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Troubleshooting Your Oreck Vacuum Cleaner: A Guide

Troubleshooting Your Oreck Vacuum Cleaner: A Guide

If you live in a home that does or even does not have carpeting, you likely use a vacuum cleaner. Of all the vacuum cleaners out there, Oreck vacuums have been one of the highest-rated for the longest time. Still, even with a highly rated vacuum such as Oreck, you will eventually need to troubleshoot to fix any issues you may be having with it.

Oreck vacuums are among the best of the best when it comes to vacuums, and they have stood the test of time. But, as is the case with anything, you will eventually have to do some troubleshooting to keep it running. Let’s take a look at the most common issues owners may encounter. (Note: Before you check out any of these things, make sure you unplug your Oreck for safety purposes.)

Why Is My Oreck Vacuum Letting Off an Odor?

For as long as vacuum cleaners have been around, people have, at one time or another, encountered awful smells from their vacuum cleaner. To troubleshoot the smell, you must first find out why the smell is there. A smelly Oreck vacuum could be the result of several things:

Pet Related Odors

If you have pets, you know how these furry babies can cause odors on your clothing, furniture, and everywhere else they may spend time. 

No matter how well-groomed your pet may be, as a pet owner, you can expect pet-related smells throughout your home. The vacuum cleaner is no exception.

Things that can clog your Oreck and cause smells include pet hair, dirty torn-up remnants of a toy, garbage a pet may have gotten into, or even the occasional potty accident they may have had. This will all collect in your vacuum cleaner bag, causing a smell when you turn it on.

Fortunately, you can take some troubleshooting steps to remove the pet odors and prevent future ones from attacking your vacuum:

  • Clean out your filter in your Oreck vacuum. Do not use water when you do this because it will clog the vacuum with a mud-like substance. 
  • Add pet deodorizing powder to your vacuum’s air filterThis may leave the powder substance in the air. The other option is to use pet deodorizing powder or spray on your carpet before vacuuming. Make sure you read the instructions to see how long you should allow it to sit before vacuuming it up. Various products require different amounts of time.

TIP: Baking soda works wonders on unwanted smells.It is an inexpensive, non-toxic, and safe alternative to pet powders or sprays and often works even better.

Sucked Up Debris Wrapped Around Your Vacuum Brush

Having debris collect around your vacuum brush is an unavoidable downfall of having a vacuum. The brush will pick up hair, string, and carpet remnants that you may not even see. This will eventually start collecting around your Oreck vacuum brush, slowing it down or stopping it altogether.

Though this is a pain to address, no doubt, it does not have to be as time-consuming as you may think it is going to be. If the debris gathered along your brush is thick as often it is, I recommend using scissors to cut through it horizontally in one or two sections.

This will split the stringy material making it easy to separate from the brush. Cut and pull; you will have your Oreck brush cleaned off in seconds.

A few warnings and tips:

  • Do not use a knife or other sharp object that may cause injury. It is easy to slip while doing this, ending in a serious cut.
  • To prevent any further irritating smells from items you have picked up with your vacuum cleaner, you can use a dryer sheet over your air filter, which will release the dryer sheet scent when you vacuum. It is easy to replace, does not cause your vacuum to lose suction, and aids in filtering the debris you suck up while vacuuming.
  • If your vacuum leaves an electrical hot smell to it when you run it, unplug it at once and take it to a service department. There could be several electrical problems that are dangerous and possibly start a fire.
  • If you have a bag in your vacuum, you can add a dryer sheet to that as well. It will release the scent when you turn on your Oreck.

Why Has My Oreck Vacuum Stopped Picking Up?

I’m sure when you plug in your Oreck vacuum and are ready to finish up your cleaning with a quick sweep, nothing is more frustrating to find it is no longer picking anything up, or only picking up bigger things, leaving the little things to be pushed around instead of going up as it should. This is the biggest pet peeve people have about their vacuum. There are a few reasons that this could happen.

