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Shark Rotator Vacuum Won’t Turn On


Are you worried about your Shark vacuum not turning on?

Shark vacuums are popular for a reason—they are handy and pocket friendly. That being said, it is not uncommon to run into small problems here and there with your vacuum cleaner.

One such problem is the vacuum refusing to turn on for one reason or another. But, take heart, in this guide, I will show you some key things to look out for when your Shark rotator vacuum won’t turn on.

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Power Plug

If your upright vacuum won’t turn on, the first thing you should check is the power plug to make sure it is secured to the power outlet. You can do this by wiggling the cord to check that the plug does not fall off from the outlet. Give the plug a gentle push into the power outlet to secure it in place.

Vacuum Switch

Obvious as it may seem, sometimes all you need to do is check that the vacuum switch is actually on. If it is on and the vacuum still won’t work, it could be that the switch is faulty and needs replacing.

Circuit Breaker

Circuit Breaker

Vacuums are notorious for tripping circuit breakers. Tripping is usually a result of electrical arcing which happens when electricity skips a gap between two conductors. More often than not, these conductors are two pieces of exposed wires.

Arcing does not usually trip a normal circuit breaker but it can easily trigger an arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI), which is an advanced type of circuit breaker. If you have an AFCI, it will likely trip if it senses even the slightest sign of arcing to prevent dangers such as electrical fires.

When powered, vacuums usually produce small sparks, which are in fact tiny electrical arcs and as such, they can occasionally trip your AFCI circuit breaker, preventing the vacuum from turning on.

Whether you have an AFCI or GFCI outlet, check whether the breakers have tripped. If the breaker is tripped, the reset button on the outlet will have gone off. If this is the case, simply reset the breaker by pressing the reset button.

If what you have is a normal outlet, meaning it does not have a reset button, you will have to check whether the circuit breaker panel in your home has tripped. If the breaker in the panel has tripped, simply switch on the reset button.

Tripping of the circuit or outlet breakers happens only occasionally but if your vacuum regularly trips the breaker, it could be a sign of an electrical problem in the machine.

Some signs of electrical problems to check for include:

  • A burning smell when vacuuming: This indicates that electrical arcing is burning other parts of the vacuum and this could prevent the machine from powering on or staying on. If the vacuum goes on and you notice a burning smell, it might be time to service or replace it.
  • Old cords: Does your vacuum have old, frayed cords? If this is the case, it is possible that these wires are causing electrical arcing, therefore tripping the circuit breaker.
  • Sparks when the vacuum is on: When powered on, vacuums produce some sparks but these sparks should never be visible. If this happens, your vacuum might need servicing or replacing.

Vacuum Cord

Vacuum Cord

If the vacuum will not go on after checking all these parts, have a look at the cord, which might be faulty or cut.

A faulty or damaged cord is common in older vacuums; the damaged electrical wires inside the cord can prevent power from getting to the vacuum.

Check the entire length of the cord for any cuts that may also be stopping electrical power from moving to the vacuum.

If you suspect a problem with the cord, unplug the vacuum from the power outlet to avoid a potentially fatal electrical shock. Fortunately, you can have the cord repaired or replaced depending on the extent of the damage.

Suction Motor Thermostat

The Shark Rotator vacuum has a thermostat, which comes in handy in preventing the suction motor from the effects of excessive heat. The vacuum can overheat for various reasons.

Vacuuming while the dirt canister is full not only reduces the vacuum’s efficiency but also allows the excessive dust to make its way into the inner parts of the vacuum. This forces the motor to work extra hard, resulting in overheating. Emptying the bin in your bagless vacuum regularly can minimize the risk of overheating.

Obstructions in the brush bar, hose and attachments can prevent airflow and cause the vacuum’s motor to work extra hard. Dirty or clogged up filters can also have a similar effect on the vacuum. This is especially common if you use your shark vacuum for pet hair cleaning. Removing any obstructions and cleaning or replacing old or clogged up filters can prevent overheating in the future.

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In case of overheating, the thermostat will shut off the vacuum to allow the motor to cool and prevent further damage from excessive heat. You can get the vacuum back on by resetting the thermostat. To do this:

  • Turn off the vacuum switch
  • Unplug the vacuum from the power outlet
  • Empty the dirt canister if you haven’t
  • Check for any blockages in the hose or check whether the filter is clogged. Remove the obstruction in the hose or replace the filter if necessary
  • Allow the vacuum to cool down for up to 1 hour before you can use it again
  • When ready to use, plug in the vacuum as usual and put the vacuum switch on the On position


Whether it is a power plug that has not been fixed correctly or an overheating motor, a shark rotator vacuum that won’t turn on is a fairly common problem. However, these hacks should resolve the problem.

Remember, regular cleaning and maintenance of parts such as the dirt canister and the filters can prolong the life of your shark vacuum.

Got questions or comments? Please leave them below!

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