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I believe we all have heard about vacuum cleaners now, what is a central vacuum? An appropriate answer to that would be a central vacuum is a sort of vacuum cleaner device that is installed as a semi-permanent fixture in a house.

Central vacuum systems are meant to extract dirt and debris from homes and houses, sending dirt particles to a collection container in a remote utility space via tubing mounted within the walls. I am sure you must be wondering that than how it is different from a normal vacuum cleaner? Well, there are a lot of similarities and dissimilarities between a vacuum cleaner and a central vacuum.

I believe everyone knows more or less about a vacuum cleaner which is why this article will be focusing on a central vacuum only. Therefore, you can judge by yourself which one is better and how one is different from another one. So, keep on reading to know about what is a central vacuum.

How to install a central vacuum system?

When you want to have a clear understanding of what is a central vacuum system then you must also know about its tools and accessories which come with it or you may also buy. So, let’s have a look.

  • A central vacuum can be furnished with either an electrical force brush or an air-driven force brush. The air-driven or turbine frameworks are now and again more affordable since they don’t need electrical wires for the capacity to run each wall inlet.
  • Turbine-driven or air-driven brushes appear to be louder than electric brushes in the absence of the vacuum whine created by a portable vacuum, the noise from either of them is noticeable. For most casual cleaning work, many consumers find that the high suction of central vacuums is more than adequate on its own, but reserve a powered brush tool for more challenging tasks.
  • The typical modern central vacuum machine is fitted with a hose of 30feet (9 m) plus standard cleaning tools which are identical to those used with portable vacuum cleaners.
  • Some owners would keep a hose and collection of tools on each floor of a multi-storied building for more convenience. The hose is easily coiled around a wire rack mounted on a closet wall, or the back of a door, when not in use.
  • The Hide-A-Hose method which uses suction to draw the hose into the vacuum tubing in the wall for storage is an option for storing vacuum hose. Usually, hose lengths used are 30/40/50ft or 9/12/15 m.
  • To ensure smooth hose retraction into the tubing for storage, the efficient installation of such systems requires special fittings and careful design and workmanship.
  • For easy cleaning in locations such as mud rooms and laundry rooms, a scaled-down 10 foot (3 m) version such as spot by Vroom is available. Instead of storing the hose within the wall tubing, the original Vroom system utilizes suction to control a cabinet-mounted hose reel with a 24- ft which is 7.3 m hose.
  • On 10/15/20foot which is 3/4.5/6 m in length, a modular vacuum hose called “QuickClick” is available, enabling an end-user to easily set up or remove a custom-length hose.
  • In a kitchen, bathroom, workroom, the automatic dustpans can be mounted such as Vacpan or KickSweep. It allows a person to use a regular broom to sweep debris directly into a vacuum inlet located there.
  • Instead, an inlet DrawerVac that slides out from the underside of a table or counter like a drawer can be used to dispose of debris from a shop or counter.
  • The VacnSeal is an accessory designed to be mounted over a countertop used for food preparation on the underside of a kitchen cabinet. The device’s nozzle is used to evacuate excess air from a plastic food storage bag with a zipper-lock such as Ziplock which is claimed by the manufacturer to retain food freshness for a longer period.

what is a vacuum cleaner

By far you must know about what is a central vacuum and what are the tools so, now let us have a look at the installation process too.

