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Vacuum Won’t Stay On

If your vacuum won’t stay on, there are several possible causes for this. It should be a simple fix. If you’re not able to fix it yourself, you might need to take the vacuum to be repaired or invest in a brand new vacuum.

If your vacuum won’t stay on, try the following:

  • Let it rest for an hour if you have been using it.
  • Make sure the outlets are working.
  • Make sure the batteries are receiving charge and are holding their charge.
  • Unclog the hoses.
  • Clean the filters by rinsing with water and drying for 24 hours.
  • Detangle the roller in the vacuum head.

The most common issue that causes a vacuum cleaner to run turned off is that it’s getting overheated due to being used for too long. Continue reading to learn more about how to prevent this and how to resolve this issue as well as others.

Is It Overheating?

The first factor to consider when you’re trying to determine what’s causing your vacuum to not work is how long you have been using it. Have you just plugged in it for the first time today, or have you been using it for an hour or so? 

Many vacuums have a shut-off feature that will force the vacuum to turn off when it begins to get too hot. If the vacuum overheats, it can cause damage to the motor, and you won’t be able to use it again. This is why manufacturers put an automatic shut-off feature on their vacuums.

Turn off your vacuum and let it sit idle for no less than an hour. This is plenty of time for it to cool down completely. If your vacuum continues to shut off after using it even after you’ve let it cool down, you probably have other issues that need to be taken care of.

Clogged hoses and full collection canisters or bags could be the reason your vacuum is overheating. Many vacuums won’t work correctly if the airflow is blocked, even if it’s only a partial blockage. While you let your vacuum cool down, empty out the canister or bag.

While you let your vacuum cool down, use this time to check other problematic areas mentioned in the following sections. Do note that cleaning filters require 24 hours of dry time, so you can check the filters last if your vacuum continues to shut off after you’ve checked the power sources and cleaned out the hoses.

Power Issues

One of the reasons your vacuum might have intermittent power is because it’s not receiving enough power. This can be a simple fix, but it might require you to purchase new batteries if you’re using a cordless vacuum.

Corded Vacuums

If your vacuum plugs into the wall, you will need to make sure the outlet is fully functioning. Start by making sure the plug is fully pushed into the wall. It’s possible that the plug was partially pulled out of the wall if someone tripped over the cord or if the cord was stretched out a little too far while you were moving the vacuum.

Next, make sure the outlet is fully functional. You can test it by plugging in a lamp, a hairdryer, or a phone cord. If the lamp or hair dryer turns on or your phone begins to charge, then that means it’s working properly. So, the power most likely isn’t the issue.

Cordless Vacuums

Cordless vacuums rely on batteries that must be charged. As with any battery-powered device, you must allow the batteries to charge completely before you use your vacuum.

Make sure the charging station is plugged in. Then, you need to make sure that the batteries have a good connection to the charger and are receiving a full charge. Use a dry cloth to wipe down the contacts of both the battery and the charger to remove any dust that might prevent full contact from being made.

Next, consider the age of the battery. Any battery will lose capacity over time. When a battery is new, it can reach 100% charge. But, over time, it will only be able to reach 90% or 80% and will continue to hold less. If your battery is old, you will probably need to replace it.

Clogged and Tangled Parts

The hoses, bag or canister, filters, and the rolling brush in the vacuum head can all get clogged and tangled with debris. These blockages can be the culprits of your vacuum overheating if that is, in fact, the issue with your vacuum. It’s important to unclog these areas frequently, especially if you use your vacuum regularly, so you can avoid overheating and damaging your vacuum.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on May 23, 2020.

Hoses and Collection Bag or Canister

Many vacuums have U-bend hoses that curve down and back up again on the back of the vacuum. These are quite prone to clogging since there are many nooks and crannies for pet hair and dust to collect in. 

Use a thin, long object to stick into the hose to push out the debris. Don’t use anything sharp, and be careful when you do this, so you don’t break the hose.

If the collection bag or canister is full, this might also cause your vacuum to turn off to prevent overheating. Empty the canister or bag and make sure there isn’t anything left behind.


Depending on the model of vacuum you have, you might have one or two filters that need to be cleaned frequently. Your vacuum’s manual will show you where they’re located, but they’re usually around the collection bag or canister or somewhere at the top of the vacuum. Again, this is dependent on the type of vacuum you have and which brand it is.

You should rinse the filters pretty frequently. If you use your vacuum weekly, it’s probably best to rinse them monthly, especially if you have allergies and rely on your vacuum to remove irritants.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on May 23, 2020.

To clean the filter, run it under some cold water until the water comes out clean. Avoid using soap or detergent. You can use your fingers to help get chunks of debris out of it, if necessary. If the filter is pleated, don’t touch it because this could damage the pleats.

Allow the filter to air dry for 24 hours before putting it back into your vacuum. You may need a little more time if it isn’t completely dry.

Rolling Brush

The rolling brush in the head of the vacuum is prone to get tangled with hair. Turn your vacuum over to see if that has happened. You can use scissors to cut the hairs to make them easier to remove. If you have difficulty detaching the rolling brush, you can use a coin to help you open it up.

Some vacuums have flaps around the rolling brush that can get caught between the brush and the vacuum head. You can fix this by removing the brush and moving the flaps back into place. 

Final Thoughts

Your vacuum should work after you follow the steps in this article. If the vacuum still only has intermittent power, it could be an electrical or motor issue. You can take your vacuum to a repair shop to get it fixed or attempt to repair it yourself. Many vacuum manufacturers supply replacement parts so you can fix your vacuum yourself. 

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on May 23, 2020.

You might need to invest in a new vacuum if the problem is too technical to get repaired or if the vacuum is pretty old.