Why do Vacuums loose suction

Vacuum filter with dust particles and hair

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The importance of vacuum cleaners has grown year on year to become a staple piece of cleaning equipment, not only in commercial spaces but also households. Like all machines, vacuum cleaners are bound for maintenance, some more often than others depending on the quality of the machine and the Why nature of use. Nevertheless, like everything in our modern world, they still require cleaning and maintenance.   

One of the biggest problems people have about vacuum cleaners is why they lose their suction over time.   

Vacuum cleaners come in all shapes sizes from small stick vacuums such as Dyson and Shark to commercial cleaning systems like Sebo and Pacvac to large industrial cleaning systems such as Delfin and Nilfisk. All these systems face the same challenges when it comes to suction loss.  

Wet vacuums designed specifically for wet cleaning applications such as Kaivac’s Univac are a slight exception to the rule, they use water as the filter so if used as designed suffer little to no suction loss.

Dealing with the problem

Starting with the most common reason for suction loss, a full bag or clogged up filter. These are easily rectified by replacing the bag and cleaning or replacing the filter. Ensure that the replacement bag you are using is suitable to your machine as there are so many different types and models and that the bag is always installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some vacuum manufactures such as Dyson claim that their filters are for life, while filters can last a long time if cleaned regularly, its near impossible to wash or blow out all the debris they catch. 

Next on the list of things to check are blocked hoses. Generally, this is very noticeable. While using the vacuum, it will lose suction over a very short space of time, maybe with a half-done job. Depending on your vacuum, the methods for unclogging a vacuum hose will vary. The easiest way to unclog is to use the vacuum itself. Unplug the hose from each end and turn it around, holding the handle end against the vacuum unit to suck out the blockage. If this does not work, try pushing a broom handle up the vacuum hose and push the blockage out. In addition to blocked hoses are cracks or gaps, these gaps mean that the air does not have to get sucked through the vacuum head, instead air is sucked in from these cracks which means less suction where it’s needed. 

​While these are the most common reasons for why vacuum cleaners lose their suction, it is not the only reason. Vacuum cleaners lose their suction because they get clogged, but not only in the ways explained above. The entire vacuum system gets clogged up due to the nature of its job – sucking up all manner of debris, soils and hair and other sticky material. While most of this debris gets caught by the filter/bag where they are supposed to, some gets caught in the cracks of the hose or stuck to the sides of the vacuum inlet. This material creates turbulent air flow and is why vacuum cleaners lose their suction over the course of their life. 

How buildup affects your vacuum

The air flow within the vacuum should be smooth or laminar. It is like a river. If a river has fewer pebbles and rocks, the water flowing through it is smooth. On the other hand, rivers with larger of rocks, pebbles, and boulders create rough river channels and slows the river down.   

To make your vacuum cleaner function properly again, you will have to take away all the restrictions. Ideally, all parts should either be changed or cleaned to ensure a laminar flow.   

The whole system gets covered in dust, so you need to take away all the dirty and sticky stuff beginning in the head, the poles, the hose, and the ridges. You also need to clean the filter bag and housing of the filter. Again, it is very important to make sure that airflow runs as smooth as possible.  

You will want to make sure that all the other parts, such rotating brushes which often collect hair that can wind around the drive parts, are thoroughly cleaned and still fully functional. Clean them regularly or replace the parts if needed.  

If you do all these things, then your vacuum cleaner should almost be working like new. It is an irony but cleaning the cleaning machine is necessary to prevent your vacuum cleaner losing its suction and to keep it cleaning well. 

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