Filter Issues

In the previous section, we discussed your filter and how it can affect the smell your vacuum leaves. You will also need to pay attention to it to keep your Oreck vacuum picking up the way it should. Unplug your vacuum and take it apart to allow access to the filter. If it’s possible to clean it, try that first. If the filter is beyond a simple cleaning, you will have to replace it.

Clogged Hose

This seems to affect many things with your Oreck. Yes, it can cause odors, but it will also create a horrible suction ability. Once you unplug your Oreck and take it apart to get access to the hose, hold it as straight as possible and see if you can visibly see a clog. If not, you may have to do the same thing I mentioned in the odor department.

  • If you can see the clog, you can pull it out with your fingers.
  • If that does not work, use a handy dandy metal hanger that is straightened out. Push the clog through to the other end and pull it out.

Usually, a good indicator that the hose is causing the problem is that the vacuum is still picking up, but nothing comes up through the hose.

Last Option to Check: The Base

If your hose is not sucking up, you will want to check the filter and hose. If that doesn’t solve your problem, check the belt and the base to see if they are cleaned and in working order. If the base becomes compacted with hair and other debris, your Oreck vacuum will either have a weak pickup or none at all.

This you can reach with your fingers. (You may want to put on a rubber cleaning glove.) Usually, the clogs in the base are caused by vacuuming up something damp. If this is the case, the Oreck vacuum clog will be thicker and harder to get out. Therefore, you want to use your finger, no matter how gross it sounds. Digging around may be the only way to clear this part of your vacuum.

Why Is My Oreck Vacuum So Loud?

Anyone who has a dog knows that the sound of a vacuum can start up trouble with them. But dog or not, if your vacuum is louder than usual, it can be bothersome to anyone near it.

Oreck vacuums are louder than most other vacuums simply because of the power they have, but if they get increasingly loud, check the filter. The reason it gets louder is that it is working harder to get the same power with a dirty filter.

Why Does My Oreck Vacuum Belt Keep Breaking?

If you keep breaking vacuum belts, this is most likely caused by too much hair, lint, or stringy material wrapped around your brush roll, causing it to get stuck and melting the belt until it breaks. It puts a strain on the belt, and it needs to be replaced.

If you keep the brush roll clean from this type of material, you should not have any more trouble with your belt breaking.

To see if it is clear, clean what you can see, replace the brush roller, and make sure the roller turns easily. If it does not, then something is still stuck, making it drag. This needs to be cleared, or the belt will continue to break. If it turns freely, you will be all ready to start using your Oreck without any more belts breaking for a normal time frame.

Why Does My Oreck Vacuum Keep Shutting Off?

I sound like a broken record, but the most likely reason your Oreck stops working has to do with a clog. The clog is causing your vacuum to overheat, and for it to work properly, it needs to remain cool. The other possibility is an electrical issue. To know if the Oreck is overheating, you simply must pay attention to when it is shutting off.

  • If you run it for 2-3 minutes and it shuts off every time, you have a clog, and your motor is overheating.
  • If it is shutting off at various times, then you have an electrical problem. You can not use the Oreck Vacuum safely if you have an electrical problem. It must go into a repair shop to be fixed.

An electrical problem is not something to mess around with. Do not push your luck here and keep using the vacuum if you suspect there is an electrical problem. Get your vacuum into the nearest Oreck or vacuum repair shop.

Why Did My Oreck Vacuum Motor Stop Working?

It can be frustrating, but there are a few reasons your Oreck vacuum may have stopped working. It does not necessarily mean you have to replace the vacuum.

Here are some ideas worth checking out:

The On-Off Switch May Be Broken or Malfunctioning

To check the on-off switch, you will need a multimeter to check for continuity. If it does not have continuity, you will need to replace it. With your model number, you can buy a new switch and replace it yourself.

