Silencing the Beast: Why Your Vacuum is Louder and How to Fix It

A vacuum cleaner making louder than normal noises or squealing can be frustrating, but there exist many solutions!

I want to go over all the problems that will cause a vacuum cleaner to be louder than normal and show you what you can do about it. I’ve listed all the common reasons below, and I’ll go deeper into how to fix them in their own sections.

Reasons Why Your Vacuum Is Making Loud Noises

Here are the most common reasons for a vacuum cleaner to make odd sounds and noises:

  1. Something stuck in the hose.
  2. The vacuum bag or canister is full or damaged.
  3. Beater brushes are stuck or something trapped.
  4. The belt is damaged or stuck.
  5. The filter is clogged.
  6. The battery is low (if battery-powered).
  7. Error code warning beeper.
  8. Parts not attached properly or damaged.
  9. Damaged cooling fan.
  10. Your vacuum cleaner got wet.

The biggest reason for a vacuum cleaner to make a loud noise is due to a change in suction power. It can be a loss of suction or an increase in suction, each one with different solutions.

I’ll cover each point with their solutions in the sections below.

1. Something Stuck In The Hose

The most common reason for a vacuum cleaner to make a loud noise is due to something getting stuck in its hoses.

It can be the extension hose that allows you to clean hard to reach areas or internal hoses that lead to the dust bin.

Disconnect the hoses from the vacuum cleaner and turn the vacuum on. If the noises still persists, then it’s internal hoses that are the problem. If the noise goes away, then one of the hoses you removed is the problem.

External Hoses Cleaning

To clean the external hoses, you remove them from the vacuum cleaner and push something like the handle of a broom through them. Any stiff and straight object that fits through the hoses will work, like an old coat hanger.

If you have a powerful shop vacuum, you could use it to suck out any stuck debris.

Internal Hoses Cleaning

To clean the internal hoses, you most remove the external hoses and check to see if anything is at the entrances of the internal holes. Often, what gets stuck in the internal hoses is often at the start or stop of the hoses.

Check around the beater brushes as items get stuck in those internal hoses.

Use an old coat hanger, pen or another stronger vacuum cleaner like a shop vac to remove any stuck debris.

The best thing to use to clear debris from hoses on a vacuum cleaner is Fish Tape (Amazon Link Ad), as it’s long and flexible can easily break free debris. It’s also good to have around the home if you need to fish wires or route things through small openings where you can’t see, for example hanging a TV on the wall and hiding the wires.

2. The Vacuum Bag Or Canister Is Full Or Damaged

Another common reason for a vacuum cleaner to be louder than normal is when the vacuum bag or canister is full or damaged.

Vacuum cleaners with bags are more likely to get louder when the bag is full or nearly full. You’ll notice a high pitch sound and the suction power just about gone when the bag is full. The only solution is to get a new bag for the vacuum.

Canister or bagless vacuum cleaners work similar, they will get louder when full but don’t always feel like they lost suction. So, it can be more tricky, but they will get louder when they’re too full. Empty the bagless vacuum cleaner to fix the louder noises. I suggest emptying bagless vacuum cleaners after or before every cleaning to keep this from happening as often.

Less likely, but still possible, is that the bag or canister is damaged. A damaged bag or canister can cause the vacuum cleaner to change its tone and often follows a loss of suction too! If the bag or canister is not full, then check them for cracks or tears. A crack or a tear will be obvious on the bag or canister when the vacuum cleaner is on as it will be blowing dust out that crack, but you may have to look closely for it.

On some canisters, you can fill them carefully with water to see if there are any leaks or cracks. It’s best to do this in the sink as they’re not watertight and will leak from some areas, but gives a good idea of places where it should not be leaking. Important, allow the canister to fully dry before putting it back in the vacuum cleaner. Don’t put any electrical parts in the water!

Vacuum Cleaner Canister Leak Test

3. Beater Brushes Are Stuck Or Something Trapped

The beater brushes or bars on a vacuum cleaner are the rotating soft brushes that contact the floor and rotate.

Beater Brushes On A Vacuum

Toys, hair, strings and so many other items can get trapped in these spinning brushes and cause all kinds of odd sounds.

Many vacuum cleaners, like the one pictured above, have a window to see if the brushes are spinning and an easy way to pop the top off and clean any stuck debris.

The beater brushes are removable on almost every vacuum cleaner, it’s just that some require tools to do so.

Give the beater bars a good examine, you can have more than one, and make sure nothing is stuck in them. If your vacuum cleaner allows you to turn them off, then listen to the vacuum with them off to see if the loud noises stay.

