The TV Answer Man!

Can a Vacuum Cleaner Affect My TV’s Picture?

Q. My TV’s picture is usually pretty good, but I have noticed that sometimes it appears a bit fuzzy when there are electrical devices on in the house, such as a vacuum cleaner. Don’t call me crazy for asking, but could a vacuum cleaner hurt my set’s picture? — George, Detroit, Michigan.

You’re not crazy, George. An electrical or battery-operated device can cause radio interference, which can disrupt your picture. I know this all too well; my late Mom used to have an uncanny skill of turning on a powerful meat slicer on Thanksgiving at the exact moment my favorite team was about to score a touchdown.

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Vacuum cleaners, remote-controlled toys, fluorescent and halogen lights…You would be surprised at how many things can mess with your picture. If you notice your picture suddenly appears fuzzy or shows static — and it’s normally a-ok — try turning off any suspect electrical devices in the room or a nearby room.

I want to add that this is not a common problem, but it can occur. By the way, if you can’t detect a specific electrical device causing the problem, and if you have stereo speakers set up to your TV, try moving them further away from the set. The speakers could be the problem.

Another important point: Some Internet-based electrical devices, such as Baby Monitors that operate on Wi-Fi, can slow down your Internet speed considerably and make your video streaming viewing a nightmare. If your streaming picture suddenly starts breaking up — and you suspect a specific device in the house could be causing it — try turning it off to see if the problem is resolved.

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