How to Troubleshoot a Dyson Vacuum

Dyson revolutionized the way people clean floors by creating a vacuum that didn't need bags. This feature alone removed the hassle of having to continually buy, dispose of and replace bags. But that's not what makes this vacuum work so well. Frustrated with an alleged high-efficiency vacuum that just pushed the dirt around instead of pulling it into the vacuum, Dyson came up with a design that created a mini cyclone inside the canister that powerfully sucks up dirt. Even with such efficiency, you may find that you need to troubleshoot problems that can occur periodically with your Dyson vacuum.

David Cameron Chairs The First Meeting Of The Business Advisory Group
credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Second from the left, Sir James Dyson was a 2010 member of the Business Advisory Group in the U.K.

Machine Losing Suction

The main reason a Dyson loses suction is because you forgot to remove the filters and clean them. A Dyson vacuum comes pre-equipped with everything you need to operate it, as long as you keep the filters clean. Unplug the machine before proceeding. Press the release to remove the filter housing from the unit, based on model you have. Lift the yellow-cage and blue foam filters from the unit and housing, and then wash them in cold water, squeezing and rinsing until the water runs clean. Allow them to dry for at least 12 hours. Wash the filters at least once every six months, or sooner if you vacuum every day.

Won't Vacuum

Dyson vacuums equipped for floors and carpets have a setting for each function. Some Dyson models use a three-position power switch to turn the brush bar on for vacuuming carpets, and the bar is not needed when vacuuming floors. But other units may have a small plunger you have to pull out on the bottom of the unit to vacuum carpets, and push in for vacuuming vinyl, tile or hardwood floors. Examine the exterior of the plunger for debris to clean away if it keeps the plunger from proper operation.

Brush Bar Not Spinning

The rubber belt may be spinning on the Dyson's brush bar, causing a burnt rubber smell. This could be caused by debris lodged near the mini turbine, or thread and hair entangled around the bar. Unplug the machine and turn it over. Remove the bottom plate from the bottom of the upright unit. Slide a nickel into each of the two fasteners, one after the other, and turn each counterclockwise until it stops. Lift the sole plate from the unit and set it aside. Verify the metal shafts to either side rotate freely and have no blockages. Cut away entanglements around the brush bar with scissors. Also look for blockages in the duct on the underside of the turbine head and remove them.

Power Loss

When the machine turns off while you're vacuuming, for no apparent reason such as an electricity outage, it's because it has a built-in safety switch to power down the machine when it overheats. The vacuum overheats when blockages occur in any of its various tubular components or when the filters have become so compacted that air does not move freely through them. Follow the owner's manual for removing any of the components to check for blockages; make certain to clean filters regularly. Once the machine cools down, it should be operational again. If not, contact the Dyson support line available on the company's website.