Last week I went to vacuum my floors and the darn vacuum was barely picking anything up. It was so frustrating but I knew that my vacuum had a lot of life left in it. It just needed a little TLC. So I went on Amazon, ordered a few parts and was able to increase vacuum suction by 35%! If you end up in a similar situation, here are a few things that you can try before you throw out your vacuum and get a new one.
How to Increase Vacuum Cleaner Suction
Here are the steps that I recommend to increase your vacuum suction. Some are standard maintenance and others are issues that you may or may not have encountered.
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Step 1 – Empty your vacuum
Ok, so I know that this is obvious but it’s like when IT asks you if you’ve tried restarting your computer before they assess the issue. Make sure that you regularly empty your vacuum cleaner.
Step 2 – Check the settings
Did you know that many vacuum cleaners have multiple settings for suction power? I have the Shark Rotator and it has a little lever that you slide on the handle that adjusts the suction power. I don’t often mess with it but sometimes when my vacuum tries to eat my light rugs I have to adjust it. If your vacuum is set to a lower suction power just adjust it to max and see if that fixes your problem.
Step 3 – Clean your Vacuum
That’s right, you should actually clean your vacuum (does that make you a vacuum cleaner?) 😉
Cut the hair off the rotating brush
The brush on my vacuum gets clogged up with hair all the time so every few months I use scissors to cut off the hair and string that is wrapped around the brush.
Check for clogs
While you’re at it, check the hose and other areas for any blockage. There may be something caught up that is blocking air flow.
Clean the gaskets
Wipe the gaskets down to ensure an air tight connection at any of the joints with gaskets.
Step 4 – Change the Filters
If your vacuum has filters you’ll want clean and replace the filters per the manufacturers recommendations. The Shark Rotator has 3 different filters. I definitely notice a difference in suction after I change the filters.
Filter (1) HEPA Filter – New Left, Used Right
Filter (2) – New Left, Used Right (It’s totally gross, I’m sorry to show you this)
Filter (3) – Used Left, New Right
I took this photo after I had wiped down my vacuum and replaced the filters.
Step 5 – Check for air leaks
This was the main issue with my vacuum. I’ve had it for 9 years and over that time the hose has worn and cracked in a few places. I did my best to seal the cracks with electrical tape but that only worked for so long. Since I was past the point of tape fixes I finally bit the bullet and purchased a replacement hose. I don’t know why I waited this long. It was so easy to install and it wasn’t very expensive.
Hose before (notice the electrical tape LOL)
Replacement hose installed
I’m an engineer so I of course needed some data to confirm if these 5 steps actually made a difference. Don’t make fun of me for this…I can’t help it! 😉 While my test set up wasn’t perfect, it worked. I used a small plastic container and filled it with stones one by one until the vacuum handle could no longer lift it.
Before I did any maintenance on the Shark Rotator vacuum cleaner it was able to lift 27.44 oz (1.7 pounds). Honestly, I was impressed that it could lift that much because when I attached the handle wand and used the attachments it wasn’t picking much of anything off of my floor. The bottom of my wand is pretty worn out so my test method didn’t work with the wand attached.
After cleaning my vacuum, replacing the filters and replacing the hose it was able to lift 37.14 oz (2.32 lbs). That’s a 35% increase! It’s definitely noticeable too. Especially when I use the wand and the attachments. I hate vacuuming so these small fixes were totally worth it to reduce the amount of time that I spend vacuuming and actually pick up all of the dirt, dust and dog hair.
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Before you go and throw out your current vacuum cleaner try these 5 steps and let me know if you were able to increase the suction!