  • A primary concern when constructing a central vacuum system is to prevent conditions that are likely to cause the tubing to be blocked up with debris such as toothpicks, hairpins, needles, or items of similar form.
  • Vacuum inlets, which are purposely constructed with a tighter curve radius than any other bends in the system, are the most significant safeguard. This is done to make sure that it can jam right at the inlet if any vacuumed debris is trapped where it is the easiest to discover and detach.
  • Well-designed central vacuum tubing seldom or never clogs unless seriously abused for instance any wet plaster, wet flour, or other sticky substances. Tubes that can be run inside walls or via vertical pipe chases, closets, or the cold air return ducts connect the wall inlets to the power unit.
  • The vacuum tubing is normally mounted in new construction during a rough-in process once the interior framing of the building is complete. After other in-wall services and just before installation of drywall, paneling, or other surface finishes.
  • Strictly speaking, vacuum tubing should probably be mounted before cabling as wiring routing is typically less limited than tubing. The vacuum inlet fittings and final connections are mounted in the finishing process, after the wall finishing in a similar way to plumbing and electrical fixtures.
  • Electricians, plumbers, specialized contractors, or even do it yourself homeowners can install vacuum tubing systems. Depending on the building’s anatomy, retrofitting of vacuum tubing in existing structures may be surprisingly straightforward or more difficult.
  • Large quantities of annoying plaster dust and other demolition and construction dirt can be created by a home remodeling project. Early in the project, installing a central vacuum makes continuous cleanup much simpler, particularly if it is a filter-less true cyclonic device that can inhale even abrasive or sharp construction debris without bag clogging or breakage concerns.
  • A typical house requires 2-4 inlets per floor, although many users find the central vacuum so convenient that additional inlets are later installed in the basement, garage, and even on the back porch for vacuuming storage sheds, cars, or interiors, etc.
  • One inlet per 600 square feet of floor area is a rough rule of thumb. Inlets should be positioned in suitable places that are unlikely to be blocked. To search for the adequate reach of a vacuum hose, a non-stretchable length may be used.
  • Drain waste vent plumbing is very similar to the routing and design of the vacuum tubing layout, except that no pipe pitch or drainage gradient is needed. Vacuum device designs share a concern with drain-waste-vent designs about removing internal roughness, burrs, sharp turns, pockets, or other smooth flow obstructions that could cause fluid build-up into pipe blockages.
  • Tubing has a few special limitations of its own for central vacuums and a few peculiar features such as the ability to run a pipe straight up after a horizontal running start that is sufficiently long.
  • Fire code regulations mandate that when a firewall penetrates, an adhesive firestop collar be mounted around the pipe. To prevent water vapor from condensing inside, if a pipe runs through an unheated space, it can require external pipe insulation.
  • Installation manuals available from suppliers explain these and other installation information. Two different thin-wall diameters have historically been used. HP Vacuflo has been promoting the slightly smaller 4.6 cm tubing size which is the outer diameter for years, stating that their tests found that it was less likely to clog. However, the manufacturer also moved to the normal size of the de facto industry of tubing with 2 inches or 5.1 cm outside and matching fittings.
  • In most situations, the end-user does not need to be aware of the size of the tubing in a central vacuum system, but when expanding, changing, or restoring a system, the size of the tubing must be considered. Size adapters have been made to allow where possible the two sizes to be interconnected.
  • The “Schedule 40” standard 2-inch plumbing pipe is another tubing alternative that is becoming popular in commercial applications with DIYers. The primary benefit of the plumbing pipe is widespread supply, slightly larger diameter, and thicker walls.
  • In installations where pipe runs are exposed to mechanical damage or violence, the thicker material increases durability and ruggedness although this has rarely been documented as a thin-wall tubing problem.
  • The biggest downside is that the thicker material makes the pipeless flexible, heavier, and somewhat harder to operate with. The thicker pipe walls increase the outside diameter of the pipe to 6 cm, requiring fittings designed for this.
  • Special adapters are needed to link the plumbing pipe to the central vacuum inlets and power units to use the plumbing pipe for the central vacuum installation. The owner of a new house under construction can sometimes choose to pre-install vacuum tubing and control the wiring in the walls but to delay the purchase of the central unit, hose, and instruments to reduce the requirements for cash flow.
  • It is certainly much easier to mount tubing and wiring for a central vacuum in new construction if completed before completing the drywall and other walls. The short-term cost savings of postponing completion of the full system should be balanced against the great convenience of providing a working vacuum system, especially during the time of commissioning and movement which generates more than the normal amount of debris to be cleaned up.

what is a central vacuum

Why install a central vacuum system?

By far, you must have an idea about what is a central vacuum and how to install it. Now, you must be thinking about why you should install it at home? So, let me tell you why you should consider installing a central vacuum system at your home and what are its advantages.

This internal vacuum system has many built-in advantages that allow you to vacuum quicker, easier, and more effectively than ever before. Some of the key advantages:

