roomba takes forever to go home

Roomba takes forever to go home? It is very annoying when your smart vacuum cleaner can’t get back in place to charge or perform updates. 

Roomba’s sensors can get overloaded with too many infrared devices around. Other issues include dirty sensors, a dirty charging base, obstacles in the way, and a battery.

Some of those issues are easy to diagnose and get rid of. Others are a bit more challenging, but patience will ultimately reward you.

Do you want to learn how to get your Roomba functioning again? Then keep reading!

Roomba Takes Forever To Go Home – Reasons

the reason why takes forever to go home

Why is my Roomba taking so long to go to the home base? That is a common question a lot of Roomba owners ask. After all, it is malfunctioning that makes you worried. 

When you notice your Roomba taking longer to clean, you must investigate. So, first of all, let’s check the most common reasons behind the issue:

The Home Base Is Defective

There might be a software or hardware failure. 

Too Many Infrared Devices Around

Other devices might emit stronger signals than the home base. In that case, it will make the Roomba’s receivers confused.

The Path Is Blocked

its path is blocked

If the Roomba’s navigation system cannot detect a proper path to go home, it will roam around for longer than it should.

Dirty Docking Station

When the docking station is dirty, the Roomba might “refuse” to go home. 

Cleaning Is Not Done

Even if you force the device to go home via the app, it will keep cleaning until it is done.

Low battery

A low-battery Roomba will have a hard time functioning properly.

It hasn’t yet mapped your house – A new device will take a while before it learns your house’s layout.

Roomba Takes Forever To Go Home – Fix Guide

how to fix the roomba

Okay, now you know the issues that might be causing the trouble. Next, it is time we dive into the solutions. 

Some of them seem pretty straightforward once you diagnose the issue. Others, however, require a bit more work. We will tackle them one by one.

Solution #1: Check The Number of Infrared Devices Around

Is your house full of smart devices connected via infrared? In that case, your Roomba might be getting lost due to interference.

You must find out if that is truly the case. The first thing you must do is turn off some of the devices which might have a strong frequency.

If things remain the same, try turning off all the infrared devices except the Roomba home base. That must do the trick.

After that, turn only one device back at a time. When you notice that Roomba starts to malfunction again, think of other places to position the devices.

Place them so that their communication frequency doesn’t interfere with Roomba.

Alert: Is Roomba affected when only one more infrared device is on? Then there might be a problem with its receivers. In that case, it must be assessed by a professional.

Solution #2: Remove Obstructions

remove the obstructions

Perhaps you think the path is clear for your Roomba, but that is not necessarily the case.

After all, the little robot can only detect a determinate area. There might be objects blocking its sensors, but they don’t seem like a blockage for you.

Again, you must test and find a way to help your Roomba to navigate properly.

When the robot is cleaning, you must observe it and see if there are objects/furniture too close to each other. 

Furniture too close might cause sensitive sensors to identify a blocked path.

After you do some testing and move furniture/objects around, your Roomba shall manage to find its way home without further issues.

Solution #3: Clean Everything

clean the docking station

The Roomba cleaner always reaches the docking station with dirt. After a few times, the docking station itself will get dirty.

If it gets too dirty, your cleaning friend won’t dock.

So, the next logical step is cleaning the docking station. As you imagine, it is necessary to take care of the procedure. After all, it is a sensitive electronic device. 

Cleaning your Roomba’s charging connections and cliff sensors with wet melamine foam is something that iRobot, the company that makes Roomba, suggests often doing.

Clean The Wheels Too

If you take your Roomba cleaner to inspect closely, you will notice its wheels are dirty.

Unfortunately, as surprising as it sounds, that is also a reason that will compromise its ability to dock. 

All you have to do is, again, clean with melamine foam. Once everything is as clean as possible, you should see the system working properly again.

Note: Remember to clean the corresponding contacts on the bottom of the Roomba.

Solution #4: Solving Constant Low Battery

solve constant low battery

Perhaps your Roomba still takes the usual time to charge but is not charging completely. 

The first step to fix that is cleaning the charging contacts with melamine foam (as instructed in Solution #3). 

If that doesn’t solve anything, then the problem is not in the contacts. So the first next thing you must do is reset your Roomba.

If you’re unsure how to reset your Roomba, see the manual for your specific model. 

However, there is a method that can reset most Roomba models:

  1. Hold the Home, Spot Clean, and Clean buttons simultaneously.
  2. Hold on until a light appears around the Clean button.
  3. Release the buttons
  4. Wait until the Roomba beeps to start the cleaning cycle.

Check If The Battery Is In Place

check the battery

Perhaps the problem is, in fact, with the battery, but it is not anything of the above. It could be that the battery is a bit loose inside the vacuum cleaner. In that case:

  1. Turn the Roomba upside down
  2. Take away the battery cover screws
  3. Take the battery
  4. Put it back in place carefully

Diagnose Other Charging Issues

Another issue that causes a low battery is that the base is plugged into a defective power source.

You can move it next to a different power outlet to see if anything changes.

If you’ve already had your Roomba for a long time, the battery itself may be defective. Thus, you must replace it with a new one.

Alert: If you are worried about damaging electronic components, have someone experienced to handle your device.

Solution #5: Update The Firmware

update the firmware

Although Roomba is supposed to update itself automatically whenever new firmware is released, it can fail.

If you suspect that is the case, there is an easy way to check:

  1. Open the iRobot HOME App 
  2. Select More 
  3. Click Settings 
  4. Choose About (robot name)

If you see a new update not installed, choose to install it.

Note: Remember that updates can only be installed when the Roomba is docked. Also, the home base must be where the Wi-Fi can reach so that the updates are deployed.

Solution #6: Acquire A New Home Base

get new homebase

You probably don’t want to spend too much on a new home base for your Roomba. However, sometimes that is the only solution.

Before deciding on it, you must investigate carefully and try all the other solutions in this guide.

And, of course, if you are not a professional, you should take your Roomba to one. You must ensure that the issue truly lies on the home base.

Note: Instead of the home base, perhaps there's permanent damage on the cleaner. In any case, a professional can examine it.

What We Learned

Roomba Takes Forever to Go Home? When that occurs, the first thing to do is check for infrared obstructions and physical obstacles.

It is time for a thorough cleaning when none of that is the issue.

Further troubleshooting includes checking for charging issues and updating the firmware.

Nicole B