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Vacuum Tips & Tricks (FAQs)

Burning smell

If the beater bar isn't moving or smell something burning while vacuuming, it's likely that you have a broken belt that needs to be replaced.

This is a simple fix that a homeowner can do on their own. Vacuum cleaner belts can be purchased from most major retailers at a cost of $2.99 to $20, depending upon the model vacuum.

Loss of suction
If you have a bag vacuum cleaner, the first thing you should do is check to make sure your bag is not full and that it does not have a hole in it. Check the inside of the compartment that holds the bag to verify that dust and debris is not outside of the bag. If debris and dust is present in the bag compartment, it's time to change the bag because there is a hole in it.

If you have a bagless model vacuum, check to make sure your container does not need to be emptied. Check the seals on your container to verify they are intact and not cracked or dried out indicating they need to be replaced.

Most vacuum cleaners have multiple filters that can become clogged with dust. If these filters are clogged, the suction on your vacuum cleaner will not be as strong as it should be.

Check all the filters on your vacuum. If the filters are washable, remove them and clean them with plain water. Run under the water until the water coming out of the filter is clear. Do not use any cleaners or chemicals to clean your filter. Make sure your filters are completely dried prior to returning them to the machine for use. A wet filter can blow the motor on your vacuum.

If the filter is a paper model, like a Hepa filter, you will have to go to a local retailer to purchase a replacement filter.

If you have replaced or cleaned your filters and your vacuum still has a lack of suction, check all of your hoses for clogs. Most hoses can be completely removed to check for clogs. Don't forget to turn the vacuum upside down and check the intake near the beater bar (the rotating brush on the front of your vacuum) for clogs. As you inspect the hoses for clogs, also look at the condition of the hoses. If you notice dust buildup on the outside of the hose, you have a hole and will need a vacuum repair.

Clean the Attachments
Make sure the vacuum cleaner is unplugged before cleaning it. Once a month, use a damp cloth and mild detergent to wipe off any dirt from the casing, hoses, and attachments. After each use, vacuum the rug/floor attachment with the crevice tool or hose before putting away the machine.

Beater bar isn't moving

If the beater bar isn't moving or smell something burning while vacuuming, it's likely that you have a broken belt that needs to be replaced.

This is a simple fix that a homeowner can do on their own. Vacuum cleaner belts can be purchased from most major retailers at a cost of $2.99 to $20, depending upon the model vacuum.

Know Where to Look for Blockages

When blockages occur, unplug the unit and inspect the wand, hose, and beater bar, as well as the intake and exhaust ports to ensure that they are free of obstructions.

Unclog Loose Fibers and Threads

If the roller on the beater bar gets wound tightly with threads or clogged with fibers, cut them away with scissors or a seam ripper. Again, ensure the unit is unplugged before removing any obstruction.

Check the Vacuum Bags

Empty or change vacuum bags every week or as often as needed. Air travels through the bag, and as it fills, airflow and suction are significantly reduced. Do not trust a bag-full indicator light. Check the bag frequently and do not let it get more than three-quarters full.

Use a Bag to Empty the Bags
Change and empty cloth bags outdoors, or inside a large garbage bag if you must do it indoors. To minimize the spread of dust, you can place the vacuum bag inside of a large garbage bag, then hold the garbage bag closed with one hand while you shake the vacuum bag clean with your other hand.

Clean the Bin
If your vacuum has a bin, empty it and then rinse it with plain water only (never add detergent) and dry it thoroughly before replacing it. The inner cyclone, shroud, and cone should never get damp or wet. To remove lint buildup on the shroud, clean it with a dry cloth or brush.

Always Use a Filter
If your vacuum uses a replaceable paper filter, check it every week when you check the bag. Many filters can be rinsed clean, dried, and reused. A filter that is torn or very dirty should be replaced. A blocked filter will also prevent the free flow of air through the vacuum. Never use the vacuum without the filter. For HEPA filters, follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Replace the Motor Belt
When you notice that you need to go over the same area two or three times, it may be because the motor's belt has stretched. With most models, you can replace it yourself by buying a new belt from your vacuum's manufacturer and following the instructions on the package.

Store It in a Dry Space
To maintain the belt, wipe it with a paper towel or cloth. Because it could shrink, the belt should never be near water. Always store your vacuum in a temperate place so the belt doesn't become brittle and crack.

See a Professional
Once every two to three years, take your vacuum to a dealership or reliable repair shop for a professional cleaning and to have damaged parts replaced.