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21 Roomba Questions And Answers

Roomba Questions

Whether you have a Roomba robot vacuum or are thinking of buying one you will have Roomba questions that are important to you but aren’t always covered in reviews.

Here are 21 questions that people have asked on Google. If we haven’t covered yours please let us know.

Questions About Roomba

1. How does Roomba pick up so much dust?

The Roomba uses a triple action cleaning system to get efficient dirt and dust removal. The first is the suction which is quite powerful on the oldest 600 series vacuums like the Roomba 690 but has increased as the Roomba vacuum has evolved to 40 times as powerful in the latest version. This makes it super efficient on carpets and hardwood floors.

To add to this the Roomba has a double brush system underneath. Older versions have a rotary brush plus a rotary rubber blade which work together to pick up dirt, dust, hair and many other things that are left on the floor. The newer versions have changed over to 2 rotary rubber blades which help remove the problem of hair and fibres getting wrapped around.

Finally, the Roomba is equipped with a small circular brush which sticks out of the side and spins around catching dir and dust from the edges of the floor, around chair legs and any other awkward places it can get to.

This brush has longer bristles which sweeps dust into the path of the main brushes and suction.

As the suction improved with newer versions, iRobot included a dirt detection sensor so that if you have a dirtier area the suction will increase automatically to deal with it. You can also program your robot vacuum to do two passes when it cleans if you feel it needs it.

21 Roomba Questions And Answers

2. Can Roomba clean the whole house?

First of all it depends if you have different levels in your house. If all of your rooms are on one level then there is no reason why a Roomba can’t clean the whole house.

Depending on which Roomba you have or want to buy will depend on how efficiently it will clean. The older versions that don’t have room mapping clean in a random pattern. They will work into all spaces that they have access to and will run until the battery runs down. Because it’s random they might not clean the whole area well.

The best way to clean with these robot vacuums is to limit the rooms that they can access so they will clean them well. They don’t memorise where they’ve been so they can’t return to where they finished cleaning and you will have to manage that, hence keeping them to cleaning specific rooms at one time, then move them onto other rooms once you’ve recharged.

If you have a roomba that has room mapping you can clean a larger area. They tend to have a longer lasting battery, the sensors create a map to cover the whole room or multiple rooms and they can recharge themselves if they run out of charge and then return to carry on cleaning.

If you have two or three floors in your home you can just move your robot vacuum onto the next floor with the docking unit so that they can identify where to return to. The older ones will clean any room they can access then return to the dock. The newer mapping robots can store more than one map in their memory, so that you can take it to the next level of your home with the docking unit. Select the map for there and let it clean.

3. Does Roomba go under furniture?

The Roomba is designed with a height of around 3.5 inches. This means that it can fit under lots of types of furniture including beds, presuming that the gap is sufficient to let it move freely.

The sensors don’t check above the vacuum unless it is mapping the room so it’s not bothered by anything above it. As long as the body of the vacuum can manoeuvre, it will move around and under any furniture in the room.

4. How long is a Roomba cleaning cycle?

The cleaning time can be as short as 60 minutes on the older models and as long as 120 minutes on the latest Roomba models.
Although you get a standard run time from the manufacturer, it is dependent on the type of flooring that you have. If you have a hardwood floor you will get the full run time as there is no resistance when cleaning this type of floor. With carpeted floors, you might find the run time a bit less that what is stated. The higher the pile, the more power the robot vacuum requires to get over it.


5. What is the spot button on a Roomba?

The spot button is a cleaning mode option that you can use if you have a spill in one area. Place the Roomba in the centre and press the spot button or use the app to select it. The Roomba will start to clean in a spiral motion to a diameter of around 3ft then spiral back into the starting spot.
This is an intense clean but only for a small area.

6. Can Roomba dock on carpet?

In my experience, yes! I have a fully carpeted home and my robot vacuum docking station is situated on top of a carpet. The rules of space around the docking station still apply as your Roomba needs to be able to manoeuvre onto the charging points without obstruction, when it comes home to charge.

7. Does Roomba automatically dock?

Yes. The Roomba will return to the dock when it runs out of charge, regardless of the version. If it is far from the docking station it might get lost. This is usually because it can’t detect the signal to get back home. You may then have to manually dock your Roomba to recharge it.
If you have room mapping on a newer version of the Roomba, it will return to the dock when it’s completed cleaning based on the map of the rooms it is cleaning. If it isn’t finished cleaning but runs out of charge, it will return to the dock to recharge then return to finish cleaning before coming back home to charge up again.
If you have a self emptying Roomba, it will return to dock as above but will also return to the dock automatically if the dustbin requires to be emptied.

8. How do I tell my Roomba to dock?

You have the option to press the dock button on the top of the Roomba to manually return it to the dock. If you are using the app you can also press the dock button on your phone, to return it back to the docking station.

If you pick up the Roomba and move it mid clean , it may have a problem locating the signal to get back home, so it’s not advised to do that.
If you have your Roomba robot vacuum linked to a voice control device like Alexa, you can just say “Alexa, have Roomba go home.” and it will return to the dock.

9. How do you keep a Roomba out of a room?

The easiest way to keep a Roomba out of a specific room is to close the door. Of course that isn’t always possible so you can use a couple of other different options. You can block the door with a piece of furniture that it can’t get past or a stack of books. You would use something physical to block it if you don’t have the virtual dual wall barrier (also known as a lighthouse). This works by sending out an infrared line that the Roomba will not cross so you can put it on one side of the doorway and point the barrier across the gap. This will also work if you want to protect a curved area around an object, like a delicate piece of furniture. So you can use it as a straight line or a semi-circle around itself.

