How to Fix a Vacuum That Lost Suction

Does your vacuum suck at sucking? Before you throw out your machine and spend a ton of money on a new one, check out these 5 tips from Domestic CEO to diagnose and effectively fix your sickly vacuum.

Amanda Thomas
5-minute read
Episode #80

Reason #3: The Hose Is Clogged

If changing an over-full vacuum bag or emptying the canister didn’t resolve the issue, there may have been so much stuff trying to get into the vacuum that it clogged the hoses leading to the bag or canister. If you remove the bag or canister and look into the hole where they attach to the vacuum, you might see a clog of hair. If you do, grab some tweezers and start pulling out hair chunks. If it doesn’t seem like you are getting all of it, you can detach the hose from the vacuum and work on it that way too.

If you discover there is a clog in the middle of the hose where you can’t reach with your fingers or tweezers, there are 2 ways that I have found to remove stubborn clogs. The first is to completely remove the hose, take it outside, tightly hold onto the unclogged end, and spin the hose around as fast as you can. The centrifugal motion will force the clog to the end of the hose so you can pull it out. The other way I’ve discovered to unclog a vacuum hose is to use a long stick, like a broom handle. Carefully start to feed the stick into the vacuum hose. When you get to the clog, begin to push it through until it pops out the end of the hose. With either of these methods, do them outside and have a trash can ready because there’s usually a poof of loose dust that will release with the clog.

Reason #4: The Vacuum Isn’t Airtight

Just like its name, a vacuum relies on the machine creating a vacuum to suck up dirt from the floor. If air is escaping the system, it can’t pull the stuff up. 

If the vacuum isn’t full of dirt, and the hoses aren’t clogged, the next common reason that your vacuum isn’t working well could be because it’s not airtight. Just like its name says, a vacuum relies on the machine creating a vacuum to suck up dirt and scraps from the floor. If air is escaping the system, it can’t pull the stuff into the bag or canister. While this sounds very technical, the most common reasons for this happening are actually no-brainer mistakes that we make.

The first place to check is where the hose connects to the vacuum. If you have pulled the hose out to use the attachments, you may not have gotten it back in the hole of the base tight enough. If there’s a gap for air to get around the closure, your vacuum won’t pick up much from the floor. Check that the pieces are securely put together. If that looks good, check to make sure your vacuum bag is securely attached to the vacuum. If you didn’t push it on far enough when installing the vacuum bag, it may have fallen off and therefore there’s no suction being created.

If you continue having problems, you can always use a little duct tape on the folds of the bag to ensure it's sealed airtight. 

Reason #5: The Roller Is Clogged

If you’ve checked the bag and hoses, and everything appears to be good, the final step is to flip your vacuum over to check the roller. If the roller is wrapped with hair or yarn from your carpet, it won’t be able to turn or brush through the carpet and fail miserably at picking up dirt. If you do find that the roller of your carpet is clogged and furry-looking, this can easily be fixed with a sharp pair of scissors. Starting at one end of the roller, snip through the hair and gunk a little at a time. The furry mess will come off in small pieces, so as you cut, start pulling it away and tossing it in the trash. Once you are done, flip the vacuum over and see if it is working better.

At this point, if your vacuum still isn’t working, you may want to consider taking it to a vacuum repair shop. Call around to local repair shops to find out if they service your make and model. Vacuum repairs are often fairly inexpensive, but if you have a larger problem, it may be more cost effective to purchase a new vacuum. The person on the other end of the phone may be willing to do a little diagnosis over the phone before you lug it down to the shop. This won’t be incredibly accurate, but depending on your vacuum and what symptoms it has, they may tell you to skip the repairs and purchase a new one. 

I hope these tips help you solve your vacuum dilemmas. If you have any questions on trouble-shooting your vacuum woes, you can tweet me @thedomesticceo.

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

Vacuum images courtesy of Shutterstock.



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