The Drive Motor May Not Be Getting Power

After checking the on-off switch to make sure the motor is getting the power it needs to run properly and keep running when you need it to, make sure the brush wheel is turning easily and free of hair, lint, carpet fibers, or other stringy material.

Remember, if these things stop your brush wheel from turning freely, you can use the method I mentioned in the sucked-up debris section.

  • Use a pair of scissors and cut the debris, making it easier to pull off the stringy items from your brush wheel, allowing it to turn freely.
  • Do not use any sharp object that you could cut yourself with. Keep the scissors pointed toward the Oreck and away from any body parts to prevent harming yourself with the tip.

After clearing the brush wheel and making sure it moves smoothly, see if your Oreck vacuum motor begins working again. If not, then you may have to replace the motor. With the model number, you can order the motor online. You can contact Oreck or look online to see how to do this yourself. If you are not confident to do it yourself, take the vacuum to a repair shop.

Check the Fan Motor

If the power test for continuity is working properly and the on-off switch is intact, it is time to check your fan motor. After checking both the on-off switch and the drive motor, it is time to buy a new fan motor and replace it.  

You can order this and the other parts online at places such as Amazon or directly from the Oreck website. If you can not find the instructions to replace this online or on YouTube, you can call the Oreck vacuum help center and see if they can talk you through the repairs.

The Motor Brush May Be Faulty

This is an easier issue to check for, even if it is the last issue you should explore. You only have to check the motor brush or motor brushes to see if there are any damages or burns.

With the model number, you will be able to search for the motor brush and replace it yourself. Again, YouTube is a valuable resource for do-it-yourself troubleshooting. If this is not helpful, turn to your Oreck Vacuum helpline and ask for instructions to replace the motor brush or brushes.

How Can I Solve an Orange POD Indicator Light Issue?

The POD indicator light is a warning that you have a clog in the vacuum somewhere. Be sure to unplug and turn off your Oreck vacuum before trying to troubleshoot or repair it.

  1. Remove the hose and the brush wheel or wheels, be sure they are clear of stringy material or debris.
  2. Clear any clogs from the brushes and the vacuum hose.
  3. Plug in your Oreck and see if this has solved the problem.

If the Orange POD indicator light is still on, it is time to check your POD refill. If it is full, you will need to replace it. You could search online for instructions on how to do this; the most common site with this information will most likely be the Oreck website.

What Do I Do If I Sucked Up Something That Was Too Big?

This will, again, result in another clog but is easy to fix. Because the item is large, you will likely be able to see it and free it from the area it is blocking simply by pulling it out with your fingers after you unplug your vacuum. You do not want your fingers sucked into the vacuum or the brush when the suction is working again.

If you can see the clog but can not reach it, go back to the metal hanger method. (I know how ridiculous it sounds, but one of those cheap hangers that you barely use anymore has another purpose, so do not pitch them when you fill your closet with the plastic ones.)

Insert the straightened hanger into your hose and dislodge the large item. Be careful not to puncture your hose with the hanger. (You do not want to have to replace the hose because you were trying to unclog it!)

Of course, if you have already ditched the hanger, you can use other thin but sturdy item, such as a broom handle, to shove the large item through the other end of the hose.

How Do I Reverse Vacuum Airflow in My Oreck Vacuum?

This is a useful method of removing tiny amounts of dirt, dust, and other small debris from your Oreck vacuum. You do not want to do this indoors, or you will be creating an entirely new mess that needs to be cleaned and will likely need more than just vacuuming to clean the mess.

  1. Take your vacuum to a garage or other covered area outside that has a power source.
  2. Remove your vacuum bag and the hose before plugging it back in.
  3. Turn the switch over from suction to the reverse airflow.
  4. Point your Oreck away from your face or anyone else that may be hit with the debris. You will also want to keep it facing away from anything fragile and easily broken just in case something heavier comes out when you turn the switch on.
  5. Flip the switch to the reverse side and blow out the debris that may cause problems in the future.

