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My Upright Vac Doesn’t Suck

We understand that it’s disheartening when your vacuum cleaner doesn’t perform as it should or once did; surely that shouldn’t be the case? You’re absolutely right, it shouldn’t. Fortunately, a vacuum cleaner that has lost its ability to pick-up is really easily returned to full working order in the vast majority of cases.

Vax Expert says

“If your vacuum cleaner doesn’t seem to suck as well as it did, or not at all, there are three probable causes, some or all of which will be relevant to your cleaner. In simple terms, there is no fault that can cause the cleaner only to lose its suction. As long as the product still operates, either the filter (or bag for a bagged cleaner) is blocked, there is a blockage within the hose or cleaner itself, or the brushbar is not rotating on an upright vacuum.”

Blocked filters (or bag)

The filter(s) (or the bag if it’s not a bagless model) are the very heart of your vacuum cleaner. Without them it would soon break down, as dirt and debris would be able to reach the motor.

To prevent loss of suction, try to empty the dust container (or change the bag) and clean the filters regularly. Exactly how often you need to clean the filters will depend on usage, but as a general guide a weekly user should carry this out monthly, and a daily user should carry this out weekly. The majority of pre-motor filters are washable, so should be tapped against a hard surface to remove surface dust and then washed in plain, lukewarm running water only, before being given at least 24 hours to fully dry naturally. Other filters your cleaner may contain, generally known as post-motor filters, tend just to need a firm ‘tap’ to free surface dirt and are not usually washable. This is the time to familiarise yourself with the filter(s) in your model using the user guide. It can be a good idea for very regular vacuum users to purchase an additional set of filters, so that one set can be used whilst the others are washed and dried.

If your machine has a bag, this needs to be changed as soon as the machine loses suction. You may notice that the bag doesn’t quite completely fill before you start to lose suction. This is normal, and is due to the bag’s walls, which act as the filter, becoming clogged.

Blocked hose

Blockages in the hose are a common accidental event when vacuum cleaning, but easily dealt with! Your user guide is again a sensible place to check, to see where and how you can check for an obstruction. For a cylinder-style cleaner where you can remove the hose, you can drop a small rolled-up ball of paper through to check for an obstruction. If it doesn’t pass through, you know something is trapped. A broom-handle gently fed through the hose can then remove the blockage.

An upright vacuum cleaner may not have a removable hose, but their hoses are often see-through, allowing you to spot a blockage and prise this out. Again, a broom-handle can help loosen this.

Brushbar not turning

The brushbar on an upright vacuum cleaner helps to free dirt when vacuuming your carpet, so if this is not rotating then pick-up performance on carpets is likely to be reduced. If you need some help in getting this going again, start with the ‘My vacuum’s brushes have stopped spinning’ post on this Blog!

You may simply need to remove an obstruction and ‘reset’ the brushbar, or you may need to replace the drive belt powering this in a traditional-style model.

If, after doing all the above checks, you find that the suction is still not there, you should contact your vacuum cleaner’s manufacturer for further assistance.

Have these steps helped get your vacuum cleaner picking up again? Do you have any tips on maintaining your cleaner? Why not leave a comment and share your expertise!

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