Is your vacuum sealer not vacuuming properly? You might want to double-check your bags.
Here are 6 fixes to try.

Domestic vacuum sealers are game-changers. Ever since they made their way into our homes, they have revolutionized the way in which we preserve our foods, and store important items. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who owns this appliance, and regrets having bought it.

Between their versatility, and the ease of use these machines boast, not owning one in this day and age makes no sense.

That being said, even with all their wonderful virtues, these units are not fail proof, which means that, from time to time, your vacuum sealer could cause you some trouble, and stop vacuuming properly. If you’re here, this is probably already happening to you.

Why?

There are several explanations to this issue. From a full drip tray, or a wet bag, to something more serious, like overheating. Whatever the case may be, one thing’s for sure, you need to fix your appliance as soon as possible.

In order to do this successfully, you need to know exactly what to lookout for, which is why I’ve prepared the list below. In it, you’ll find the most common causes behind this occurrence, and the simplest steps you can take to address each one of them.

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Fixing a Malfunctioning Vacuum Sealer

Before prying your appliance open, and trying to look for something broken inside it, we must consider external factors that could be contributing to the appearance of this issue.

More often than not, you’ll be able to fix your unit by looking at your bags, or giving it a good cleaning. Don’t get me wrong, some solutions on this list will require opening your machine, but only as a last resort.

Sealed vegetables
Vacuum sealing removes most of the oxygen. This prevents the chemical reactions that generate the build-up of bacteria.

#1 Dry Your Bag

Use a disposable kitchen towel to remove any excess moisture

The first thing I want us to consider, is the possibility of your bags being wet.

Regardless of what kind of food you’re trying to vacuum seal, failing to properly dry your bag before using your appliance, could compromise its ability to work as usual.

While logic would dictate that the high temperatures coming from your heating bar should be more than enough to shrug off any excessive moisture, this is sadly not the case.

As you know, during the vacuum sealing process, your appliance melts the sealing ends of your bag together, which can be very difficult if they’re not completely dry.

Solution: Dry off any excessive moisture that could be present in the ends of your bags, to guarantee the best sealing conditions.

If you’re storing raw meat, please wash your hands afterwards, and make sure to use a disposable kitchen towel or napkins.

Using a cloth, or anything else you might reuse later for cooking, could put you at risk of contracting salmonella, and ingesting harmful bacteria.

#2 Check Your Bag

Small tears could be compromising your vacuum seal

Assuming that your bags have been dried off correctly, and you’re still experiencing this problem, we can safely move on and check for damage.

While your vacuum sealer’s bags are not as frail as those you’d find in the supermarket, they are certainly not indestructible.

If your accessories have been around the block a couple of times, or provided that you use your machine very often, some wear and tear should be expected.

As you can imagine, even the slightest sign of damage will make it impossible for your unit to vacuum seal properly.

Solution: If you don’t want to spend money on getting new bags at this moment, you can always try to use some kind of adhesive, like duct tape, to patch up the tears, but to be honest, I’d advise against it for two main reasons.

Number one, these adhesives are not designed to contract in the same way your bags are, so the resulting seal might not be perfect, and number two, this is not a long-term solution, so you’ll end up having to buy new bags anyway.

I know how annoying it can be to spend money on repairs, but given the situation, why not just nip it in the bud?

#3 Replace Your Gasket

Make sure to clean your gasket regularly

I’d go as far as to say that this is the lifeblood of your vacuum sealer. If there is any kind of damage to this part, the vacuuming process is impossible. It’s that simple.

If you’re not familiar with what gaskets are, you’ll be surprised to learn that you’ve been benefiting from them your entire life. You can find this little rubber component in virtually every appliance out there. From blenders, and food processors, to water coolers, and pressure cookers.

If it needs sealing, it has a gasket.

Being this part so important, you can imagine that, when it’s dirty or broken, the entire sealing process is compromised, so if your vacuum sealer is not vacuuming properly, chances are it’s time to replace it.

Solution: The process might vary from model to model, and from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the broad strokes should be similar for all of them. All you need to do is open your unit’s lid, and locate the rubber part inside it.

To remove it, you’ll have to carefully unplug your appliance, and let it cool down. Once it’s reached an acceptable temperature, delicately pry the gasket apart from the machine’s lid.

If you see no damage, but there is food build up on it, you can clean it under running water. Provided that you do spot tearing, you’ll have to replace it.

Don’t worry, though, it should be fairly simple. You can buy another one either from your nearest hardware store, or directly from your manufacturer.

#4 The Lid Might Be Damaged

Check your lid for any kind of damage

Let’s say that your gasket is fine, but your lid is damaged. Is that a problem?

It sure is.

Vacuum sealing is a complicated process that needs that several conditions are met in order to be achieved successfully. Any structural damage to your appliance, or its outer plastic casing, could be playing an important part in its malfunction.

If none of the solutions above have worked for you, considering this as a potential explanation, is not too crazy.

Solution: Check your vacuum sealer from all angles. Being stationary machines, it can be very easy to miss any kind of damage on them.

Provided that you spot any kind of tearing, or missing parts, you’ll have to call your manufacturer and see if they have a replacement.

#5 Empty Your Drip Tray

A full drip tray might compromise adequate functioning

This part is essential to keeping your vacuum sealer operational, and dry.

Being your drip tray a part of your appliance that is neither visible, nor apparently important to the process, it can be very easy to forget about emptying it frequently.

Removing drip tray from vacuum sealer
The removable drip tray catches any spilled liquid for easy cleaning.

Failing to do so could be the reason why your vacuum sealer is not vacuuming properly. You see, these machines are very sophisticated, so many models will stop working when they sense that the tray is full.

This countermeasure protects your unit from overflowing, and prevents the formation of bacteria from leftover meat juices in the tray. 

Solution: Try to be a little more conscious about how you operate your appliance. Listening to its full-tray alarm will not only get it working normally again, but also guarantee that you’re operating it under the most hygienic conditions, and extend its lifespan significantly.

#6 Overheating

Give your vacuum sealer a break now and then

Lastly, if none of these solutions above have worked, it’s time to consider a more serious possibility.

Overheating.

This is one of your vacuum sealer’s worst enemies. Excessive temperatures could not only explain why your vacuum sealer is not vacuuming properly, but also cause permanent damage to your unit.

Overheating can happen for a number of reasons, but one of the most common ones is overworking your machine, so be careful.

Solution: Most manufacturers will recommend that you wait at least 20 seconds between bags.

That being said, if the issue is still present after implementing these breaks, you might want to wait a little longer, or call a professional to have them look at your internal components.

Conclusion

To have your vacuum sealer not vacuum properly can be very frustrating. After all, you bought this machine to make your life easier, not more complicated.

Luckily, as you’ve learned on this piece, addressing most of the issues behind this occurrence is fairly simple and quick. Oftentimes, all you need to do to get back to normal is slightly modify your user habits, and double-check the state of your bags prior to operation.

Please remember to keep safety as a top priority at all times, and do not hesitate to call it technician if you ever feel unsafe or doubtful.

Thank you so much for reading. If you found this article helpful, why not become an expert in the subject by checking out our other wonderful resources below?

Bon Appétit!