Vacuum Won’t Turn On? Check This First

Home Vacuum Zone is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

What do you do when your vacuum cleaner doesn’t turn on? Did you know that it is a common problem and is often fixed easily? In fact, some of the solutions may surprise you.

Nothing is more annoying than trying to vacuum your home, only to discover that your vacuum cleaner won't turn on. Let's explore some solutions for when this happens and see if any of them are in your control.

Why Won’t My Vacuum Turn On?

There are a few reasons why your vacuum cleaner will not turn on. Some are obvious, and some are not. Let’s start with the most simple.

Are you sure that there is power going to your vacuum?

The best place to start is at the wall outlet. Check to see if you actually plugged the vacuum in to the power outlet. This may sound silly, but you may be in such a routine that you forgot to plug the vacuum into the wall. 

If you didn't, then it's easy to fix. Simply plug your vacuum in, and you are ready to go. Don't worry; we have all kicked power cords out of the wall by mistake and then spent time trying to find the problem.

Vacuum cleaner won't turn on - electrical checks

Check the power is routing from your wall socket to the vacuum

Talking of power at the wall, are you sure that there is power there? It may be that the circuit breaker has tripped and you have to reset it. Is there a switch connected to that power source? Could someone have turned it off by mistake?

The best way to check is to plug something else into that wall. Perhaps a phone charger or radio. When you plug those in, is there power? If there isn't, then the problem is not your vacuum cleaner.

You should also check that the plug is all the way into the wall. It may sound silly, but if the plug is slightly out you might not be getting the full connection. Try pushing the plug fully in and see if that makes a difference.

What about the route to the vacuum?

If you have found that the wall has power, then check from the plug to the vacuum.

Check every part of your power cord to make sure that it is not damaged (of course, unplug it from the wall first). If you have any pets, then there is a chance that they could have chewed through the cable.

Check that there are no broken connections at each end too, where the power cord meets the plug or the vacuum.

The other thing to check is the power button on the vacuum. Sometimes the power switch is not fully pressed or gets stuck.

If this is the case, make sure to press it in fully. You should also do a visual examination to ensure that the switch is not damaged in any way. Does it look and feel the same?


cordless vacuum on carpet

Is your cordless vacuum dead?

Of course, you can skip checking the power outlet if you have a cordless vacuum. Instead, you may have a problem with the vacuum's battery.

The first step is to check the charge level of the battery.

Some battery powered models such as the Dyson V15 have a battery indicator on the vacuum itself. So if your Dyson is not holding its charge it should be obvious what the problem is.

Alternatively for some models you may need to connect the battery to the charger to check. 

If the battery is dead then try to charge it. However, vacuum cleaner batteries, like any batteries, do not last forever. They may start to not hold their charge for as long after only 2 years.

Depending on the age of your vacuum it may be time to replace the battery or the vacuum itself.

If the battery indicator shows there is remaining charge then your problem lies elsewhere. Check the connection of the battery to the vacuum to make sure it is solid.

Check The bag or Bin

full vacuum dust cup

A full dust cup or bag is a common cause of vacuum cleaner problems

In some models of a vacuum cleaner, the vacuum will not turn on if the bag or canister is full.

Even if your bag is not full, it may be worth emptying or replacing it and trying to turn on the vacuum again.

If there is any blockage in airflow, the vacuum may not work. The reason for this is to prevent the vacuum motor from being strained and causing any internal damage.

Check the Instruction Manual

Check your instruction manual too. Some modern vacuums come with a safety shutoff which will disable the motor if it becomes too hot.

If you have been recently using your vacuum cleaner for a long time, then that could be the problem. Place your hand on the casing near the motor.

Overheating Shut Off

Does it feel hot? The vacuum may have automatically shut itself off. Wait ten minutes and try turning the vacuum on again. Of course, if you have not recently been using the vacuum, this cannot be the problem.

Brush Roll Issues

Vacuum won't turn on - brush roll check

A clogged brush roll could be the reason your vacuum won't turn on

Check the brush roll at the suction head too. If that roller is tangled and will not spin, that could be a reason why the vacuum cleaner will not turn on. It's common for hair to get tangled here, unless you have a vacuum with an anti-hair wrap brush roll.

If you can hear power going into the motor but the vacuum is still not working, then turn the vacuum off and clean or untangle the brush roll and beater bar. Once you have done so, turn the vacuum back on and see if the problem is fixed.


vacuum cleaner filter blocked

dirty filters will impair you vacuum's performance and it might not start

Are there any blockages? If the air cannot flow, the vacuum may not switch on. Check the suction head, filters, and any hoses and wands. If you find a blockage, then you may just have solved your problem. 

If you find a tube or hose blockage, then you need to take steps to clear the hose. This should be something you can do at home without having to take it in for service or repair.

Disconnect the hose and push a thin broom handle through the hose to push the debris causing the blockage out of the end. You should be able to see through the hose when complete.

It's important to do regular maintenance on your vacuum to prevent blockages.

The dust cup or bag needs to be frequently emptied or changed and filters need to be cleaned. If you don't do this then the filters will get clogged with hair and dirt.

A full bag or bin and dirty filters will impair the airflow, reducing suction. As a result the vacuum may not start.

The electrical path

The other thing which you can do is to follow the electrical path of your vacuum.

You will need to have a multimeter and a little bit of expertise for this, but it can save you a lot of money in diagnostics. You will need to open up your vacuum and check for any open circuits.

Start with the circuits which are closest to the plug. Work your way from there to the motor. If you find a broken circuit, then you can replace that part of the circuit by yourself or take it somewhere to be replaced.

Are there any fuses in your vacuum? Those are something to check too.

If there are fuses, then perform a visual check and use your multimeter to check if the fused connection has been broken. Fuses are easy to replace and inexpensive.

If you have the skills, you can also do a visual check of the motor and replace any broken parts. If the problem is the motor, then it is often easier and more affordable to buy a new vacuum than to try to fix it or take it to a professional to be fixed.

The most common fixes for your vacuum are common sense. If you cannot fix the vacuum by yourself in a few minutes, then there is a good chance that you are going to need to replace some of the electrics or a motor part.

Leave a Comment