The main reason most people buy a Roomba is convenience.
Other than emptying a dust hopper once in a while, you don’t have to spend any time vacuuming.
But no machine is perfect.
Like any other device, your Roomba will occasionally malfunction.
One of the most common problems is a failure to charge.
If your Roomba isn’t charging, don’t panic; it happens to many people.
I’m about to show you 11 reasons why your Roomba might not be charging, and how to resolve the problem.
Keep reading, and you’ll have your issue sorted out in no time!
1. Clean Your Charging Contacts
Your Roomba charges via two pairs of metal contacts – two on the bottom of the vacuum, and two on the charging station.
If your Roomba isn’t charging or is only trickle-charging, check your contacts first.
There’s a good chance they’re dirty.
Dirt, grease, and other contamination can keep the metal from making solid contact.
The same goes for oxidation, which can build up over time.
Clean your contacts and the surrounding areas with a soft, damp cloth.
Then follow up with another lint-free cloth and some rubbing alcohol, and rub the contacts until they shine.
2. Clean Your Wheels
Believe it or not, dirty wheels can prevent your Roomba from charging.
If dirt builds up, it can cause the vacuum housing to sit up higher.
As a result, the charging contacts no longer touch.
Clean the wheels the same way you cleaned the contacts – with a soft, damp cloth.
Make sure to rotate them while you wipe, so there’s no hidden dirt buildup.
And remember to clean the little caster wheel at the front – it’s not immune to dirt.
3. Reboot Your Vacuum
In some cases, there’s nothing wrong with your hardware.
Instead, your Roomba may have a software glitch.
Much like with your computer, you can often fix glitches by rebooting your Roomba.
On most Roomba models, the process is simple.
On the S, I, and 900 Series, you simultaneously press and hold the Home, Spot Clean, and Clean buttons.
After a few seconds, a light will illuminate around the Clean button.
This indicates that you have successfully rebooted the machine.
The process is the same on a 600 or 800 Series Roomba.
But instead of a light, there’s an audible beep.
For other models, check iRobot’s support page.
4. Remove Your Battery’s Pull Tab
If your vacuum is brand new, you should see a yellow pull tab on the battery.
The pull tab is a safety feature designed to keep the Roomba from powering on during shipment.
Since it completely blocks the battery, you won’t be able to charge without removing it.
Pull the tab out, and you’ll be ready to go.
5. Re-Insert Your Battery
When your Roomba is new, the battery sits snugly in its compartment.
But over time, vibrations may knock it out of line.
If that happens, it could fail to charge.
Turn your Roomba upside down, and unscrew the battery cover.
Remove the battery, and replace it firmly so you know it’s making good contact.
Screw the cover back down, and see if your battery charges.
6. Move to a Different Outlet
If the previous steps haven’t worked, it’s time to see if there’s an issue with your power outlet.
Move your Roomba’s base station to a different outlet, and see if it works there.
There may also be a light switch controlling your outlet.
If there is, double-check that the switch is flipped in the right direction.
7. Move to a Different Room
Your Roomba may also suffer due to extreme temperatures.
If it’s too hot or too cold, the battery won’t charge.
When there’s a temperature-related failure, the vacuum will display an error code.
Code 6 means the battery is too hot, and Code 7 means it’s too cold.
If your home is climate-controlled, this should never be a problem.
But maybe you’re using it in a business that’s open to the air.
Or maybe you prefer to leave your windows open, even on hotter days.
In that case, you’ll need to move your charging station to another room.
If it’s overheating, move it to the coolest room in your house.
If it’s too cold, move it to a warmer room.
This will keep the battery at an optimal temperature for charging.
8. Replace Your Battery
iRobot designed the Roomba’s battery to last for hundreds of cleaning cycles.
But even the most durable batteries eventually lose their ability to hold a charge.
After several years, this will eventually happen to your Roomba battery.
You can order replacement batteries for most models directly from iRobot.
Many other brands also use compatible batteries.
