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How to Know When You Need a New Vacuum

Vacuum not sucking? It might need replacing. Here's how to know when you need a new vacuum

Vacuums don't last forever — here are signs you need a new one

Vacuums can be an easy-to-use, no fear tool to clean your home, though they can sometimes cause more frustration than comfort when they sputter, cut out, or just don’t get the job done the way you need it to. If this happens often, it can be hard to tell if your vacuum is malfunctioning because it’s a couple of years old and just needs a quick fix, or if it’s actually dying. Here are some signs to help tell for sure if you need a new vacuum.

Is it making bad noises?

You may think the loud screeching, whirring, or roaring sounds are just a part of your vacuum’s charm, but it could mean that something’s clogged. Checking the nozzles and emptying the bag or chamber regularly is always a good way to check up on the life of your vacuum. If it is clogged, it’s usually nothing to worry about since it’s an easy fix, but if the sounds continue and there’s nothing in the nozzles or chamber, it might be a sign of the motor failing. Sometimes the grease on a motor can wear out, and create that blaring, grinding sound of metal on metal. In this case, it’s best to send off your vacuum for a repair, or replace it.

Is the suction power noticeably weaker?

This problem is a bit more complex, as there are quite a few tricks if you notice your vacuum cleaner is just not picking things up the way it used to. The first is always to empty the chamber. You can also check your surface setting on the vacuum regarding the carpet or floor you are vacuuming to make sure you’re using the correct setting. Lastly, you can check for any clogs, filters, or the brush roll to make sure nothing is stuck. If these don’t provide any suction relief, you may have a damaged vacuum belt, which can be bought and reinstalled, but if DIY repairs don’t work, save the trouble and get a new one.

Is it the wrong vacuum for your surfaces?

This may seem like a simple question, but it is a vital one. Though most vacuums have multiple surface settings, some vacuums work better than others depending on the rug, carpet or flooring, and sometimes, it may just be a bad match. For instance, if you notice the mobility of your vacuum is badly affected by your carpeting as it often gets stuck in the thick shag, it means your vacuum isn’t cut out for such a surface and you may need to get a stronger vacuum that can handle it. You may be using a stick vacuum for your carpets, which is a thin model that is better suited for cleaning light debris on surfaces such as hardwood floors.

Does it smell like something’s burning?

A burning smell coming from your vacuum is not only unsettling but unbearable. It might mean that there is a wheel or rotor that’s stuck, so check under your vacuum for anything that might look amiss. Hair, thread, or other debris could get caught and prevent the brush roller from turning properly. The vacuum belt could also be torn, heat-blasted, or otherwise damaged and could be causing the smell. Replace the belt, and if that doesn’t work and the smell still lingers, then your vacuum might be on its last leg.

Does it continue to overheat and cut out?

One of the most annoying signs of a dying vacuum is when it shuts off in the middle of the job and leaves you with a half-cleaned floor. As frustrated as you might be, the best thing is to take a break by unplugging your vacuum and letting it cool off. If you’ve left it to cool down and it still cuts out the next time you use it, it could be a sign that the motor or the thermal fuse is blown out. You can repair and replace a thermal fuse, but if you suspect your motor is dead, then trust your judgement.

Do you have blocked filters?

A very important part about vacuum use is regularly cleaning and changing your filters. Usually, blocked filters don’t mean anything too serious, but when they are blocked, your vacuum works harder than usual to do its job. This could in turn create other problems like more suction loss, or the overall malfunctioning of the motor. If you find yourself changing the filters constantly and notice these other problems, or if your vacuum’s abilities just don’t improve, then it’s time to replace your vacuum and start the search for that long-awaited, shiny new one.

Resources— Jones Sew & Vac, Remnant King

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