Roomba lifespan facts and tips
A Roomba should last between two and five years. However, if you take care of it, using it regularly and replacing parts when necessary, your Roomba could last even longer. Some people say their Roombas have lasted almost a decade or more.
iRobot, the maker of Roombas, designed them to be relatively easy to maintain and even repair. Often, all you need is the right part and a screwdriver. With a little regular attention and TLC, your iRobot Roomba can last longer than you expect.
How long does a Roomba last?
iRobot Roombas have a lifespan of as short as two years to as long as five years, with anecdotal stories of people with Roombas lasting much longer. Some Roomba models from as far back as 2004 can still be found in some homes, working away on dirty floors. Twenty years might be asking a little much of any piece of tech, but two to five years is a reasonable track record for a robot vacuum, and five to 10 years isn’t out of the question with proper care and parts replacement.
A Roomba’s lifespan is affected by various factors, most importantly maintenance. A Roomba that’s never cleaned is destined for trouble. A quick clean, such as emptying the dustbin, wiping down the dustbin compartment, inspecting the rollers and so on, can be done after every job or at least once a week. Tapping the dirt out of the filter after each job means the Roomba’s vacuum motor doesn’t have to work as hard, extending its life.
Extensive use or abuse can shorten a Roomba’s lifespan. A large amount of dirt increases the rate of wear on the device, for example in a household with lots of pets and plenty of carpet. Roombas have sensors and programming to avoid falls and hazards, but physical damage can also affect how long it lasts. Puddles and wet debris can clog or damage your Roomba as well.
How to extend your Roomba’s lifespan
Extend your Roomba’s lifespan with regular maintenance and use and by replacing parts when they wear out.
Check and clean your Roomba regularly
- Empty your Roomba’s dustbin after every job: Clean the dustbin compartment in the Roomba and tap the dust out of its filter.
- Rinse the dustbin by hand under running water: Do this once a week and dry it completely before returning it to the Roomba.
- Inspect the Roomba’s rollers, wheels and sensors: Once a week or more often, turn the device over to check it, paying attention to the opening that leads from the roller compartment to the dustbin compartment to make sure there’s no dirt or debris lodged there.
- Check the front caster wheel and the side brush: Remove the caster wheel and check its socket for trapped hairs or dirt.
- Wipe off the sensor windows and charging contacts: Do this once a month.
- Wipe down the exterior of the Roomba: Pay attention to any scuffs or debris in the bumper area.
Use your Roomba regularly and keep it charged
Your Roomba’s battery has a shorter life than the device itself, averaging about two to three years. To keep the battery in good working order, use your Roomba regularly and keep it on its charging dock whenever possible.
Replace filters, rollers and other parts
Some parts of your Roomba need to be replaced regularly.
- Dustbin filter: This should be replaced on most Roombas every two months.
- Rollers or brushrolls: These might need replacing once or twice a year.
- Front caster wheel: This might need replacing once a year.
- Battery: This should be replaced every two to three years or more frequently.
Avoid water and other liquids
Roombas don’t do well in puddles. Most robot vacuums don’t, even those with a mop attachment. Getting your Roomba seriously wet could mean short circuits or other significant damage.
When to replace your Roomba
No matter how well you take care of it, eventually, your Roomba will need to be replaced. Here’s how you can tell if yours has reached the end of its lifespan.
- You see error messages: Your Roomba might alert you with an error message. Many of these messages relate to charging issues; others to positioning or obstacles. Pay attention to ones like errors 8 and 11, which mean the vacuum motor isn’t working right, or errors 15 and 25, which mean something is wrong with the circuit board.
- Your Roomba won’t start: Check if it’s charged. If you’ve set it to run on a schedule, check that it’s connected to Wi-Fi. If it is and it still won’t start, you might have a battery problem or some other issue.
- You can’t get parts or the repairs are too expensive: iRobot makes replacing major Roomba parts, from main wheels to roller assembly, relatively easy. But if it’s difficult to find replacement parts or the cost of the repair approaches that of a new model, it might be wiser to retire your old Roomba and get a new one.
iRobot provides a one-year limited warranty for its Roombas. It covers defects in materials or workmanship if you bought your Roomba from iRobot or one of its authorized retailers. It doesn’t cover normal wear and tear, including consumables like filters, nor does it cover problems that stem from weak or inconsistent Wi-Fi. Importantly, it also doesn’t cover damage that occurs when you use an off-brand part.
To use the warranty, contact iRobot or the retailer where you bought your Roomba. You’ll need proof of purchase and the vacuum’s serial number. You can find the serial number in its smartphone app. Or you can remove the dustbin to locate a sticker with the serial number and a barcode. Once you’ve started the process, iRobot will repair or replace your Roomba.
iRobot purchases are also covered by a 60-day money-back guarantee. Other retailers, like Amazon, might have other policies.
For an additional cost, iRobot also offers two- or four-year extended warranties that also cover accidental damage and free shipping for repairs and replacements.
Roomba battery facts
Roombas use rechargeable batteries, either lithium-ion (Li-ion) or sometimes nickel metal hydride (NiMH) in some older models. These batteries last about two to three years and are meant to be easily replaceable by the user. You can get replacement batteries from iRobot for models as old as the Roomba Discovery/400 series from 2004 up to the latest models.
To replace a Roomba battery, turn over the vacuum. Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the bottom cover or battery door. You might need to remove the side brush or a second screw, depending on the model. Pull out the old battery and replace it with the new one. Replace the bottom cover or battery door and tighten the screw or screws. Place the Roomba on its charging dock and check that it charges.
Third-party and off-brand replacement batteries are also available on Amazon and other retailers, but iRobot discourages their use, and your Roomba might not recognize them if they’re installed. Since Li-ion batteries in particular can start dangerous fires if damaged or misused, it’s prudent to play it safe.
Can I repair a broken Roomba?
Depending on what’s wrong with it, it’s possible to repair a Roomba yourself. These vacuums are designed to not require special tools for disassembly other than a Phillips-head screwdriver. You can replace batteries, wheels, rollers, the entire roller assembly or cleaning head and even the vacuum motor and drive motor. With enough skill or experience, you can even replace a Roomba’s motherboard if you have a replacement around.
Can I use my Roomba every day?
Yes, you can use your Roomba every day. Frequent use helps keep your Roomba’s battery working and shouldn’t affect its overall lifespan if you clean and maintain it regularly and replace parts as needed. In fact, if you have a big family or a lot of pets, it’s probably best if you use your Roomba every day.
Remember that you might not need to clean all of every floor every time. You can use your Roomba’s Spot mode or clean a single room via smart mapping or virtual barriers, depending on what model Roomba you have.
What should I do if I’m not going to use the Roomba for an extended period?
If you’re not going to use your Roomba for more than a month, put it into what iRobot calls
Ship mode. In this mode, your Roomba won’t run any automatic tasks and can’t be started accidentally.
To place a Roomba into Ship mode, hold down the Home button for ten seconds. Roombas with NiMH batteries also need to have their batteries fully charged and then removed for storage.
A Roomba is a trusty robot assistant
Roombas are known for their longevity. It isn’t surprising to find Roombas that have been around for five years or more. With regular maintenance and occasional parts replacement that you can do yourself, your Roomba can last as long or longer than many of your other household appliances.
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Jmar Gambol writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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