hoover can give you between 8-12 years of excellent service. To achieve this, you need to learn a few basic maintenance tips, which will help you avoid the most common vacuum cleaner faults. Some of the essential maintenance tips include:

Replace the bags regularly

This is one of the easiest things that every vacuum owner should do to maintain their vacuum. Some people believe that the bag should be replaced only when it’s full. As a matter of fact, it’s advisable to replace it when it is about 2/3 full. For bagless vacuums, the canister should be emptied regularly.

Attach the bag properly

There are different brands and models of vacuums, each with different bag properties. However, in general, when fixing a bag, ensure its opening is securely placed on the vacuum’s nozzle. Additionally, check to see that the clips, hooks, or holders are firmly attached. If the bag is not attached correctly, dust and debris may get into the cleaner, damaging some essential parts.

Clean the filters

For your vacuum’s smooth functioning, you need to clean your filters regularly. If it has paper-like filters like Hepa filters, ensure you replace them regularly.

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on March 7, 2021.

Clean the brush

Always ensure that the vacuum’s brush is clean for optimal performance. Remove any strands of hair, fur, or fiber that may tangle it, diminishing its effectiveness.

Unclog or unblock the hoses.

Regularly check the belt and the power cord

Ensure the vacuum is unplugged and turned off when not in use