  • Suction & power level of industrial-strength- This suction of industrial-strength means a quicker and more thorough pick up of dust, providing every surface in your home with deep and full cleaning.
  • Health benefits that are scientifically confirmed- A laser central vacuum system is scientifically proven to offer measurable relief for asthma and allergy sufferers, unlike traditional vacuums that can re-circulate dust, since there is no re-circulated dust or contaminated air to breathe. As a result, it Improves the quality of indoor air for all.
  • Enjoy a happier, cleaner home- the efficiency of quiet cleaning while vacuuming your home comfortably without upsetting anybody. It is quieter than other household noises that you are used to hearing every day.
  • Clear all the dust from living areas or high traffic areas-The central vacuum system not only deep cleans your ground but also does its work silently and efficiently. The only noise that you will hear as the power unit is located away from the living areas is the quiet hush of airflow through the vacuum hose, it gives the ultimate silent cleaning performance.
  • If you buy a laser central vacuum instead of a compact vacuum then it would last far longer working life span than any handheld vacuum cleaner.
  • A laser vacuum system is up to 50 percent more potent.
  • Comfort & convenience at the tip of your finger- If your central vacuum comes with a VacPan then you will get the ultimate comfort in the kitchen. It simply sweeps debris inside it. This toggles the toe switch and whisks away dirt so no more stooping low or bending for the dustpan to be used.
  • Light & Easy to use- Just insert the lightweight hose into one of the vacuum inlets conveniently placed throughout your home with the vacuum power unit placed out of sight in your utility or garage, and enjoy the light and easy vacuuming!
  • Plus it is only important to empty the large capacity dirt bucket connected to your vacuum unit twice a year so no more bags to buy or change!
  • A good quality laser central vacuum system can last a family for more than 35 years if used efficiently.
  • A laser or beam central vacuum system is also called a wall vacuum system consists of industry-leading technology and materials that provide you with ease of mind to ensure high durability and longevity.
  • Remove difficult substances from the ground- central vacuums especially filter-less models can effectively remove difficult and dry substances such as plaster dust, spilled floor, laser printer toner, metal knockout slugs, and wire clippings from electrical work or even small pieces to silvers of broken glass.
  • The ability of a filter bag to resist clogging or breakage may depend on this ability to handle tough dirt and debris. The filter-less models are capable of removing the widest range of materials.
  • For certain devices, “wet vacuum interceptor” attachments are available too. They work by removing liquids from the dirty airstream before moving into the central unit and in-wall tubing.
  • These “wet vac” systems are subject to the same limitations as “wet or dry shop vacuums” and to avoid undesirable odors and mold formation must be washed out and dried after use.
  • Toxic materials however should never be cleaned up with anything but specialized equipment specially made for it.
  • Rare emptying- Central vacuums will typically collect up to 22 pounds or more of dirt and dust before needing disposal. This is an inevitable dirty process that must be performed for any vacuum cleaner but it can be performed much less often, maybe a few times a year.
  • It is easy to empty disposable filter bag systems but care must be taken to refit the replacement bag to allow full airflow without leaks. The easiest way to clean the dust canister is done best outdoors on a breezy day.
  • Low expenses- There are no continuing costs for filter-less systems, other than replacing a worn-out motor brush or vacuum hose sometimes. Most central vacuum hoses are compatible with a wide range of industry-standard brushes and tools used with ordinary portable vacuum cleaners.
  • Furniture and walls have minimized damage and wear- There is not bulky or cumbersome canister or other motorized devices to move with while vacuuming from room to room. It is only necessary to hold a lightweight vacuum hose and the cleaning instrument that is used.
  • A soft woven “hose sock” can be mounted over the corrugated vacuum hose to further decrease wear on furniture feet and projecting baseboard corners.

vacuum cleaner

Who installs central vacuum systems?

You might have a clear understanding of what is a central vacuum system. Now, let us see who installs the system and how it should be done:

After plumbing and electrical work is finished and before the wallboard is installed, installation of your central vacuum system will be done. Asking your dealer will allow you to add a central vacuum system inexpensively to your plans. Moreover, professional installation by qualified, experienced installers may be supported by your vacuum dealer/distributor. Your dealer will be able to do the job rapidly and competently so for installation information, you must see your nearest dealer. In any case, if you want to do it yourself then you also adjust your central vacuum system by yourself. If are very much interested to know what is a central vacuum system then you can do the installation yourself. Go through the process if you want to do it yourself.

  • Picking the system- The first step is to know what is a central vacuum and then choose your central vacuum system that best suits your home and cleaning needs, cleaning kit, and accessories. Attach a VacPan automatic dustpan in the kitchen, mudroom, or bathroom for the ultimate convenience.
  • Measuring how inlets will be needed is the second step.
  • Where the inlets should be adjusted- The third step is deciding where your inlets should be mounted. A region of around 65-75 square meters can be supported by one inlet. The smaller the inlets are used, the better for more fuel.
  • Just be sure that in the rooms you want to clean, the hose must reach from the inlet valve to all corners and around your furniture too. Try not to mount inlet valves on a wall or behind a door where there is a pocket door. On other hand, inlets can be mounted on the board if you prefer.
  • Plan the installation of the pipe- You need to schedule the installation of the piping from the control unit to the inlet valves. If possible, it is best to run the piping under the board.
  • In new buildings, before drywall is added, the pipe may be run via wall studs, be sure to plan where the power unit should be located, usually, it is placed in the basement or garage area.
  • Helpful tips- for cleaner cuts, it is better to use a tubing cutter, use a dull bit of 2-1/4’ wood similar to a Forstner bit, if you don’t have one then rent a right-angled drill.

