Why is My Upright Vacuum Cleaner So Hard to Push?

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An upright vacuum cleaner is much more efficient than its traditional counterpart simply because you can push it around with ease. Some of the most popular models, like the Dyson Ball Animal 2 for example, come with easy navigation with just a turn of the wrist.

Unfortunately, sometimes upright vacuum cleaners can be hard to push, especially on thick carpets. So, why is your upright vacuum cleaner hard to push?

Two of the biggest reasons why an upright vacuum cleaner is so hard to push are incorrect height settings and too much suction power, which in turn forms an airtight seal between the cleaner head and the floor. The solution is to reduce the suction power or increase the height setting.

In this post, we will talk about some of the reasons why an upright vacuum cleaner is so hard to push, including several easy fixes that you can try today.

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How to Fix an Upright Vacuum That is Hard to Push

While you can easily push an upright vacuum cleaner on hard floors and sometimes low-pile carpet, it can be difficult to do so on high-pile or thick carpet.

Below, we explore 3 simple tips to make your upright vacuum cleaner easier to push:

1. Pull Instead of Pushing

This is the most inconvenient solution, but it’s the simplest one, so I decided to list it first.

On some rugs and high pile carpets, the suction gets so strong that the fibers are sucked too far into the vacuum and you’re not able to push the vacuum anymore.

If you have a trigger vacuum, the solution I am about to describe is quite easy to implement. Simply release the trigger to kill the suction, move the vacuum ahead, push the trigger to enable suction, and pull the vacuum towards you.

You may find that pulling is much simpler than pushing.

The reason we don’t always vacuum like this is because it takes a little longer to do! Even though there is more effort in pushing, you don’t need to double back like you do in pulling.

2. Use the Correct Height Settings

Using the correct height settings, especially on carpet, is the key to use a vacuum cleaner effortlessly.

If your upright vacuum cleaner is hard to push, it may be because you are not using the correct height settings. Often, the height adjustment is controlled by a knob on the foot of the vacuum cleaner. If the knob is hard to turn, tilt the vacuum cleaner back slightly to take the weight off the foot.

Use the guidelines below for the optimal height settings:

  • The lowest setting is optimal for bare floors or thin carpeting.
  • The medium setting offers the best suction for slightly fuller carpets, which will be useful on medium-pile carpet.
  • The highest setting is best for plush carpets or area rugs.

For optimal carpet cleaning performance, adjust to the lowest practical setting. If the vacuum is hard to push, adjust to the next highest setting

How many height settings does a vacuum cleaner have?

The number of height options on a vacuum cleaner will depend on the brand and model of the appliance. Generally, an upright vacuum cleaner will have at least two or three height settings to help you navigate different types of surfaces.

Some of the best upright vacuum cleaners, like the Dyson Ball Animal 2, do not have a manual height adjustment. Instead, when the level is adjusted for carpet cleaning, the vacuum cleaner will automatically adjust itself according to the height of your carpet.

Another popular vacuum cleaner, like the Bissell CleanView/PowerClean Swivel Pet vacuum, has up to five different height options to accommodate everything from bare wood floors to plush, high-pile carpets.

Why does vacuum cleaner height matter?

Vacuum cleaner manufacturers add height settings to help you, as the owner, to navigate the appliance effortlessly. Many people mistakenly assume that using the lowest setting is always the best option, however, setting your vacuum cleaner too low or too high can prevent your vacuum from working properly.

When the bottom of your vacuum cleaner is too close to the carpet, the brush may not be able to turn properly. There may also not be enough airflow to get the best suction out of the machine.

On the other hand, if you set your vacuum cleaner to the highest height settings on a hardwood floor or flat surface, the brush won’t be able to reach the surface for cleaning.

3. Clear the Brush and Wheels from Debris

Last but not least, you should clear the brush and wheels from debris.

Assuming you are using the correct height settings, an upright vacuum cleaner can become hard to push if the brush and wheels are clogged with hair or debris. Sometimes pieces of string or other objects get wrapped around your vacuum’s rotating brush or around the wheels of the vacuum.

If this is the case, unplug your vacuum cleaner and turn it over to do a close inspection of the wheels and brush. If you see any hair, debris, strings, or objects lodged there, remove them. Use a butter knife or scissors to remove anything wrapped around the brush.

Once everything is removed, set your vacuum upright and plug it in again. Turn it on to test whether the problem is resolved.

Final Words

Now you know why an upright vacuum cleaner may be hard to push.

To make an upright vacuum cleaner easier to push, set the correct height settings according to the surface you are trying to clean. The low setting should be used on low-pile carpets or hard floors while the high setting should be used on high-pile carpets.

Alternatively, reduce the suction power to prevent the vacuum cleaner from creating an airtight seal and allow it to pick up dirt effectively. Sometimes, you can try pulling instead of pushing too.

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