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Foodsaver non-sealing bags problem~

I've had my original Foodsaver vacuum / thermal seal unit for a little over 2 yrs., it began to (apparently) fail to vacuum air from my bags (heat-sealed fine though) so after a couple hrs of trying to figure out if there was something I was doing wrong (I cleaned moisture trough and inspected seal gaskets) I just gave in and purchased a second (newer generation) Foodsaver unit. I got home and attempted to use the new unit to seal meatballs, this unit failed to vacuum as well. The motor on both units worked fine, just no ability to vacuum air from bags. So, after a couple of hrs of investigating and cursing I stumbled upon an interesting continuity observation. I noticed that some of my Foodsaver (brand) bags had a dimpled texture to the exterior surface of the bags, and some were smooth (untextured). I also noticed that the bags with the spanish label translation tended to be the textured bags and the ones without spanish translation on the bags were the untextured (smooth outer surface) bags. Long story short, the textured bags failed to vacuum everytime and the smooth bags vacuum-sealed every time. Now my problem is that when I search for the smooth (non-textured) bags at Target, Walmart, etc... they cease to exist. I've been opening boxes at many stores (I know that's bad shopper etiquette) to find the smooth bags but they don't seem to exist. I wrote Foodsaver from their website (twice) explaining this issue but have yet to hear back from them. I wonder if they're aware of this manufacturer-flaw issue and choose to deny it's existence. I have several boxes of the textured bags which won't work and can't return them because I haven't the receipts. Needless-to-say, I'm not terribly impressed with Foodsaver.

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  1. I would seriously consider calling the Foodsaver CS. Usually they can help you troubleshoot your problem

    1. I've been using the textures bags and haven't had a problem.

      1. Textured bags work great in mine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

          Same here. Even the off brand ones I bought off Ebay.

        2. The ones I have are smooth on one side and textured on the other. And seal well except when I don't get them flat. I had a problem once with sealing and took the rubber gasket out and washed it well, and carefully, returned it to the machine and Voila, success. I love my 5 yr old FoodSaver.
          Now I wonder what kind of bags I will find when I shop, as I'm almost out.
          Good Luck troubleshooting with FoodSaver Customer Service.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Nanzi

            I use my FoodSaver constantly. (I read somewhere that it is American women's #1 favorite "gadget".) When mine started failing to seal, I called Customer Service and was told to remove the gaskets and flip them over, that there were grooves pressed into them over time that allowed air to enter and prevent sealing. The very nice Customer Service guy also said that if simply turning them over didn't solve the problem, then I needed to purchase new gaskets which are available from FoodSaver. I flipped them and the problem was solved. If and when it happens again I will wash them first, before ordering new ones --- thank you Nanzi!

            1. re: ski_gpsy

              Same experience here. The OP very well may not have needed to buy a new one, because if the motor and heat seal work, but suction isn't happening, it's the gaskets.
              The gaskets wear out from the compression.
              I replaced my gaskets and now do NOT store my Food Saver in the locked position.

              1. re: monavano

                Good tip Monavano about NOT storing in the locked position. I didn't know that.

                I do know that I need a new gasket, but after a few seconds of not sealing, I remember to remove the gasket and wet it so that it plumps up. That will keep it sealing until I remember to order a new gasket!

                1. re: ski_gpsy

                  Wetting it worked as a temporary solution for me too.

              2. re: ski_gpsy

                EXCELLENT! Something I'd never considered. Thanks a mil.

              3. re: Nanzi

                I have what you have. We're pretty good about wiping off and out the bottom part but hadn't done the top gasket. That seemed to cure the problem with 'sucking' :)

              4. i hadn't used mine in about seven months, and when I tried it I was having the same problem...not vacuuming the air from the bags. I went to read the instructions and realized that i was putting it in the slot incorrectly. Go back and read your instructions again, maybe that is what is happening.

                1. I agree with previous Foodsaver problem. I have the 3480 and it will not seal and the bags are the problem
                  I tried cheaper bags but the textured one i had problems with.
                  Foodsaver are sending me couple new seals but that probaly won't fix the problem.
                  The unit is great but should last longer than 2 years

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: rtrt24

                    Go on ebay, google "original foodsaver". These were made in Italy during the 70's, 80's & early 90's.

                    They are bullet proof nozzle machines that are made to be completely rebuilt. They go for between $50 - $75.

