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Vacuum Cleaners - Causes of Overheating and Remedies

Why do vacuum cleaner motors fail?

The motor in your vacuum cleaner is essentially safe from damage, however, when it is exposed to conditions other than what it was designed for, it can fail.

The most common reason for vacuum motors failing is overheating. Most 'dry' vacuums have a flow-though motor. These motors use the air they have sucked up the dust with, to cool themselves. When there is a blockage, flow-though motors are unable to cool themselves due to the lack of airflow. Thermal cut off devices can help prevent motors from burning out due to overheating.

What is a thermal cut off?

A thermal cut off is a heat-sensitive device that automatically disconnects the power to a vacuum's motor when the operating temperature exceeds a safe value. Many commercial vacuum cleaners, including the Glide 300, Glide Wispa 300 and Superpro 700 Series are fitted with this device.

Why is a thermal cut off important?

When a thermal cut off activates, it shuts the motor down. This prevents the motor from overheating to a point where it will no longer function and will need replacing. It also gives the operator an opportunity to check for why the motor has overheated. Overheating usually occurs because the dust bag has not been emptied, filter has not been cleaned or there is a blockage in the floor tool, wand or bent hand piece. If your vacuum shuts down unexpectedly, make sure you turn the vacuum off and unplug it from the wall socket. Once you have checked and cleared blockages, allow the motor to cool for about half an hour then plug it back in and turn on. If your motor continues to cut in and out, you should contact your nearest service agent as there may be some other type of electrical fault.


When purchasing your next vacuum ensure it has a quality motor fitted with a thermal cut off device. Ensure your vacuum is well maintained and your motor will continue to work at its best for you.

Please click here to view our commercial vacuum cleaners fitted with thermal cut off devices.

Information excerpted from PacVac website.