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Vacuum Cleaner Repair Basics

Most vacuum cleaners don't clean properly because the belt needs to be replaced or because the vacuum cleaner is clogged with debris. I’ll cover a few basic troubleshooting steps to help you repair your vacuum cleaner in these situations. This article assumes you’re vacuum cleaner isn’t making any unusual noises. If that is the case, you should probably bring it to a professional vacuum cleaner shop for repair.


If the vacuum sound like it normally does and it still doesn’t pick up, you probably need to replace the belt. First of all, don’t use your hand to confirm that the roller is spinning. Before you bring you vacuum in for repair or change the belt yourself, turn the vacuum on and lay it down sideways. Check to see if the roller is spinning. If it's spinning, turn the vacuum off. Stand it up and turn it back on. Do you hear the roller spinning. Some belts stretch over time. If the roller was spinning when the vacuum was on it’s side and stops when the roller has some pressure on it (your carpet), change the belt. If you live near a vacuum cleaner shop, call and ask them how much they sell the vacuum belt you need. Then ask them how much they charge to change it. This is usually an inexpensive service.

A clogged vacuum cleaner usually sounds "clogged". The noise the vacuum normally makes will seem muffled. If you have an upright vacuum that was purchased in the last few years, this should be an easy repair.

First, Unplug Your Vacuum. Then change the vacuum bag or empty the dirt cup. If the bag is filled up more than halfway, this could reduce your suction. Throw out the bag. Never try to reuse a vacuum cleaner bag. Never try to repair an vacuum cleaner bag with tape. Only use new vacuum cleaner bags. Ok, the bag is gone. Look at the area that hold the dirt cup or vacuum bag. Remove any debris. Look for a filter in this area. If you find a filter make sure it's relatively clean. A clogged filter will shorten the life span of your vacuum. Make sure your filter is back in place or replaced, and reinstall the vacuum bag or dirt cup.

A lot of the current style upright vacuum cleaners have attachments and a hose onboard. If you have a vacuum hose on your upright, pull it out like your going to vacuum with it. Look at the area you removed the hose from. Remove any debris. I recommend wearing gloves, and try not to use any sharp tools like a needle nose pliers that might puncture your vacuum hose.

For the final step in this vacuum cleaner repair, place the vacuum in a position where you have a birds eye view of the bottom plate. You can usually see if there is any debris that requires removal. If you don't know how to access this area of the vacuum cleaner, try to find your manual or go online to the vacuum cleaner manufacturer’s site. An article on how to change the vacuum belt will probably show you how to gain access to any debris in the bottom of the vacuum. After going through this "3point check", try out the vacuum cleaner again. Again, if the vacuum still seems clogged, turn it off right away. If there is still a problem, I would recommend you bring the vacuum cleaner to a professional for repair.

There are certain vacuum cleaners that I would recommend you don’t attempt to repair. Dyson and and Fantom can be difficult for the average person to work on. Coupled with the price of these vacuums, you don’t want to take a chance of breaking something else. I would also recomend that you avoid any vacuum cleaner repair that deals with electrical problems.

DIY Vacuum Cleaner Repair Guides:

Electrolux Vacuums - DIY type info for changing an Electrolux vacuum belt on several of the older Electrolux vacuum cleaners.

Kirby Vacuum Help - How to change a Kirby vacuum belt. 2 sets of belt changing guides depending on which Kirby vacuum cleaner you own.

Simplicity Vacuum Guides - Belt changing instructions for a couple of Simplcity vacuum cleaners and a quick guide when for Simplcity vacuum cleaner bags.

Oreck XL Vacuum - Oreck XL belt change and unclogging information. Oreck vacuum bag guide for upright vacuum bags.

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