Hot Cords: An Oftentimes Overlooked Aspect of Vacuum Repair

In addition to selling new vacuums, bags and supplies…a large portion of our business comes from the repair of old vacuums. A common problem we notice is a broken or non-functioning cord. A “hot cord” is one of the most common complaints that we hear. What you should know is that today’s vacuums feature large, powerful motors (often up to 12 amps in size). As a result of this, vacuum cords / plugs will reach high temperatures as a result of this. Some heat and temperature change is normal and should be expected, but if the cord or plug gets too hot this can be very dangerous due to the fact that a hot cord is usually caused by a wire malfunction inside the cord -- or a faulty wall outlet. Please be advised and take your vacuum to a local repair shop if the cord or plug temperature becomes alarmingly high.

Some Common Ways That Will Help Avoid A "Hot Cord"

Cord Stretching - When people are vacuuming, they will often try to reach too far (those last 6 pesky inches so you don’t have to change outlets!!). As a result, the vacuum plug comes flying out of the wall and your machine turns off. Cord stretching like this causes the electrical wires in the cord to break loose, effectively stopping the transfer of electricity to your machine. This is something that is not always easy to see; oftentimes a user will not be aware that it's gradually happening or has already happened.

In our store, it's common to see people pulling the plug out of the wall by jerking on the cord itself. This causes harm to the cord and can also snap the metal prongs that go into the outlet. For the sake of a vacuum's health, let's make sure to grab hold of the actual plug when removing it from an outlet.

Ripped Cord - Many times we see customers come into our shop that have vacuums with huge rips in the cords. Oftentimes, in an effort to fix a cord, customers will wrap the cord in electrical tape -- attempting to hide the exposed wires inside from the outside world. We can attribute this to running over the cord with the vacuum cleaner.

Sometimes this is caused by laziness (we have been guilty of this a time or two) and other times its by mistake. Either way, your cord is not meant to withstand the aggressive brush roll on the bottom of your vacuum. Eliminate this from happening by holding the slack of the cord that is not needed at the time. This drastically reduces the excess cord on the ground that's vulnerable to being run over.  

Bitten / Chewed Cord - As funny as this may sound, we receive a couple vacuums per month that have damaged cords from pet destruction. Some pets (mostly dogs) do not like the vacuum. When the vacuum is turned on or even when they see it coming out of the closet, they will leave the room and hide. Many pet owners have told us that if they do not put their vacuum away immediately after vacuuming, they find that their dog or cat has destroyed the vacuum cord.

Maybe our pets are smarter than we think!?! The best practice here is if you have a pet that does not enjoy the vacuum, be sure to keep it out of sight, away from a pet's reach in a closet or closed room when it's not being used.

Twisted Cord - Oftentimes we see that the rubber exterior of a cord is very twisted and disfigured by one of the ends of the vacuum. This is caused by the user either winding the cord from the plug to the machine or from the machine side to the plug with the plug still in the outlet. If you coil the cord using either of these two methods, the cord will not be able to straighten itself out again. The proper way is to unplug the cord from the wall and begin to coil the cord starting at the machine side first, thus allowing the plug to twist and turn however it is designed due to the fact that it's not anchored to anything. In turn, this will prevent the wires inside your cord from twisting and ripping out of place.

The reasons listed above are the main reasons that we see users requiring new cords on their vacuums. Of course, there is the occasional “bad cord” out there...but usually vacuum cord damage can be limited by practicing good techniques. If your cord ever has exposed wires, is ripped, or reaches “higher than normal temperatures” please take it to your local vacuum repair store. This can be dangerous and is usually easy to fix if taken care of early.

We hope this information helps your vacuum last longer and perform better. We realize that you may not have purchased your vacuum from us, but if you have any questions about a vacuum cord that you use, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions.