8 Ways to Fix a Vacuum with No Suction

Is your vacuuming failing to pick up dirt and debris? Follow these quick and easy ways to restore your vacuum's suction.

Vacuums are an integral part of maintaining a clean home. So, when a vacuum cleaner loses suction, dust, allergens, pet dander, and other debris can quickly accumulate. Whether you're on team robot vacuum or you like to take a more hands-on approach, any vacuum can lose suction for a number of reasons. Some reasons for vacuum suction loss are easy to pinpoint, while others require more digging to uncover.

Below, we've outlined 8 reasons vacuums lose suction to help guide you in fixing your vacuum.

<p>Getty Images / South_agency</p>

Getty Images / South_agency

How Vacuums Work

Most vacuums use a motor to create suction. The motor sits behind a canister or bag with a filter positioned between them to protect it from debris. The suction pulls debris through a series of rollers, tubes, and hoses, trapping it in the canister or bag in the process. The design is simple yet leaves plenty of room for problems, as a number of components can malfunction and lead to suction loss.

Related: The 8 Best Vacuums of 2023, According To Our Testing

Common Causes of Vacuum Suction Loss

1. Wrong Height Setting

That's right—your vacuum's suction loss could all come down to the height settings being inconsistent with the surface you're trying to vacuum. For instance, vacuuming a hardwood floor with the highest setting intended for thick carpet will lead to low suction, as a majority of the suction is being lost out the sides of the vacuum rather than being directed toward the floor. When in doubt, use the lowest height setting that still allows you to move the vacuum freely.

2. Full Bag or Canister

A vacuum's motor pulls air through the canister or bag, trapping any items it sucks up inside. The fuller this gets, the harder it is for air to pass through the debris, which can cause a noticeable drop in suction. This suction-drop effect is exacerbated when you're sucking up smaller particles, as they tend to block the airflow more severely. Regularly emptying a vacuum's canister or bag as you work will ensure suction stays at peak level.

3. Dirty Filters

A vacuum's filter is what prevents debris from being sucked directly into the motor. Typically made up of foam, paper, cloth, or a combination of materials, vacuum filters need to be cleaned occasionally in order for air to properly flow through the system. The method for cleaning a vacuum filter will vary from model to model. Some simply need to be tapped on a hard surface to knock the dust off, while others can be washed with water.

4. Clogged Hose

We've all been there: You're vacuuming up dirt and debris when all of a sudden the vacuum's suction goes away. You may even hear a thud-like sound or notice the vacuum's motor sounds strained. This is often the result of debris getting stuck in the hose, which blocks the airflow. Luckily, removing the hose will often reveal debris stuck at one of the two ends, which is easy to clear.

Related: 17 Things You Should Never Vacuum Up

5. Tangled Rollers

If your vacuum seems to have suction but continually leaves debris in its tracks, the issue likely lies in the rollers. Even tangle-free rollers get tangled with hair, string, rubber bands, you name it. Fortunately, most rollers are designed to pop out with the push of a button, which makes clearing the tangles easy. If yours has a more complicated removal process, you can likely cut away the tangled material using scissors and quickly be on your way.

6. Worn or Broken Belt

Many vacuum cleaners rely on a belt for operation. Just like the belts in your car, a vacuum's belt can wear and break over time, compromising your vacuum's function in the process. If this is the case, a replacement belt is the only fix. If you inspect your belt and find that it looks to be in good condition, it could still be jamming, which would drastically impact the vacuum's functionality. Inspect the belt and free it up if it's jammed. If necessary, replace the belt.

7. Cracked Hose

If everything you've inspected so far looks to be in working order, there's a good chance that the hose has a crack. Even a hairline crack in the hose can result in major suction loss, but it can be difficult to locate. Once you locate it, duct tape is your friend until you locate a replacement hose.

8. Worn or Broken Gaskets

Still no luck identifying your vacuum's suction loss? The problem is likely more complex than the simple fixes above. Worn or broken gaskets between parts can result in suction loss, as the vacuum relies on a tight seal to maintain its suction. Beyond this, small internal parts can break, causing malfunction and suction loss, making it very difficult to identify the problem. If you can identify the broken parts and feel confident in your repair skills, grab your tools and tackle the job yourself.


To avoid electrical shock, always unplug electric tools or remove batteries before attempting to work on them.

When to Contact a Professional

If none of the fixes above improved your vacuum's suction, it may be time to head to a repair shop. If your vacuum is a budget model, it probably isn't worth repairing and a replacement vacuum may be warranted. However, high-end, professional-grade vacuums are meant to be repaired. Consult with a vacuum repair shop to uncover your options.

For more Better Homes & Gardens news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Better Homes & Gardens.