Vacuums endure a lot of abuse; their electrical cords get yanked and caught on furniture, they're constantly exposed to dust and most people never bother to check that the roller brush isn't choked by hair. Despite this, vacuums often last for many years if you care for them properly. Here are some of the most common problems you'll see with your vacuum cleaner and how to fix them.
My Vacuum Won't Turn On
This is usually due to a faulty power cord; vacuum power cords undergo a lot of abuse compared to other appliances, since they tend to get stepped on, trapped under doors and are sometimes used to drag the vacuum around. This can unseat the power cord from the motor. You can try diagnosing this problem by pressing the base of the power cord into the vacuum while you attempt to turn it on, but you will need to take your vacuum to a vacuum repair shop to fix it.
My Vacuum Is Too Difficult To Push
In order to glide across the floor, the vacuum must have enough airflow between the roller brush and your carpet. Most vacuums have a carpet adjustment setting ranging from hard flooring to high-pile carpet that will slightly raise the roller brush in order to provide more airflow. Ensure that this adjustment setting is working by laying the vacuum on its side and seeing if the roller brush slightly changes position when you adjust the carpet height setting. If it doesn't, you should take your vacuum to a vacuum repair shop to have this fixed.
Another common issue in vacuums that don't have an adjustable suction strength setting is that they're too powerful to be used on newer ultra-soft carpeting. The carpet fibers get sucked into the roller brush and the vacuum becomes incredibly difficult to move on these types of carpets. If your vacuum doesn't have an adjustable power setting, you'll want to go to a vacuum dealer to replace your vacuum with one that does if you are planning to use it on ultra-soft carpets. Continuing to use a vacuum with a suction power that's too strong will ruin both your carpet and your vacuum very quickly as the carpet fibers are ripped out of the carpet and sucked into the vacuum.
My Vacuum Won't Suction
The most common causes of poor suction are clogged filters and hoses followed by obstructions on the roller brush. Most vacuums have at least one air filter that prevents dust from collecting on the blower motor. Some have an additional exhaust filter that prevents allergens from being circulated back into the air inside your home. Check the owner's manual for your vacuum to find and clean these filters. The clog could also be inside the vacuum hose; ribbed vacuum hoses tend to collect large amounts of hair and lint in their crevices and need to be periodically cleaned. Stretch the hose out as far as it will go and run water through it to remove any built-up lint and hair.
Hair often gets wound around the roller brush and needs to be periodically removed. The best way to do this is to cut away at the hair with a pair of sharp scissors to unwind it, making sure not to cut any of the bristles on the roller brush itself.
My Vacuum Is Smoking
After warning your vacuum about the dangers of tobacco use, check to make sure the belt connecting the roller brush to the vacuum motor hasn't become entangled with hair. This is the most common cause of a smoking vacuum motor, especially in households with multiple pets. As above, cut away the hair from the belt while being careful not to damage the belt itself.
Another possible cause is that dust has damaged the motor; usually this is due to a solid object such as a coin being sucked into the vacuum and ripping the air filter, allowing dust to enter the main body of the vacuum. Cleaning and repairing a centrifugal blower motor is a job best left to the professionals, so you should take your vacuum to a vacuum cleaner repair shop if your vacuum is smoking and you see rips in the air filter.