Vacuum cleaner plugs often fail due to the common practice of removing the plug from the wall outlet by pulling on the cord. Symptoms of a plug in need of replacement include intermittent power cutoff, sparks or tripped circuit breakers when you use the vacuum. Refresh your vacuum cleaner by replacing the plug yourself -- a simple task that most anyone can do. Requiring only a few simple tools, it can add new life to an old vacuum.
Purchase a replacement plug at your local home center or hardware store. Vacuum cleaner plugs can have two or three prongs, and your new plug must have the same number as the existing plug. Also, because most people unplug their vacuum cleaner by yanking on the cord, purchase a replacement plug with visible exterior screws and clamps to anchor the plug to the cord. These provide strain relief and prevent the electrical connections from becoming loose when you pull the cord.
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Unplug your vacuum cleaner, and remove the existing plug by cutting the cord approximately 4 inches from the plug with the wire cutter.
Strip approximately 3/4 to 1 inch (or as directed by the plug manufacturer) of the outer insulation from the cord, starting at the end you just cut. Cut along the length of the cord with a utility knife, then peel the insulation back and trim the excess. Do not cut into the insulation surrounding the individual wires inside the cord.
Disassemble the new plug as needed to expose the electrical contacts.
Thread the cord through the plug housing. The cord's outer insulation layer should fit into the housing so that you cannot see the inner wires once you've assembled the plug.
Strip about 1/2 inch of insulation for each of the wires, using your wire stripper. Twist the strands together using either your fingers or needle-nose pliers.
Locate the bronze- or gold-colored screw inside the new plug. Loosen this screw with your screwdriver and wrap the black wire clockwise around the screw. Tighten the screw firmly. No insulation should protrude under the screw, and you should see no bare wire underneath the screw.
Locate the silver-colored screw inside the new plug. Loosen this screw, and wrap the white wire clockwise around the screw. Tighten the screw firmly. Again, no insulation should protrude under the screw, and you should see no bare wire underneath the screw.
Locate the ground screw inside the new plug if you are installing a three-prong plug. It may be green, and it will be attached to the center (ground) prong of the plug. Loosen this screw and wrap the green wire clockwise around the screw. Tighten the screw firmly. Once again, no insulation should protrude under the screw, and you should see no bare wire underneath the screw.
Reassemble the plug, and firmly tighten all screws.