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(7 Fixes) Roomba Takes Forever To Go Home [2023 Guide]

Roomba Takes Forever To Go Home

“Is my Roomba drunk or something?”

It’s been over 30 minutes. 

You’ve been trying to send your Roomba home.

But for some reason… 

It just won’t dock. 

Absolutely frustrating. 

But don’t worry, though. We’ve got solutions for you. 

Continue reading to find out:

  • 7 fixes to make your Roomba return to its Home Base faster.
  • How long it normally takes for Roombas to go back to its Home Base.
  • How to properly set up the Home Base so it’s easier for your Roomba to dock.
  • What infrared interference is and why it’s preventing your Roomba to go home.
  • And this is just the beginning…

Why does my Roomba take forever to go home?

Your Roomba takes forever to go home because of obstructions blocking its path. Ensure nothing’s getting in your Roomba’s way. And that there’s enough space around the Home Base. Other causes include dirty charging contacts and infrared interference. It’s also possible that your Roomba’s defective. 

Roomba takes forever to go home: 7 fixes

#1: Make sure that the Home Base is properly plugged in

The first thing you need to check is the Home Base’s power plug.

Is the power cord attached securely to the Home Base?

Is the plug connected to the wall outlet securely?

Put it simply. Your Roomba won’t be able to go home if the Home Base isn’t on.

You may try to unplug the Home Base from the outlet. Then plug it back in again. Ensuring that the connection is firm and secure. 

Also, make sure to pay attention to the Home Base’s power indicator. 

There are 2 ways you can tell if the Home Base is getting power.

First: If you see the power indicator blink once every 4 seconds. 

Second: If the power indicator lights up fully for about 4 seconds. And then goes off. This is the Home Base’s way of conserving energy.

“What if I’m not seeing any light at all?”

Assuming you’ve plugged the Home Base correctly. And you’re still not seeing any light.

Then it’s possible there’s an issue with your outlet. Try plugging in the Home Base into another outlet. One that you’re sure is working.

It’s also possible that the power cord itself is defective.  

For that, you may simply buy a replacement online.  

#2: Remove obstructions blocking your Roomba’s path

Another reason your Roomba couldn’t quite go home…

Objects and furniture getting in the way.

The latest Roomba models have become smarter. More sophisticated. 

The Roomba j7+, for example, can now avoid wires and pet waste. 

But even the most advanced Roombas wouldn’t be able to avoid everything. 

So to make it easy for your Roomba. 

Get rid of obstructions. Make sure that your floor is free of things that could block its path. 

Things like toys. Clothes. Shoes. 

Your Roomba is your helper. But it also needs your help. 

And clearing its path is one thing you can do. 

#3: Ensure a proper setup for the Home Base

Properly setting up the Home Base is another key to your Roomba going home fast.

The first thing to consider is the location.

iRobot’s official website has a recommendation. The Home Base should be in an open, uncluttered area. 

So never place it under the stairs. Or in between furniture or appliances. 

This isn’t an exact science. 

But here are the approximate sizes of space the Home Base needs:

  • About 1.5 feet on each side.
  • Around 4 feet or greater on the front.
  • At least 4 feet between the Home Base and stairs.

Of course, the more space, the better. 

In addition, it’s also important that the Home Base is on a level area. And flat against the wall. 

If it’s placed at an angle, your Roomba will struggle to dock.

#4: Check for possible infrared light interference

“Infrared light interference? What’s that?”

First, a simple explanation of how your Roomba finds its Home Base. 

The Home Base gives out infrared signals. These are basically invisible lights. 

Your Roomba can detect these lights through its sensors. And that’s how it knows it’s time to go home. 

But the presence of Dual Mode Virtual Barriers can mess with those light signals. And that’s because these barriers also use similar technology.

So to fix an issue like this. Make sure there’s enough of a gap between the virtual barriers and the Home Base. 

iRobot suggests that the distance should be at least 8 feet. 

#5: Check the infrared sensor for any foreign objects

Still on the topic of infrared lights. 

We mentioned that the Roomba has sensors to read infrared signals. These sensors are usually located on the bumpers. And at the top. 

So naturally, if there’s something blocking the sensors…

Your Roomba wouldn’t be able to find the Home Base.  

So check the Roomba’s sensors for foreign objects. Such as tapes or stickers. And make sure to remove them.

#6: Clean the charging contacts

Over time, dirt may start piling up on the charging contacts. Of both your Roomba and its Home Base.

And a dirty charging contact may cause glitches. Such as the Roomba’s inability to go home.

So it’s important to always keep the charging contacts clean.

iRobot suggests using melamine foam. Such as a Magic Sponge Eraser.

The reason? 

That kind of foam is effective in removing scratches, stains, and adhesives. 

To use a melamine foam, simply damp it with water. Then gently wipe the charging contacts.

You may also use a clean cloth as an alternative. 

For a visual guide, you may check this video on how to clean the charging contacts:

#7: Clear your previous cleaning job

Did you happen to pick up and move your Roomba while it’s cleaning?

Because that can also cause your Roomba to take forever to go home.

It’s actually ok to pick up your Roomba. It just messes with its navigation when you do it. So it struggles to find its Home Base. 

There’s a simple fix to this.

Pick up your Roomba. And place it directly in front of the Home Base. With a distance of around 6 feet or less. And with no objects that’ll get in its way. 

Now if it’s still not going home…

Clear your cleaning job. You can do this by pressing and holding the CLEAN button. For about 3 seconds. Then press the Home or Dock button.

Bonus: Contact iRobot Customer Care 

Contact iRobot Customer Care

So you’ve done everything. Did all of our suggestions.

But your Roomba still won’t go home. 

If that’s the case, it’s possible there’s a defect. In either the Home Base or your Roomba.

Roombas have an average lifespan of about 4 to 6 years. 

So your Roomba is likely showing signs of the usual wear and tear. 

For that, it’s best to contact iRobot’s customer care

They should be able to give you options for repair or replacement. 

Further reading: How Long Do Roombas Last? 5 Tips To Extend The Battery Life

People also ask:

How long should Roomba take to go home?

Roomba should take anywhere from a few seconds to about 2 to 3 minutes to go home. The time it takes would depend on a couple of factors. First is the distance to the docking station. And second, the number of objects or furniture getting in its way. 

It really shouldn’t take long for your Roomba to find its way home. Especially with the latest Roomba models with advanced mapping and navigating features. 

However, there’s also been reports from some users. 

Sometimes it could take up to half an hour. Or even more. Before their Roomba goes home.

That isn’t normal behavior. And if it’s taking that long, you need to take action.

Such as ensuring that the Roomba’s path is clear. And that there’s plenty of space in the area around the Home Base. 

Why does my Roomba not return to home base?

Your Roomba doesn’t return to Home Base because of infrared interference. Something’s interrupting its signals. Such as nearby virtual wall barriers. Or foreign objects on your Roomba’s sensors. There’s also a chance your Roomba might need repair. 

Your Roomba locates its Home Base via infrared lights. 

The Home Base emits these lights as a means to relay its location to the Roomba. 

But things like Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers can cause interference. This makes it hard for your Roomba to locate its Home Base.

Other times, you can find foreign objects like stickers on the Roomba’s sensor. This will also prevent the Roomba from reading the Home Base’s signal.

So see to it that the Roomba’s sensor is clean. And place the virtual wall barriers at a distance of more than 8 feet away from the Home Base.

But it’s also possible that your Roomba or Home Base is defective. 

For that, you may contact iRobot Customer Care.