5 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Vacuum

A woman vacuuming a living room shag carpet.

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Vacuum cleaners are one of the most important tools in any household. They help us keep our homes clean and tidy, but like all machines, they eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Knowing when it’s time to replace your vacuum cleaner is important if you want to ensure that your home stays clean and dust-free.

With the exception of top-of-the-line brands, most vacuum cleaners have a lifespan of about four to six years. While not all machines will need to be replaced after four years, it’s a good indication of when you may need to think about investing in a new one. This is especially true if you are noticing any of the following issues. Here are five signs that it’s time to replace your vacuum cleaner.

Meet the Expert

It’s Losing Suction

A vacuum cleaner that is in good working order should have excellent suction and be able to clean up everyday dust and debris from around your home with ease. If you notice that your vacuum is starting to lose suction, it could be a sign that you are due for a replacement.

“If you find yourself pushing the vacuum back and forth over areas multiple times in order to remove debris, then this means that your current model isn’t powerful enough and it’s time for an upgrade,” says Beatrice Flores, cleaning expert at Living Pristine.

However, before you completely give up on your machine it’s a good idea to ensure that there are no blockages in the hoses and that the filters are clean. If you can rule out those potential issues and your vacuum cleaner is still having problems with suction, it's definitely time to invest in a new one.

It Smells Weird

If you notice that your vacuum is emitting a burning smell while it’s in use turn it off and unplug it immediately. A burning smell can be a sign of a few different things ranging from minor issues to serious concerns. Either way, it’s best to play it safe and address the problem immediately. Sometimes, a dirty or clogged filter can cause a minor burning smell. Cleaning or replacing the filter is a quick and easy way to fix this problem.

A burning smell can also be a sign that your vacuum belt is stuck or broken and getting overheated by the motor. Check to see if there is something that is stopping the belt from moving, such as a string or carpet fiber, and remove it to free the vacuum belt. A more serious possibility is that your motor is damaged and may be at risk of overheating and causing a fire. While vacuum motors can be fixed, it is usually cheaper and easier to replace the vacuum entirely, particularly if it’s an old model. 

It’s Loud

Most vacuum cleaners are at least a little bit loud. But if your vacuum cleaner is louder than usual or making strange noises while in use, this can be a sign that it is nearing the end of its life.

“If your vacuum is making loud or unusual noises, it may be a sign that the motor or other internal components are wearing out and it’s time for a replacement,” says Scot Masterson of JP Commercial Cleaning Services.

Sometimes, strange noises coming from your machine can be due to something getting stuck in the hoses, brushes, or filter, or can be a sign that the dirt collection bin needs to be emptied. However, if the noises persist even after you’ve ruled out these other potential issues then it's likely time to start shopping around for a new vacuum. 

It’s Difficult to Find Replacement Parts

It’s easy to get attached to our old appliances and want to repair them rather than replace them when issues arise, especially if the model you have isn’t sold anymore. However, if you are having a difficult time finding replacement parts for your vacuum then it’s likely time to buy a new one, says Masterson. 

It Gets Clogged Frequently

It’s normal for your vacuum to get clogged occasionally, especially if you are using it to clean up heavy-duty messes, but if you notice that your machine is getting clogged on a regular basis then it may be time for a new one.

Frequent clogs in the hose or dirt collection bin “can be caused by worn-out filters or dirty roller brushes that need replacing,” says Flores.

While you may be able to replace the affected parts yourself, particularly if it's a newer model, it may also be easier and ultimately cheaper to buy a new vacuum entirely.