Vacuum Won’t Start? 4 Things You Can Do

There are several reasons why your vacuum won’t start. Fortunately, you might be able to fix it yourself at home!

This is what you should do if your vacuum won’t start: 

  1. Make sure it’s plugged in and that the power button is switched to the “ON” position.
  2. Check to see if the power cord, power button, and electrical outlet aren’t damaged.
  3. Clean out the hoses, filters, and brush heads.
  4. Test the electrical paths inside the vacuum with a multimeter.

You can easily resolve issues like clogged hoses and tangled brush heads. You can also fix electrical problems at home, but this might be a little advanced if you don’t have any experience with electrical work. Continue reading to learn how to fix your vacuum at home or how to determine if you should get your vacuum replaced or repaired.

Check the Basics

When your vacuum doesn’t start, don’t begin your investigation by dismantling it just yet. You need to start with the simplest of solutions.

If You Haven’t Used It Yet

If you haven’t been vacuuming already, you need to check the obvious areas. That’s right: make sure you plugged it in. It should still be the first thing you check even if you’re certain that you plugged it in. If you tripped on the cord or have children or pets, it’s possible the vacuum got unplugged.

It’s also possible that something is faulty and isn’t working. Test to see if the electrical outlet, power cord, and power button are all fully functional. Test the electrical outlet by plugging in a lamp. If the lamp doesn’t turn on, make sure that power is being supplied to the outlet. If the lamp does turn on, that means it’s definitely the vacuum that isn’t working.

Unplug the power cord from the wall and inspect every part of the cord. Make sure the prongs that go into the outlet aren’t bent and that the cord itself isn’t broken. You shouldn’t be able to see the cables within the cord. If you can, it’s possible that they have been damaged and are the source of the problem.

Sometimes the power button can get stuck, so you should test to see that it went into the correct position to be turned on. If the power button is broken, you might be able to replace it if the manufacturer sells replacement parts.

Finally, empty the debris out of the vacuum. Whether you have a canister or a bag that holds the collected debris, you need to empty it. Some vacuum cleaners won’t start if the canister or bag is full. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of emptying it each time you use it, whether it’s before or after you vacuum.

If You Have Been Using It

If you have been vacuuming for a while, it’s possible that you have overused the vacuum. 

Let the vacuum rest for about an hour. Your vacuum may have overheated, and many vacuums come with safety systems that turn off when they get too hot. Let the vacuum stay off for an hour and then try using it again. 

While you let the vacuum rest, empty the debris from the canister or bag. It could have gotten clogged or too full of debris, so make sure it’s completely empty before turning on the vacuum again.

Read the manual that came with your vacuum to determine other troubleshooting methods you can try. Your particular model of vacuum may have common issues that are addressed in the manual.

Unclog the Insides

Your vacuum can become clogged with the hair, dirt, and other debris it picks up. The hoses, filter, and brush head can all become clogged. Clogging will prevent air from going through freely, which can result in your vacuum not turning on. 

Unclogging is a simple process. Follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the vacuum and unplug it.
  2. Empty the canister or the bag.
  3. Remove the filter inside. Every vacuum will be different, so you may or may not have a filter that can be easily removed. Some filters are flat, and others are cylinder-shaped. Read your manual before you try to follow this step. Skip the next step if your vacuum doesn’t allow you to remove the filter.
  4. Wash the filter. Run cold water over the filter until all of the dust is removed. You should be able to carefully squeeze it while it’s in the water to help loosen the dust. 
  5. Let the filter dry overnight. Let it air dry completely. Do not use a hairdryer or other device to speed up the process, as that could damage the filter and make it unusable. 
  6. If you have multiple filters, repeat steps 3 – 5 for each one. 
  7. Unclog the hoses. Clogged hoses can be a common issue since the hoses are typically in the shape of a U. Lay the hose flat and shine a light through it. If you can’t see light coming out of the other side, then it’s probably clogged. Take a dull object like a broom handle and use it to push the dust out of the hose. Be careful not to damage the hose while doing this.
  8. Detangle the brush head. Hair, thread, and other objects can get tangled up in the brush head and will prevent it from spinning. Turn your vacuum over and remove as much of the debris as you can.
  9. Return the pieces back to their places.

After following these steps, test to see if your vacuum will turn on. If it still isn’t working, there is one more thing you try before resorting to replacing parts or the entire vacuum itself.

Test the Electrical Path

You can test the electrical path inside of the vacuum with a multimeter, which can measure currents and voltage. They are inexpensive and can be purchased on Amazon. You can troubleshoot any electrical device, including your car, so it might be worth it to invest in one since you can use it again.

To use it in your vacuum, you will need to take the vacuum apart so you can access the circuits on the inside. Begin with the circuit closest to the plug and check each one as you head toward the motor.

You can replace a broken circuit yourself, or you can take it to a repair shop to have it worked on.

The vacuum motor and fuses can also be replaced if you have the proper parts to do so. Fuses are inexpensive, but the parts for a new motor might be pricey and difficult to repair. If you have to replace the entire motor or a part of the motor, you might want to consider buying a new vacuum.

Final Thoughts

You can easily troubleshoot your vacuum and fix basic problems. Only buy a new vacuum if the repair costs and effort are the price of a new vacuum. If you aren’t certain that you can successfully repair the vacuum after buying the pieces, then it’s probably wiser for you to buy a new one. 

If a repair shop is going to charge the price of a new vacuum to fix yours, then that would be a good reason to invest in a new one. Of course, you need to consider the lifespan of your vacuum, as well. A new vacuum should last you a few years at a minimum. Will the repairs give you a few more years?

Recent Content