Electrical Safety 101

How to Coax Your Vacuum Cleaner Back to Life

by David Hart

A vacuum cleaner may be the smallest appliance in the home, but it has an important role to play nevertheless. It's difficult to imagine how it was in the 'old days' when you had to crawl around on your hands and knees to keep the place tidy, so you've got to look after the humble vacuum cleaner at all costs. However, sometimes it is going to play up, and this always seems to happen on cleaning day, but before you give up all hope, maybe you can fix the issue yourself.

Removing Obstructions

As always, begin with the obvious. If it's been some time since you carefully emptied the bag or canister, make sure you do that first. Residue from hair, dust and food scraps can stick to the perimeter and congregate around the output shaft. Make sure that you rummage around in there so that all foreign particles are eliminated, and see if you can renew any suction.

Next, check to see that each tube or hose is free of any blockage. You should always unplug the appliance before you work on this, especially as you may have to use a bent piece of wire (or similar) to reach all the way in. Don't forget to check the handles of each brush as well, as residue can get caught in some inaccessible areas.

Damaged Hose

As you try to clear each hose of any obstruction, look at its condition carefully. While hoses are quite hardy, they are vulnerable to breakage, and a tear will cause a significant loss of suction. If you're honest, you may remember that you pulled sharply on the appliance last week so that it would clear an item of furniture and follow you on your cleaning journey. This type of behaviour is enough to cause this kind of damage.

Faulty Drive

If you're still stuck at this stage, then it could be something electrical. The drive belt may have slipped or jammed in place, and if so, you may also notice a burning smell.

Again, never dig around in this area when the appliance is switched on. By all means have a look, but you may need to call out a electrical appliance repair specialist for something technical like this.

Burned-Out Motor

Sometimes the motor itself may burn out simply because it has been working overtime to try and overcome those obstructions. This is not something that you can replace yourself and may be another reason to call in an expert to help you.