You might have to search a few forums to find the right type.
But with a fresh battery, your Roomba will provide you with hundreds more cleaning cycles.
9. Replace Your Docking Station
If your battery isn’t the problem, your docking station might be.
Assuming you already cleaned it, you should consider getting a new one.
iRobot will ship your replacement within a week if you’re still under warranty.
If not, many aftermarket docking stations are compatible with the Roomba.
10. Call Customer Support
If you’ve tried all these things and your Roomba still won’t charge, there’s probably something more serious going on.
At this point, your best bet is to call iRobot customer support.
You can reach them at (866) 747-6268 from 9 AM to 9 PM Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
You can also reach them from 9 to 6 on weekends.
Or, you can send them a message on their contact page.
11. File a Warranty Claim
If it turns out that there is a serious hardware failure, you’ll have to file a warranty claim.
iRobot’s standard warranty lasts for one year, or 90 days for refurbished vacuums.
You can extend this for up to three additional years with their Protect and Protect+ plans.
If you’re no longer under warranty, iRobot will still fix your vacuum for a fee.
Considering shipping and repair costs, it’s often cheaper to order a new vacuum.
What if My Roomba Won’t Dock?
Everything I’ve said so far assumes that your Roomba can successfully dock.
That’s a big assumption.
If it won’t even go into the docking station, you’ve got other problems.
First things first – your Roomba will only be able to find the base if the base is plugged in.
Make sure the base is still powered, and that it’s facing away from the wall.
If that doesn’t solve your problem, try the following steps:
- Using a clean, dry microfiber cloth, dust off the front-facing camera on your Roomba, as well as the docking target on the base.
- Make sure there’s no clutter around the base since this can confuse your Roomba’s sensors. If your Roomba has a virtual wall barrier within eight feet of the docking station, it will confuse the sensors. The same thing will happen if you have a second docking station within an eight-foot radius.
- Check your docking station’s location. If possible, it should be on a solid floor, not a carpet, with its back against the wall. There should be enough clearance for the Roomba to get in and out without hitting anything. It should also be a minimum of four feet from any stairs.
- Check the bottom of your vacuum’s front bumper, as well as the ramp on the base. Look for any obstructions like tape that could interfere with docking.
- Set your Roomba on the floor in front of the docking station, and press the home button. If it moves towards the base, it knows where the base is. If it can’t detect the docking station, it will show you an error message.
- If you’re operating your Roomba in another area of your house, make sure there’s a clear path to the docking station. Otherwise, your vacuum could get stuck on the other side of the house.
- Try moving your docking station to a different part of your house. You might be experiencing interference from strong wireless signals in the area.
If none of this works, you’ll need to reach out to Roomba.
You’ll find more information here.
What if the Battery Is Completely Dead?
If your battery is completely dead and won’t take a charge, you need to replace it.
But there’s a hack you can use to keep it working while you wait for your replacement.
You’ll need a second, functioning battery for this to work.
It’s also worth mentioning that this method can damage your good battery if you do it improperly.
Using a 14-gauge copper wire, connect the corresponding positive and negative terminals.
Tape them in place for about two minutes, then remove them.
Put your old battery back in your Roomba, and it should begin to charge.
It won’t have the same battery life you’re used to.
But it should be good enough to keep your Roomba running while your new battery ships.
What do the Flashing Lights Mean on the Roomba Charger?
The most common flashing patterns are red and red/green.
A flashing red light means the battery has overheated.
Red and green together mean that the battery is improperly seated.
You can view a complete list of codes in the iRobot app.
How Long Should a Roomba Battery Last?
It depends on your settings, the type of surface you’re vacuuming, and how many obstacles there are.
That said, a new Roomba battery should last between 50 minutes and two hours.
Depending on how often you vacuum, it should maintain its full capacity for around one to two years.
iRobot’s Roomba batteries don’t last forever.
But by following this guide, you can at least ensure they take a steady charge.
In the worst-case scenario, you can always get a new battery or base station.