Why Does My Shop Vac Keep Shutting Off? (Solutions!)

Reasons your Shop Vac Keep Shutting Off

Using equipment that you have to keep bringing back to life, again and again, can be quite a frustrating experience while you are at work. Shop vacs are helpful little machines in our garage, shops, and construction sites but why do they keep shutting off?

It is important to note that one of the reasons your shop vacuum cleaner shuts off in the course of working is because it is protecting its motor from too much surge and energy exertion.

In this article, we’ll discuss why your Shop-vac keeps shutting off and provide you with solutions and other useful tips on how to ensure the longevity of your shop vacuum cleaner.

Why Does My Shop Vac Keep Shutting Off?

Cleaning up dust, spilled liquid, debris, broken and unuseful wood, screws and particles might be almost as strenuous as the main work itself if your shop vacuum cleaner stops working during the course of usage.

The following are the reasons your vac shuts off:

8 Possible Causes

The following are the reasons your vac shuts off:

1- Overheating

This happens when your shop-vac motor gets hot due to previously being overused.

Another reason for overheating is when the motor bearing of your shop vac is hot. When this happens, it automatically trips off the machine.

In addition, if the motor bearing of your shop vacuum cleaner is dry and not lubricated while in use, it will also result in overheating. To avoid this, you need to immediately lubricate the bearings to avoid a burning and smoky smell.

When you use a small tank shop vac for your demanding projects (such as construction sites), it exerts too much energy which leads to eventual overheating and then shutting off.

2- Clogged Filter

If your vacuum has been used consistently for quite some time, fine dust and debris will have made their way into the vac and stuck onto the filter.

When your shop vac filter is blocked from a buildup of dust particles, it prevents less or no cool air from flowing into the motor.

This will lead to the overheating of the motor, which automatically will prevent your vacuum from working smoothly and is a major cause of constant shutting down in the course of work.

3- Full Tank / Collection bag

Many Shop-vac models use a collection bag while others simply use just the tank. A collection bag that has no room to breathe will be the cause behind the blockage and will eventually lead to the vacuum turning off.

Check the collection bag in your shop vac. Some vacuum cleaners do not have signs to indicate when their dirtbags are full. Empty the content into a trash can if it is full.

4- Lid Not Properly Shut

Some Shop-Vac models do not turn on if the lid is not shut properly.

Make sure that you don’t keep the lid loose so that it causes the vacuum to shut off in the middle of your cleaning.

5- Malfunctioning Socket

Sometimes the vacuum machine isn’t the problem. You may need to do a routine check on your electrical sockets to be certain that they are not faulty.

You can plug in another machine and test to see if a socket works for an extended period. If it doesn’t, this means that it was the socket all the while and not your machine that was at fault.

6- Broken and Weak Wires

If you often get carried away when cleaning with your shop vac such that you pull the wire and it unplugs from the socket, this will eventually weaken the wires and might break them inside their wraps.

If this is the case you might want to take your shop vac to a repair shop.

7- Blocked Hose

When using the vacuum cleaner, the dust and debris pass through the hose to the dirtbag.

If the hose is blocked, it will pass a signal to the motor which will result in overheating of the motor and ultimately tripping off the vacuum.

To correct this, you can start by first straightening the hose, then visually checking for blockages, and running a broom handle through the hose.

8- Stiff Motor Bearing

Sometimes, due to high usage and less servicing, your shop vacuum cleaner motor becomes stiff and seizes in the course of working.

What to do is to lubricate the motor bearing using the syringe-style injector.

How to Prevent Your Shop Vac from Going Off?

Before we delve into how to prevent your shop vacuum cleaner from shutting off, we must pay keen attention to the importance of having a proper maintenance schedule for the vacuum cleaner.

If your shop vacuum was from a recognized brand, you can check their maintenance tips on their website for special ways to take care of the vacuum; if nothing is found on their website, check the user manual. If there’s no manual, follow the tips below.

These are some of the prevention guidelines for your Shop Vac from going off:

1- Regular Cleaning

Your vacuum will do better if you devote time to cleaning it regularly. Consider how many times you use it in a month.

If it is every day, then, you should clean it at least once a month. A thorough cleaning can be done once in 3 months.

Always protect your eyes and hands when cleaning to avoid dust particles irritating your eyes and skin.

2- Inspection

Before firing up your shop vac, try to inspect it to ensure it is in good working condition. You can check for melting of wires, breakages, stiffness of the hose, missing screws, etc.

3- Schedule Consistent Vacuum Servicing

If your vacuum is regularly serviced, it will be in top shape. Most shop vacuums are very easy to disassemble.

Clean the rollers and bristles of your vacuum cleaner, replace the vacuum bag whenever it is full, keep the filters clean (We recommend that you do this at least once in 3 months), properly adjust the shop vac according to the user’s guide, and keep a watch on its overall performance.

4- Proper Cable and Socket Maintenance

If you find your shop vac cable to be short for the work that you do, replace the cable and make it longer. That way, you won’t be pulling the plug forcefully out of the socket while working.

Too much pulling will affect the wire connections of the shop vac, which will diminish its productivity.

5- Having an Extra Shop Vac

In order not to overuse one shop vac, you can get another one to provide ample rest time and longevity to your Shop-vac.

How Long Can I Leave My Shop Vac Running?

Shop vacs can often be used for hours. People have used them for 8-12 hours. But this may compromise the motor life. You should run your shop vac for 30-45 minutes, Pause the work when it gets hot, ad finally resume the work when it cools off.

Chances are very high that if you leave your shop vac running for too long, it may overheat and get the motor or something in it burnt.

The factors below should be considered before leaving your shop vac running for long:

1- The quality of your shop vac
2- The kind of filter your shop vac
3- What you are cleaning or vacuuming

Even if you are running the vacuum for long, do not leave it alone as filters have to be checked in between the jobs, especially, when working with fine dust. (Source)

Tip: For containing noise, you can build an enclosure for the shop vac so that you remain calm even if the vacuum has been running for hours.

What Should I Do With My Old Shop Vac?

If you still have your old shop vac but don’t want it to go. There are some amazing ways you can put it to work asides from the general wet/dry cleaning it’s meant for.

1- You don’t have to go red in the face trying to inflate pool toys or rafts anymore. Get your old shop vac to work and let it do the blowing with ease for you.

2- Instead of scooping snow mess with buckets and shovels, you can clean out the snowy mess from stairs, cars, floors, and even sidewalks using the shop vac.

3- You can unclog sink drains and blocked pipes with the shop vac. Many times, chemical usage can be dangerous; and not everyone has a drain snake.

Final Thoughts!

We have discussed the possible causes of your shop vac turning off and also the solutions for this issue.

Do not use your shop vac for more than 30 minutes in one go. Give it time for rest before again using it.

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