                    They will outlast and out perform any big box store machine out there.

                    1. re: Tom34

                      Agree. I bought my FoodSaver sometime around 1991 had it is still going strong. Whenever it has stopped pulling adequate vacuum (which is maybe three times in 22 years) the simple fix published in the instruction manual fixed it in minutes: a little vinegar & water in a vacuum bag, open the drain in the bottom of the unit, and let the machine suck the liquid solution through the system.
                      The unit still works as good as it did the day I bought it.

                      I was expensive back then, but solidly built and worth every penny.

                      1. re: The Professor

                        Yeah, they definitely don't make them like they used to. I still have my original & picked up 2 Italian made FoodSaver nozzle machines on ebay for about $50.00 ea to the front door. Cleaned them, replaced the pads, lubed the pump with a few drops or warm water and Armor All silicone in the canister port and they are as good as new and are properly stored for my daughters when the time comes.

                        Probably the most comprehensive read to date that I have found concerning home vacuum sealers is by Professional Marketing Group. It can be found by googling, "FoodSaver History, PMG" . It comes up under an Ebay site.

                        Thom Dolder at PMG also repairs and stocks parts for the early machines.

                  2. Same thing happened to me, twice. Ended up biting the bullet and buying a chamber vacuum sealer (which I love). Spendy and takes up quite a bit of real estate, but it's an amazing machine.

                    1 Reply
                    1. I had a similar problem 1-2 years ago with one lot of authentic Foodsaver bags. I tossed all the bags, and have not had a problem since.

                      I probably should have complained (because the bags are not inexpensive) but I didn't.

                      1. OK. EXACT SAME ISSUE. Went and bought a new one. Sometimes it seals, sometimes it doesn't. Took the bag to the old sealer, worked... One that would not work on old one works on the new one. Yep, Spanish on the bags. I truly hope that it is only this roll. What a royal pain in the a$$. We will be calling Foodsaver to complain tomorrow.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: amsoilguy

                          The older Italian made Foodsaver machines had a huge heavy powerful transformer and an actual seal "bar" that would seal any bag even when the inside surfaces were covered with fish slime or animal fat. Actually have to pay attention how long you keep the seal bar activated because it will melt right through the bags.

                          The machines today have a small cheap transformer and a sealing wire instead of a sealing bar. Sealing complaints are quite common, especially if the inside of the bag is slimy. When filling the bag with wet/slimy/fatty food, best to fold the top of the bag inside out so the food does not contact the area of the bag that gets sealed.

                          Those new machines sure do look pretty though :-)

                        2. I recently purchased Foodsaver Gamesaver deluxe plus and it is great...It comes with 10yr warrany replacement at n/c shipped free....I bought it about a tr ago and has been perfect. I have frozen over a 150 different items and works great....Cost was about $125 or so....Very happy better than the bigger one I had....A+ on this one......

                          1. Thanks for the tip on the textured bags. Tried one of the originals that came with the Foodsaver and it worked. Anybody getting any satisfaction from the company on this glitch.

                            1. So I may have an explanation/solution for this problem.

                              I was using my food saver, and I have a few pre-cut bags that came with the machine and a roll that I purchased as well. The pre-cut bags were working fine more me, however the roll didn't work at all. After a few minutes of frustrations (and reading this post), I noticed something.

                              On the inside of the bag there are ridges. the pattern looks like this:


                              This ridge pattern HAS to be perpendicular to the vacuum chamber. If these ridge lines run the same direction as the vacuum chamber, it will not seal.

                              I took my bags that wear not working, and rotated them 90 degrees and now they work.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: jtymann

                                I don't see how I can usefully rotate 90 degrees because there's only one direction that I need to seal... I could rotate 180 degrees but not 90 degrees. ???

                                1. re: jtymann

                                  The ridges are to allow air to be drawn from the bottom of the bag while pressure is being applied to the top of the bag near where the seal will be.

                                  A good vacuum sealer with a powerful transformer & an actual heat sealing "bar" will melt those surfaces together like butter. The problem is the newer machines have a cheap transformer & a cheap wire instead of a bar. Want to see it really fail, add a little animal fat to both interior surfaces where the seal is to be made.

                                2. You can buy bags at cabellas with a smooth side and a textured side or rolls that are all smooth. If you seal with smooth side up it works every time. Thanks for helping us figure this out too.