Pay close attention to where the beater brush meets the vacuum cleaner, the bearings area, as hair loves to get trapped there and cause loud squealing when the brushes are turned on. Cutting the hair out with scissors is the only good solution to that, removing the brush helps cut the hair free.

Beater Brush Bearings

The bearings on the beater brush can wear out and cause odd noises coming from your vacuum cleaner.

It’s not as common as objects getting stuck in the brushes, but is possible if the vacuum cleaner gets wet, as the bearings will rust.

You can try to grease the bearings but if they’re rusted, they need to be replaced and on some vacuum cleaners it requires replacing the whole lower power head unit.

4. The Belt Is Damaged Or Stuck

On some vacuum cleaners, a belt is used to power the suction and beater brushes off one motor. Some vacuum cleaners have a different motor for suction and beater brushes, but a belt can still be used to power the brushes.

Check the belt that powers the beater brushes, as that is most likely to fail and make noises. You may need a screwdriver on some models, but it will be located in the power head where the beater brushes are located.

If the belt is splitting, stretched out, or overall looks worn out, you need to replace it. Here is how to replace a vacuum cleaner belt. These belts are under a lot of stress and if you tried many other things and the vacuum cleaner still makes loud noises, it’s a good chance it’s the belt or it’s bearings.

5. The Filter Is Clogged

Just like the bag and canister getting full will make a vacuum cleaner louder, so will the filter if it’s too clogged.

The filter needs to be replaced regularly, and one good way to tell the filter is too dirty is the vacuum cleaner will become louder, and you lose a lot of your suction.

You can clean many of the filters for vacuum cleaners, just run it under the sink and let it dry for a few hours. You should still replace the filter after cleaning it 10 times, as they don’t last forever.

6. The Battery Is Low (If Battery-Powered)

A battery-powered vacuum cleaner will play a sound, buzzer or even use the electric motor to make a squeal sound to let you know the battery is low.

A vacuum cleaner you plug into the wall won’t make a sound relating to a battery because it doesn’t have one, but they can make sounds for other reasons if it’s smart enough.

Make sure your battery-powered vacuum cleaner doesn’t need a new battery or to be charged.

7. Error Code Warning Beeper

Vacuum cleaners are getting way smarter than the last time I wrote this post, and one of the common features is a buzzer for warnings.

Every manufacturer is different, it could be a single beep or a long beep from the buzzer letting you know something is wrong.

Along with the buzzer is often a LED light that flashes or an LCD screen on some models to let you know the error code. If the vacuum cleaner is buzzing or flashing lights, then you need to stop running it and figure out the error code, as it’s serious.

Vacuum With Screen And Buttons

I tend to see this on vacuum cleaners that are overheating, and a fire could be possible as hair and dust are flammable, so the vacuum cleaner will scream at you to stop and unplug it or remove the battery. The battery-powered ones often have a heat sensor on the battery and if it’s working too hard it will shut off or buzz at you telling you it’s time to stop.

8. Parts Not Attached Properly Or Damaged

A vacuum cleaner needs suction to work, and if a part is not connected properly or damaged, then it can create loud noises.

Make sure the hoses are properly seated in their holders, filters are not crooked, and nothing on the vacuum cleaner is falling out or loose.

Damaged parts that make noise will be obvious as it will be blowing out dust or creating suction at the damage part of the vacuum cleaner. With the vacuum cleaner on, listen to wear the sound is coming from and feel if there is suction or air where it should not be.

9. Damaged Cooling Fan

The motor on vacuum cleaners gets warm as it runs, so a cooling fan is attached to the back of the motor.

If this cooling fan gets damaged or coated in dust, it can throw off the sounds the vacuum cleaner normally makes. The vacuum cleaner will also become more shaky as the fan motor is unbalanced, or it may even make rattling sounds because a piece broke off.

You will need to take apart most of the vacuum cleaner to examine the motor cooling fan, but if the vacuum is shaky or rattles a lot, this may be your problem along with the loud noises it makes.

10. Your Vacuum Cleaner Got Wet

Vacuum cleaners are not meant to get wet, especially regular household vacuums, yet people keep on trying to suck up water with them.

You should not use your regular vacuum cleaner on wet carpet, it’s not good for it.

The water gets in and shorts the motor out, or the droplets can cause the motor to make loud noises. Even worse, it gets into bearings and rusts them out, which makes the worst noise possible for a vacuum cleaner.

If your vacuum cleaner got wet by rain, then read my guide on it. If you vacuumed wet carpet or don’t know how it got wet, then unplug it and let it dry out for a few days.



Hello, I'm Lee from ""! Launched in 2016, my site addresses the online information gap about "robot vacuums" and "vacuum cleaners," areas where I have hands-on experience. Got questions about a post or topic? Feel free to comment or contact me (contact)!

Leave a Comment