Garage Vacuum Troubleshooting Guide

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Centralized garage vacuums are unique and offer plenty of advantages over standard household vacuums. If you have this type of system and face problems, you’ll find this article helpful.

When garage vacuum won’t turn on, you can resolve this problem by resetting the main unit, then ensuring it’s receiving incoming power and inspecting its wall socket. Besides that, it could also face a loss of suction caused by clogs, a full bucket, saturated filters or a suction leak. Lastly, if the powerhead’s brush isn’t spinning, cut through and remove any entangled dirt.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can troubleshoot your garage vacuum and resolve the most common issues.

Garage Vacuum Will Not Turn On/No Power

If your garage vacuum does not turn on, you can try reset the main unit. Then, check that the main unit has incoming power coming to it and that there are no problems with any wall inlets connected to the vacuum system.

Main Unit Reset

How to do: When struggling with a garage vacuum that won’t turn on, the first troubleshooting step you should take is to reset the main unit. Most manufacturers will place the reset button on the main unit directly next to the power switch.

To be sure, you can always refer to the user manual for the garage vacuum to locate and identify the reset button.

Once you’ve found the button, simply press it to reset the vacuum’s system. Your vacuum should work normally after that.

Incoming Power To Main Unit

What it is: The heart of your centralized vacuum system is the main unit. Typically, this unit has a power cord plugged into a nearby wall socket. That socket then leads to a dedicated circuit breaker in your household’s electrical box. 

Your garage vacuum receives incoming power directly from a dedicated circuit within your household’s electrical system with this setup.

How it fails: When you find that your garage vacuum isn’t turning on, it’s possible that the main unit is not receiving any incoming power. There could be several reasons for this.

Firstly, there might be a power interruption, meaning your household isn’t receiving any electricity from the grid to begin with. Next, the breaker for the dedicated circuit might have tripped. Lastly, the wall socket itself could be faulty, causing your garage vacuum not to receive any power.

How to fix: To fix this, follow these troubleshooting steps:

  • Household power: First, check that the other rooms in your home are receiving power as usual. If they are, that means your household is receiving power.
  • Circuit breaker: Next, check the main electrical box for any tripped circuit breakers. If the breaker for your garage vacuum has tripped, flip it back on.
  • Power socket: Lastly, inspect the power socket for the garage vacuum’s main unit and ensure that it is in good working order. If possible, connect the main vacuum unit to an alternate wall socket or call an electrician to help you resolve the issue.

Faulty Wall Inlet

What it is: Your garage vacuum system is connected to one or more wall inlets placed around the garage and the rest of the home. Each of those inlets is connected to a low-voltage power supply which triggers the main unit to turn on whenever you connect the vacuum hose.

How it fails: Suppose the vacuum system doesn’t turn on when you connect the hose. The most likely reason is that the metal ring on the hose or the prongs at the wall inlet is not coming into contact.

When these parts do not contact each other well, it will fail to engage the vacuum system to turn on.

How to fix: Firstly, connect the hose to the wall inlet like normal. Then, turn the hose a little to try and get the metal prongs to engage and turn on the vacuum system.

If that fails, test the hose with another wall inlet. You may have a faulty wall inlet that needs to be replaced.

Garage Vacuum Has Low or No Suction

A garage vacuum sometimes faces a loss of suction which prevents it from picking up dirt effectively. This problem is caused by a clog in the piping or hose, a full bucket or saturated filter, or a suction leak somewhere along the system.

Clog in Vacuum Hose and Piping

What it is: When vacuuming around a home with a centralized garage vacuum, the dirt will first travel through a vacuum hose. That hose is connected to a wall inlet where the dust will then travel through piping to the main vacuum unit, where the suction motor is located.

For the vacuum system to work efficiently, the vacuum hose and piping must maintain smooth airflow.

How it fails: No matter what kind of vacuum system you have, always remember one thing: wherever there is airflow, there’s a chance of a clog. These clogs happen when dust, debris, and foreign objects get stuck somewhere inside.

Clogs like that will start small, though they will catch even more dust and get worse. After a while, the clog will become so bad that no air can flow through the hose or piping, resulting in a total loss of suction.

How to fix: Clearing a clog like this can be pretty tricky for two reasons. Firstly, the vacuum hoses are very long, so it can be challenging to spot a blockage by looking through the hose. Besides that, the piping that leads to the main unit is built into the walls, making them inaccessible.

So, here’s how to remove those clogs:

  • In a long vacuum hose: Firstly, confirm that there’s a blockage in the hose by dropping a small and hard item through the hose. For example, drop a coin or a small battery through one end and see if it comes out the other end. If it doesn’t, that means the hose is clogged.You can push the clog out using a long broomstick or something similar.
  • In the vacuum system’s piping: If the clog is in the piping, the best solution is to use reverse suction. That means you’ll use another vacuum to suck the blockage out through the wall inlet. 

If you know the location of the clog, be sure to use reverse suction on wall inlets on both sides of the clog. That will help to loosen and remove the clog more effectively.

Full Bucket and Saturated Filter

What it is: All of the dust that’s sucked in through the garage vacuum system will be collected in a bucket at the main unit. Some models will have a permanent bag inside, while others will simply empty the dust directly into the bucket.

In any case, the main unit will also have a filter or screen to remove dust from the incoming air.

How it fails: The bag or bucket will get too full of dust and debris over time. The filter or screen will also become saturated with dust. As both of these things happen, the airflow through the main vacuum unit will become restricted.

That will cause the overall system to lose suction gradually until it cannot suck in any dirt at all.

How to fix: To fix this, remember to empty the bucket regularly. The screen and filter must also be cleaned as well. 

Remember: these parts do not need to be spotless for the vacuum system to have suction again. They only need to be clean enough to let air pass through smoothly.

Suction Leak

What it is: For a garage vacuum system to work effectively, its piping and hose must remain a closed system. That way, all of the suction will be focused where it’s needed.

How it fails: A suction leak is caused by tears or holes in the air or piping. When this happens, the system will suck in the air where it shouldn’t, resulting in a loss of suction at the end of the vacuum hose.

Image source: Repair a split ducted vacuum hose

How to fix: If the suction leak is at the hose, the hose will need to be replaced. However, any air leaks on the piping must be sealed, perhaps with duct tape or something similar.

Powerhead Not Picking Up Dirt

Garage vacuum systems are often used together with cleaning accessories like powerheads. If the powerhead fails to pick up dirt, the most likely reason is that the brush inside has stopped spinning.

Stuck Powerhead Brush

What it is: The brush inside the powerhead spins to lift dirt and debris off the floor. Doing so makes it much easier for you to clean the floors in your garage and elsewhere.

How it fails: Over time, long strands of dirt and hair can entangle the brush to the point that it becomes stuck. When that happens, the powerhead can no longer lift dirt off the floor to be sucked in by the vacuum system.

How to fix: To fix this, simply pull the long strands of dirt and hair from the brush. Use a blade or scissors to cut through thicker entanglements to make them easier to remove by hand.

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