What Are Small Items That I Have Sucked Up into My Vacuum That Cause Issues?

Believe it or not, there are a number of small items that are unsafe for your vacuum as well:

  1. Small Hard Objects: Have a little builder in the house? Small toys and coins are often sucked up by accident. They can get stuck, break into pieces, cut the bag, or even shoot out of the bottom, causing issues. It is best to scan your carpets or floors for any small objects that should not be sucked up before using your Oreck.
  2. Used Coffee Grounds: They are almost always damp or downright wet. They are a mess; we do not want to clean them off the floor by hand but avoid the urge to use your vacuum to clean up this mess. They can wreak havoc on your Oreck. Not only can they clog the hose and filter, but they will also ruin your motor and will most probably cause mildew to grow inside the machine, making it unhealthy to use.
  3. Wet Foods: You can vacuum up foods such as flour or sugar if they are not wet, but wet foods are a big no-no for your vacuum. They can clog and damage your motor because of the moisture and cause an awful smell as they spoil. In fact, steer clear of anything wet, which leads us to—
  4. Liquids: Please do not do this. No one wants to see you electrocuted. Even if you are lucky enough not to be electrocuted, you will damage or destroy your Oreck Vacuum. If you do not want to use a mop or other item like that, you can use a shop vac.
  5. Leaves: Many of us have house plants, and they will likely lose leaves at some point, landing on your floor. Though it would seem harmless to sweep these up with your Oreck, avoid it. They are going to clog your hose and possibly the brush wheel. It is less of a hassle to just pick them up by hand.
  6. Fireplace Ash: Because ash is so fine, you will only cause more of a mess. They are going to blow out of the back of the Oreck vacuum and leave ash all over your furniture, carpets, and possibly your walls. The ash will also cause problems for anyone with any breathing issues.
  7. Construction Dust: It would seem that using your Oreck to clean up sawdust or other construction debris is no big deal, but it can also be blown into the air, covering all of your surfaces. It could also burn out your motor.
  8. Electrical Cords: Be sure to unplug these and put them up, or, if you cannot reach to unplug them, prop them up on a piece of furniture, and secure them before you begin vacuuming. Your vacuum will chew up the cords and expose the wires or break them completely, leaving a dangerous situation in either case. Again, no one wants to see you electrocuted.
  9. Makeup: Though this sounds like an odd “do not do,” you must avoid these things. They could melt inside the machine causing problems or even damage.
  10. Soil: This is another item you may not think would be a problem. However, it could not only cause motor problems, but it will probably stain your carpet as well, leaving more clean-up work for you.

I know the small items to avoid list is a pretty big one, but knowing what you should not suck up will benefit you in the long run and prevent you from having to replace machine parts or even the entire machine itself.

Who to Turn to When Troubleshooting Tips Don’t Work

Hopefully, you found that one or more of these tactics above solved your issue. But, in case you need additional help, there are options. Of course, an Oreck dealer or vacuum repair shop is an option you always have in your back pocket. However, if you’re looking for a little more info about DIY troubleshooting and repair, here are some additional sources:

  • Jones Sew & Vac is not for vacuum cleaners alone, but you will find tons of information on this site.
  • Do-it-Yourself is another good site to check for troubleshooting your vacuum cleaner and has added DIY things that may be of interest.
  • Repair Clinic is a great site with a live chat and a place to order parts for your vacuum.
  • Whirlpool has an entire section dedicated to Oreck vacuum cleaner troubleshooting and repair.
  • Oreck Vacuum Cleaner FAQ is another wonderful place to start with your troubleshooting issues and concerns.
  • Manualslib has a ton of information on the user manual and troubleshooting your Oreck Vacuum.

These are only a few of the sites you can access to help you further in your troubleshooting issues with your Oreck vacuum. In combination with this article, fixing your vacuum will not have to be expensive or require an inconvenient visit to a repair shop.