The easiest way is on the latest versions that allow you to draw a virtual barrier on the map created by the Roomba to clean the floors. Once the map has been created you can go into that map and draw a line between two points and that is used by the Roomba when cleaning. You can usually draw as many lines as you wish, which is helpful if your Roomba get stuck anywhere in your room. You can then block it from entering that area.

10. Does Roomba remember the room layout?

The older models of the Roomba, the 800 series or lower can’t remember the room layout. The newer models of the Roomba, 900 series and above can record a map layout. They come with sensors installed that bounce off the ceilings, walls and larger objects in the room so it can use the information to navigate around the floor.
The robot vacuums are controlled with an app on your phone. Once it has cleaned the room the layout is transmitted to the app and stored as a map. The robot vacuum can use this map each time it cleans the room.
When it was first used it could only store the map of one floor and would replace the map if you cleaned a different area like the upstairs. The newer models can map the whole floor, store it, allow you to identify rooms within it and even let you clean by room. You can also store more floor maps, so you can have a map for downstairs and upstairs.

11. How does a Roomba know when its done?

If your Roomba is a version which maps a room before cleaning, it will use that map to create a route then follow that until it comes to the end. It will then presume it is finished and return to the dock because there are no more instructions forthcoming.
If you have an earlier version of Roomba, then it only knows it’s done when it runs out of battery power and it will then return to the dock.

12. How does a Roomba decide where to go?

Using camera sensors, the Roomba calculates the area of the room to be cleaned. It then works out a route so that it moves in straight lines backward and forwards, moving around furniture till it has passed over the whole area that was mapped.
If you have an early version that doesn’t have mapping sensors, it will move from the dock in a straight line until it encounters an object or a wall. Once it bumps an object it will move away at an angle until it finds the next obstacle. It will work its way around any area it has access to until it runs out of charge.

13. Does Roomba move randomly?

The only Roomba’s that work randomly are the earlier versions up to and including the 800 series. The sensors can only identify where it is in relation to the dock, so it can return. It will go straight until the bump sensor is triggered or the drop sensor which stop it falling down stairs.

14. Can I pick up Roomba and move it?

The Roomba keeps a connection to the base with internal sensors. If you pick up your Roomba and move it more than a few inches it can lose the connection to the base. This won’t stop it from cleaning but it might have trouble going back home.

15. What is a Roomba lighthouse?

A Roomba lighthouse is a small device about 5 inches tall which sends out an infrared beam which your robot vacuum won’t pass. It works well across a doorway to stop your vacuum moving into rooms you don’t want it to go into or in front of items you don’t want your Roomba to bang into, like your pets water bowl. These can be bought separately if required.

16. How do I make my Roomba more efficient?

Make sure that there is good wi-fi so that your Roomba can work efficiently through the house. Make sure there is space around the charging base so that the exhaust vent on the side isn’t obstructed. Take the time to pick up anything on the floor that can be sucked up or cause the vacuum to get stuck, especially loose wiring. Do regular maintenance, keeping the filters clean and the dirt bin empty so you get the most optimal suction. Keep the sensors clean so that it can detect what it needs to

17. How do you reset a Roomba?

If you need to reset your Roomba first turn it on by pressing the clean button. Then press the dock and spot button at the same time until the light on the start button goes off, it’ll take a few seconds. You can then release the two buttons and you will hear a jingle from the robot to say it’s been done. To double check it has reset you can press the clock button and it should show 12:00 ready to be set up again.

18. What does a flashing blue light on a Roomba mean?

A flashing blue light on the Roomba usually means that the dirt detector sensor has detected dirt. If your robot vacuum isn’t cleaning while this is happening it might mean that it is detecting dirt around the wheels or brushes and they will need to be cleaned thoroughly.

19. Can you wash the Roomba bin?

The bins are not meant to be washed out. Some have fan components in the base, so it’s best to clean it out with a dry cloth.

20. Can a Roomba catch fire?

This is an electrical unit, so there is always going to be a small chance of an electrical fire the same as any other electrical item in your home. It goes without saying that you need to read the instructions included and use it the way it’s expected to be used.
There have been fires in peoples homes, not all due to electrical issues. One I read where the vacuum tangled with a floor heater. If you’re running your robot vacuum when you aren’t there you do need to check that there isn’t anything on the floor that could cause an issue like this.
Some people have noticed issues with the charging connectors moving and melting the plastic. More about that here.
So it’s worth getting into the habit of regularly checking your robot vacuum for any changes, especially in this area, to make sure it carries on working safely.

21. Will a Roomba run over dog poop?

Unfortunately.. yes. Technology in Roomba’s is getting better all of the time but at this moment it can’t recognise whether what is on the floor should be climbed over or not so if you don’t want a poopocalypse happening in your absence make sure your pets aren’t left in the same room that is being cleaned.

I hope it’s helped you to have all of these Roomba questions and answers in one place. Although they are specifically aimed at the Roomba robot vacuum cleaners they are also relevant in some part to other brands.

4 thoughts on “21 Roomba Questions And Answers”

    1. The robot vacuum uses it’s sensors to pick up if an object is in front of it so it will stop and move direction. If it has the mapping feature it will remember it in the map and then if you move the chair it will avoid it in the new position and re-write the map.

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