Roomba robot vacuums are an excellent way to automate household cleaning. Aside from cleaning and charging automatically, they can also empty their bins automatically using a Clean Base. But what happens when the Roomba fails to self-empty?
When a Roomba fails to empty itself, check that the Do Not Disturb feature is disabled and that the bin has an evacuation port. Power supply issues could also cause problems at the Clean Base. Lastly, check for dirty charging contacts or communication windows on the Roomba or if the Clean Base is clogged or full of dirt.
Thankfully, this problem is relatively straightforward to troubleshoot and resolve. This guide will show you how to do that by walking you through the most likely causes, the affected parts, and how you can fix each one.
Why Is My Roomba Not Self-Emptying?
A Roomba with a Clean Base should run everything automatically. But if you find that it doesn’t empty itself, here are the most likely reasons why:
The ‘Do Not Disturb’ Feature Is Active
What it is: iRobot, the company that makes your Roomba, has a NAP Commitment. That means the company and its products commit to ‘Never Awake People or Pets’.
That commitment is reflected in your Roomba unit through the Do Not Disturb feature that specifies when the robot vacuum shouldn’t run.
You can adjust the settings for the Do Not Disturb feature through the iRobot Home App to ensure that the Roomba doesn’t run in the middle of the night while you’re sleeping or at any other time when you need peace and quiet at home.
What’s likely happening: As you begin troubleshooting why your Roomba isn’t self-emptying, the first thing you must check is the Do Not Disturb feature. You can do so through the iRobot Home App on your smartphone or other devices.
Remember: the Do Not Disturb feature prevents the robot vacuum from making noise whenever you need your home to be quiet. Unfortunately, that means it’ll also prevent the device from self-emptying into the Clean Base.
How to resolve it: Resolving this issue will only take a few seconds. That’s why it should be the first step in your troubleshooting process.
You have to open the iRobot Home App and disable the Do Not Disturb feature.
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Roomba Bin Doesn’t Have An Evacuation Port
What it is: When your Roomba empties itself, that means it’s automatically sending dirt from its bin directly to the Clean Base. But, of course, that process is only possible if the Roomba’s bin is the kind with an evacuation port.
As the Roomba docks with the Clean Base, dirt from the bin will transfer through the evacuation port into a similar port on the Clean Base.
What’s likely happening: Let’s suppose you find that your Roomba docks with the Clean Base but fails to empty itself. Another possible reason to consider is that the bin on your Roomba is not the type with an evacuation port.
As a result, the Roomba cannot automatically self-empty its contents into the Clean Base.
This reason is more likely if you purchased the Clean Base separate from your Roomba and haven’t bought a compatible bin.
Besides that, it’s also a possibility if you own multiple Roombas and only some have bins with evacuation ports.
How to resolve it: You can solve this problem by ensuring that your Roomba has a bin with an evacuation port. If you have an older model or one that doesn’t come with such a bin as a standard feature, you’ll have to invest in one that does.
Clean Base Power Supply Issues
What it is: The Clean Base is crucial for your Roomba’s ability to empty itself automatically. Unlike a standard base, the Clean Base can charge your Roomba while receiving dirt directly from the Roomba’s bin.
The Clean Base is an electrical device in itself. You must plug it into an appropriate wall socket to function correctly.
What’s likely happening: Assuming your Roomba is in excellent working order yet fails to self-empty, it’s likely that the problem is with the Clean Base instead.
The first thing to consider is that the Clean Base might have power supply issues. For instance, the base might have no power supply, or it’s not receiving enough power to function correctly.
How to resolve it: Firstly, check that the wall socket for the Clean Base is working correctly. You can do this by plugging another appliance into that socket and seeing if it works. Alternatively, you can also plug the Clean Base into another socket and test it.
If you find that the problem is with a particular wall socket, you should transfer the Clean Base to another one that works correctly. Then, you’ll need a qualified electrician to troubleshoot the faulty socket.
Dirty Roomba Charging Contacts Or Communication Window
What it is: Your Roomba unit must be able to receive power from and communicate with the Clean Base to function correctly. That’s also true for the Roomba’s ability to self-empty its bin and transfer the dirt to the base.
Two ways that the Roomba and Clean Base communicate with each other are through the charging contacts on both devices and the Roomba’s communication window (also known as the docking sensor).
When these parts are working correctly, the Roomba and Clean Base will know when to start the self-emptying process.
What’s likely happening: After extended use, the Roomba charging contacts and communication window can get dirty. That will affect the device’s ability to effectively receive power from the Clean Base and dock.
So, when your Roomba can’t dock properly or receive any power from the Clean Base, it’ll fail to empty its bin automatically.
How to resolve it: This is a common problem with time. The charging contacts and communication window get caked with dirt and debris.
The solution here is for you to wipe those parts clean. iRobot, the company that manufactures Roombas, recommends using melamine foam.
You can also use a pad or cloth with isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol) to do the same.
Full or Clogged Clean Base
What it is: The Clean Base acts as a collection point for your Roomba. When the Roomba docks and self-empties, all of that dirt and debris travel through the Clean Base. Then, that dirt will land inside an Evac Bag that’ll hold the dirt until you remove it.
One Evac Bag in the Clean Base can last for weeks before it gets full, and you have to dispose of it.
What’s likely happening: Another explanation for why your Roomba isn’t self-emptying is that the Clean Base is full or suffering from a clog.
For instance, the Evac Bag inside the base might be too full of dirt and dust and cannot receive any more. Besides that, the evacuation port or other part of the Clean Base might be clogged with dirt.
How to resolve it: Firstly, check if the evac bag is full of dirt. You’ll need to remove it and place a new bag inside the Clean Base if it is.
Then, inspect the Clean Base for any clogs, particularly at its evacuation port. Even if there aren’t any clogs, it’s best to clean those parts to prevent a buildup from forming.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few additional questions and answers to help you troubleshoot your Roomba that’s not self-emptying:
Why Does My Roomba Always Say It’s Full?
Your Roomba will say it’s full when the bin has too much dust and can’t collect any more. However, if it still claims to be full even after emptying it, the sensors inside are dirty. You can clean them by wiping them with a slightly damp cloth.
How Do You Reset A Roomba?
The best way to reset a Roomba is through power cycling. You can do that by removing its battery for at least 5 minutes. During that time, the Roomba’s onboard computer and other electronic parts will clear themselves, resetting the Roomba as a result.
When Should I Empty My Roomba Clean Base?
You should clean your Roomba’s Clean Base every 60 days under regular use. However, if you use the Roomba in a dirtier environment than average, you’ll have to clean the base more regularly.
How Do I Reset My Roomba Clean Base?
When a reset is necessary for your Roomba Clean Base, you can unplug it from the wall socket. Then, after 5 minutes pass, plug the base back in and continue using it like usual.
Can Two Roombas Share A Clean Base?
Yes, multiple Roombas can share a Clean Base. That makes it much more convenient for users who rely on more than one Roomba to keep their space clean. In that case, they only need to invest in one Clean Base.