You switch the vacuum on and you’re stuck with lacklustre suction that leaves you thinking of better days when the power didn’t, well, suck. Your vacuum cleaner isn’t much use if it can’t do its job well, but the good news is that you don’t have to head out and buy a new one.
Most of the time, the problem is a simple one that you can fix yourself.
This guide takes you through the simple and practical knowledge required to fix your vacuum cleaner and get its suction back on track.
Most of these techniques only take a short while to perform, so you don’t have to worry about spending loads of time cleaning out and tweaking various sections.
- A Guide to Vacuum Suction Improvement
- To Conclude
A Guide to Vacuum Suction Improvement
In this guide, you will find that each of the solutions can be performed by you at home. Nothing needs to be sent off for repairs, and you can test multiple methods out in one day. See which one of these is causing your vacuum cleaner trouble.
1 Method One: Use the right setting
One of the most basic reasons why vacuum cleaners do not suck dirt as effectively as they should is because people use the wrong setting for the type of floor that they are vacuuming.
For example, floors made from hard materials such a tile and wood (even vinyl and linoleum) should use the lowest setting in order to seal the vacuum closest to the floor, delivering the most powerful suction.
The main rule is that the lower the carpet pile, the closer the setting should be to bare floor setting. If your vacuum does not work the way it should, try to adjust the settings and see if that will help solve the problem.
2 Method Two: Change the bag and filter
If changing the settings does not work, the next possible reason for the loss of suction power is a full bag or a dirty filter.
Bagless vacuums usually have a fill line at the front which will help determine when the dirty contents should be emptied out. Upright and canister vacuums also have these indicators.
Making sure that dirt and debris do not go beyond these lines will assure you that your machine will work the way they should and that they will continue to pick up stuff from the floor. If you have a bagged model, check the bag as this is likely full and needs to be changed.
The filter needs to be checked on a monthly basis to see if it needs to be washed, and absolutely washed every three months if you have forgotten to check. A full and clogged filter can cause a complete loss of suction.
Hold the filter under cool running water and rinse all of the grime off it. Then, leave it on the side until it is completely dry before putting it back in the vacuum. It’s that simple to clean a filter, but we do have a more detailed guide on the topic that you can use.
3 Method Three: Unclog the hose
If that still does not work, then the problem could lie in your unit’s hose. Maybe the bag and filter are not clogged but the hose is.
A clogged hose means that nothing is getting in or out, no matter how hard you try or how high the suction level is. Switch off your vacuum cleaner and detach the hose for a better look.
The most common method for getting rid of large blockages is to use a broom handle to push them out. This is an effective technique that doesn’t run the risk of you damaging the hose or any cabling that might be inside it.
For non-electrical hoses, you can rinse the interior under running water to remove any loose debris or hair. Another popular method is to hold the hose in a U-shape, add water and detergent, then place your hands over the openings and shake it.
This allows the detergent to remove sticky debris, so when you rinse it you end up with a much cleaner hose.
4 Method Four: make sure it is airtight
Another reason why your vacuum cleaner is not sucking dirt the way they should is that it probably isn’t airtight. From the name itself, vacuums need to make sure that very little air escapes the system so that it is able to function properly.
This usually happens when the hose or attachments are not secured as tightly as they should be to the base. Also, check out other pieces that are joined together to see if they are installed correctly. Push them into their proper place and make sure that they do not easily fall off.
5 Method Five: Change the rubber belt
Upright vacuum cleaners use a rubber belt to help rotate the brushes, which in turn collect the dirt. Due to constant use, the belt could eventually wear and break thus resulting in a loss of suction power. To fix this, simply remove the old rubber belt and replace it with a new one.
If you have to use the machine immediately and a new one cannot be obtained, you can also turn the belt inside out and use it until you replace it with a new one. However, this means you can’t use the vacuum as regularly so that you don’t risk damaging the belt further.
Here’s a quick step-by-step for fixing a broken rubber belt:
- Flip the floorhead over and unscrew the bottom panel so you can remove the brush bar
- Remove the old belt from the brush bar and the drive pulley (near the wheels)
- Replace it with the new belt and put everything back together
Once you have your replacement belt, it really is that simple. The other massive advantage is that a replacement belt is usually less than a fiver, which means it is one of the cheapest repairs you will ever have to make. Just remember that the method may vary slightly between brands.
6 Method Six: Clean the rollers/brush bars
These are the very heart of your vacuum cleaner’s power, reaching right into the carpets and also providing hard floors with a soft touch. When these get clogged, suction and cleaning power are both massively reduced – the main culprit usually being hair.
All you need to do is flip the floorhead over and take a look at the underside. Is the roller full of hair? Then this is likely your issue. If needed, remove the plate on the underside of the vacuum before taking a pair of scissors (or a knife) and cutting the hair off the rollers. It’s that simple.
If you don’t have a brush bar, take some time to check the bristles around the edge of the floorhead for hair and debris. You can also check the airway, removing any debris that might be inside so that the passageway is clear.
Can the Vacuum Cleaner Battery Cause Loss of Suction?
Yes, the battery can cause a lack of suction. If it starts running out of charge, many models will also experience a loss of suction until it is depleted.
Similarly, if a battery is coming to the end of its lifespan, you may also find that the suction is less than it was. A battery that is overheating can also cause this, so make sure you take care of your vacuum battery.
What’s the Most Common Blockage?
The most common vacuum cleaner blockage is something being lodged in the hose – especially socks and other small pieces of clothing. It’s amazing what we don’t notice when we are cleaning the floor.
Thankfully, this is also one of the easiest to rectify, as you will have seen in the above guide.
How Long Should My Vacuum Last?
Your vacuum cleaner should last a good eight years, if not ten. Some brands, like Miele, have even made their vacuum cleaners able to last up to 15 years if treated well.
The key to a long life for a vacuum cleaner is care and maintenance.
How Do I Find the Suction Power of a Vacuum?
The suction power of vacuum cleaners is usually measured in Air Watts (aw). You can usually find this information on the manufacturer’s website or in the owner’s manual that comes with the vacuum cleaner.
As a rule, anything on or over 100aw is considered very good.
If all of the methods above fail, it’s time to send your vacuum cleaner in for repair or recycle it and pick up a new model (something we can help with). However, the vast majority of the time you will find that it is a very simple issue with an even easier solution.
Let us know how you got on with our little tip and tricks for improving the suction in your vacuum cleaner. We love hearing from you and would enjoy reading about your experiences in the comment section below.
Gemma Tyler is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for consumer publications. She has tested and reviewed a wide range of household items from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and dehumidifiers to steam irons. Her attention to detail and exhaustive testing certainly makes her an expert in her field.