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If your vacuum cleaner has lost suction, stopped picking up dirt, or stopped working completely, there are a few simple things you can do at home that might bring it back to life.
When vacuum cleaners lose suction, it's usually down to a handful of common problems: a tangled brush bar, clogged filters, an overflowing dust container or blocked airways. Fixing these can instantly and dramatically improve your vac's cleaning power. This guide explains the quick fixes to try if your vacuum cleaner has lost suction.
Following these simple maintenance tips could save you up to £80 on a repair, according to quotes we got for simple repair jobs from Which? Trusted Traders in June 2018, and potentially save you the cost of a new vacuum cleaner too. Read on for step-by-step maintenance guidance to get your vacuum feeling, and cleaning, like it's brand new again.
Turn your vacuum cleaner floor head over and examine the floor head:
Depending on the model, you'll either need to carefully cut along the brush bar and pull the hair out with your hands, or, if your vacuum has a removable brush bar, pull it out and then cut away hair and fluff and pull it off before reinserting.
One of the most common reasons for a loss of suction, or the motor cutting out intermittently, is clogged up filters.
There are two filters on nearly every vacuum cleaner:
You should clean these two filters regularly, usually at least once a month. Check your manual for advice on where the filters are and how to clean them, as it can differ by model. Common types include:
If your vac is chock full of dust, it will have an effect on cleaning power. We test vacuum cleaners when they are empty, and again when they have some dust and debris in them, to see if they'll keep cleaning once you've used them a few times. In nearly all cases suction drops when the bag or container is full of dust, sometimes by as much as 30%.
Ideally, empty yours after every use - particularly if the dust capacity is less than a litre (common on cordless vacuums). Check where the max fill line is on the canister - you might be surprised to find it only around a third of the way up. So when your vac's dust container looks visibly full, it almost certainly is well overdue being emptied.
Replacement bag costs can add up, so you'll want to get the most out of each dust bag on a bagged model. But if you're finding suction levels dwindling, check the bag. If it's full up, switching it over to a fresh one can help restore suction quickly.
If none of the above has improved the performance of your vacuum cleaner, it's worth having a thorough check of the vacuum cleaner hose and / or cleaning wand for any possibly obstructions. Stray socks, clumps of hair and fluff or debris such as bottle caps may have been inadvertently sucked up and got lodged somewhere.
Use a torch to look inside the tube, and separate it from the floor head and vacuum body if possible to see if you can spot any obstructions.
If you have an upright vacuum cleaner and the spinning brush bar has stopped working, even after clearing any trapped hair and debris, it's possible the vacuum belt (which drives the brush bar on some models) has broken. The good news is that replacing the belt is relatively easy:
A replacement vacuum cleaner belt only costs a couple of pounds, and fitting it couldn't be much simpler. So it's worth checking your belt isn't broken before canning your vacuum.
Everyday maintenance is even more important if you have a . These generally have small capacities and can quickly clog up if you don't keep on top of emptying the canister and cleaning the brush bar / filters. You'll also need to take care of the battery if you want your vacuum to last.
Most cordless vacuums use Lithium-ion batteries, which have very different characteristics to old-style batteries. Many manufacturers only guarantee the battery on cordless products for a year, so it's important to look after yours to keep your cordless vacuum performing as it should.
Here are some top tips for looking after your cordless vacuum battery.
The best way to prevent any faults occurring on your vacuum cleaner, and to keep it cleaning as well as when you first took it out of the box, is through regular maintenance.
Keeping on top of these three jobs will make a big difference to the longevity and efficiency of your vacuum cleaner:
If none of the above steps have fixed the problem, your next port of call should be the manufacturer. Many manufacturers including Miele and Dyson have their own service centres that will diagnose and fix the issue with your machine. Some have video maintenance guides on their websites too.
If your vacuum cleaner is outside of its warranty, will be your next best bet. You will be able to find a Which? recommended vacuum repairer in your area who will help diagnose and fix the fault with your machine.
If it really is the end for your trusty vacuum cleaner and you need to buy a new one, make sure you pick from one of our or . We test more than a hundred popular vacuum cleaners from brands such as Bosch, Dyson, Hoover, Miele and Vax every year so we can recommend the very best for your needs.