Vacuum Cleaner Keeps Shutting Off? Here’s 7 Likely Causes

Vacuum Cleaner Keeps Shutting Off

If you’ve had issues with your vacuum turning off randomly, then we’ve got some helpful tips to solve your problems. Over time, vacuum parts start to deteriorate and break, causing your machine to turn off randomly. Another problem is your machine could be sucking up so much dirt and debris that it’s clogging important parts of your vacuum.

By knowing which parts to look at and how you can unclog your vacuum, you’ll be able to change what used to be a huge project into a simple task that takes you no time at all. 

Ready to get your vacuum working normally again? Then let’s dive right in. 

Woman using a vacuum to clean the carpet
Overheating usually occurs because the dust bag has not been emptied, filter has not been cleaned or there is a blockage in the floor tool, wand or bent hand piece.

Vacuum Cleaner Keeps Shutting Off? Here’s 7 Likely Causes

Example #1: The Motor Is Overheating

Vacuums use a powerful motor to suck up dust and dirt from the carpet, floor, or other surfaces. So, if your vacuum keeps shutting off it could be because the motor is overheating and needs time to cool down.

The reason a motor in a vacuum overheats is because it is clogged with dust and debris. This same dirt that your vacuum collects builds up in the motor. This can cause it to overheat when you turn on the machine.

One way that you can prevent this is by getting a bagged or sealed system for collecting all that dirt. The open-air model like Dyson vacuums has this system in place.

Another way to prevent this problem is by getting a vacuum with an automatically activated fan to help cool the motor down.

This can be especially helpful if you have many pets or kids, which makes it difficult for the vacuum to get enough time in between uses. 

Example #2: The Vacuum Suction Motor Doesn’t Work

The vacuum suction motor is a component in the vacuum cleaner that causes the fan to rotate, which creates the suction for your vacuum.

When it gets clogged it will cause the vacuum to randomly shut off because the motor will then overheat.

When you’re vacuuming and accidentally suck up a large item, it could potentially clog your suction motor. This can also happen if you have pets that shed a lot of hair.

As the hair gathers together, it creates a weave that ends up being pretty durable. The mat of hair can get stuck when getting sucked up by the suction motor and clog up the system.

The only real solution to taking care of your vacuum suction motor is to clean it regularly.

Make sure the vacuum is turned off and unplugged from the wall before turning it over so you can see underneath.

While wearing gloves, begin to unclog the suction motor by hand. You can use some kind of tool like a clothes hanger if you don’t want to use your hands, but make sure the hanger doesn’t damage any hoses or other materials.

Example #3: Vacuum Hose Needs Replacing

The vacuum hose, like the suction motor, can get clogged over time, causing the motor to overheat and stop running.

The only real difference is the hose can be more temperamental than the suction motor. You won’t know exactly when the hose is the problem because you will need to unplug it from the vacuum to see if there is something clogging the hose.

Sometimes it can be a coin that is perfectly stuck inside or other times it can be a large piece of paper. Over time, a buildup of materials may gather in the hose, and due to use, you will just need to clean it from time to time.

There should be two places where the hose connects to your vacuum. One is going to be near the suction area underneath the vacuum and the other is going to be near the bag where the dust and debris are being sent.

One thing you can do is press the hose with your fingers along the length of the hose to determine where the clog might be. You might even be able to jog the clog loose with just your fingers.

If you don’t know exactly where the clog is, you’ll have to unplug it from both ends to get a closer look.

The clog might also have a tear at some point, which would require you to buy a new one.

Example #4: The Motor Air Filter Is Clogged

The air filter is right around your motor and its job is to capture all the dirt and debris that is trying to make its way inside. The more dirt and other gunk that gets into the motor, the hotter it will get.

The filter is there to help cool the motor down by keeping all the bad stuff out. The only problem is the air filter can get clogged over time because it captures too much debris.

When that happens, you’ll need to check your owner’s manual because each vacuum will have a different procedure to move forward.

Sometimes, you’ll be able to take the filter out and give it a good wash so you can clean it from all the dirt.

If you don’t have this kind of vacuum, your only option will be to purchase some new air filters online. You’ll be able to find some good deals but make sure the filter is compatible with your vacuum cleaner before buying.

If the filter doesn’t fit exactly to size it won’t work properly and you’ll run into the same problems with your vacuum shutting off randomly.

Woman holding a vacuum in one hand and lint in the other
To fix a clog in the vacuum, whether it is a canister or bag, use your finger to feel for a clog. Pull as much of it out as you can and discard.

If you want to get any replacement part – or see how much one would cost – click to enter your model number in the search bar below. Our partners at AppliancePartsPros stock almost every part with free guides on how to install them.

Example #5: The Electrical Socket Is Damaged

As you’re vacuuming around your house you might have accidentally pulled on the electrical cord if you ran out of length or turned a corner.

When this happens it causes slight wear and tear on the electrical wires inside the cord. Especially if the cord is coming unplugged from the wall due to pulling.

Over time, the wires start to detach from themselves and they will cause the electrical currents to cut in and out. This is why your vacuum might be randomly turned off on you.

If you have a vacuum where the electrical cord can be replaced, consider yourself lucky. Most vacuums don’t have this option and the only way to fix it is by sending it to the repair shop.

Of course, if you have some soldering experience and feel confident getting the job done yourself, go for it. For most of us, you’ll have to use a professional.

The electrical issues aren’t anything to mess around with. Once you start experiencing these problems, you want to get them fixed right away.

When the wires become exposed they could end up shocking you and there wouldn’t be any way to know it’s coming.

Example #6: Using The Vacuum For Too Long

Another reason the vacuum could be turning off on you is that you’re using it for too long. The longer the motor has to run the more likely it is to overheat and shut off.

Motors only have a certain period of time they can constantly run before becoming too hot to continue. Houses with nothing but carpets might experience these problems depending on your square footage.

If you have a 1 or two bedrooms you shouldn’t have any problems even if you do have nothing but carpet. It’s only when you start getting to 4-5 bedrooms with stairs and common rooms that you might notice your vacuum getting too hot.

If you notice this, there isn’t really any way to cool it down other than leaving it turned off for a while.

You should notice at what point in your home the vacuum starts to go in and out and then plan your cleaning around the cleaning.

You should also turn your vacuum off when you are switching to different rooms to give it a little break in between uses. The more you can consider your usage, the longer you’ll be able to use it.

Keeping Your Vacuum On

You can keep your vacuum from shutting down randomly by performing consistent maintenance and checking the solutions in this list. Once you have a good checklist of possible issues, you’ll be able to keep your vacuum running no matter what the problem is. Thanks for taking the time to read and if you’re still not finding what you’re looking for, try the articles below for similar problems!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more