Equipment needed:

  • Pencil
  • Pipe/tubing cutter/hacksaw and miter box
  • Safety goggles
  • Screwdrivers along with Philips and flat-blade
  • Steel tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • Utility/razor knife
  • Wirecutter/stripper
  • 30 inch (9.15 cm) piece of cord or string
  • Drywall saw
  • Electrical tape/duct tape/cable ties
  • Electrical drill-1/2 inch (1.3cm) with right angle head
  • Flashlight
  • Forstner wood boring bit- 2 ¼ inches (5.7cm)
  • Masonry bit- 2 ¼ inches (5.7cm)
  • Metal coat hangers
  • Installing the valves for the inlet- The fifth step is to install an inlet valve in the current construction, begin by finding the center of the wall’s bottom plate. The hole saw is then used from the basement to drill a hole into the wall cavity. During the whole period of installation, always remember to wear the protective goggles
  • There is a clear way to locate the middle of a wall. Drill a pilot hole through the carpet or hard surface floor using a piece of wire cut from a coat hanger. Drill as close to the wall as possible, aiming at a 45-degree angle towards the drill bit.
  • See where the coat hanger went through in the cellar. Measure, from the coat hanger to locate the middle of the wall plate’s rim. Drill a hole into the wall cavity utilizing the hole saw.
  • Until cutting a hole in the wall, check to see that the wall cavity is free of obstructions to the desired height of the inlet valve using the flashlight and/or broom handle.
  • A mark above the pilot hole created by the coat hanger is then centered on the wall. This is going to be your inlet valve hub. Center the inlet bracket on the wall, trace on the outline, and then cut a hole in the wall. Then connect the wall bracket to the pipe’s elbow.
  • Attach the low voltage wire to the valve stem of the inlet. Then connect the opposite end of the wire to small weight and feed the wire to the basement through the opening. Then place it into the wall inlet valve and bracket. To open, mount the inlet valve so that valve folds down.
  • The same fundamental procedures are followed by the installation of inlet valves in the new building.
  • Pipe installation- The sixth and the second last step is installing the pipe. You will need to measure the length of the pipe to make sure the cuts are clean and straight.
  • While removing burrs there could accumulate dust or hair that could create a dirt-trap.
  • Therefore, use a sharp knife or sandpaper and then start the test fitting beginning with the inlet valve farthest from the power unit, then gluing together all the parts of the piping.
  • After that enter the main trunk that leads to the power unit of vacuum with parts of piping. Splice the low voltage wires in the trunk line together and run the trunk line to the power unit and connect it.
  • Drill a pilot hole through the wall using a wire coat hanger to verify the location and for obstructions while installing the power unit in the garage. Then a 2 ½ inch hole needs to be cut between the basement and the garage by the wooden support beam above the masonry wall. Now, feed the piping to a device in the garage.
  • Power unit installation- The seventh and final step is installing the power unit. You will need to strip and connect the ends of the low voltage wire that comes into the garage to the power unit.
  • To test it, plug the control unit into an electrical outlet and flip on/off the manual override switch. Then plug in the lightweight hose to clean up any slight mess you might have created while installing the inlets.


Now that you know completely about what is a central vacuum system and how it works now you must know about its maintenance as your vacuum needs some care too.

  • Maintenance- Central vacuum systems need periodic emptying usually 3-4 times a year of the dirt canister or replacing the vacuum or filter bag.
  • In some models, it is also important to change the filters frequently, particularly for designs where the just-filtered air passes for cooling through the engine.
  • For filtered systems, due to reduced suction of blocking up with dirt or fine dust, the bag may need to be replaced long before it is filled to its rated capacity.
  • Until the suction drops off as a near-full state is achieved, the filter-less cyclonic separation system only requires emptying the dirt collection bag. Many cyclonic vacuum systems now feature translucent canisters for the collection of dirt, allowing quick inspection without the canister being removed.
  • The electric motor may require greasing on its bearings, or replacement of carbon brushes on an irregular basis, typically measured in years, regardless of which dirt separation system is used.
  • A central vacuum system may rarely become clogged, especially if the tubing has been incorrectly installed or if the system is violated by the vacuuming of stick substances such as paint, glue, or any fluid substance.
  • Generally, a homeowner may use simple tools and techniques to locate and remove the obstruction or can employ a professional vacuum installer for repairs.
  • The flexible hose is also the position of a blockage that can normally be removed using the snake of a plumber.

who installs vacuum cleaner

How central vacuum system works?

So far you know what is a central vacuum and how to install it but now you must know what are the units of a central vacuum and how it works.

  • The vacuum hose is removed from storage for the use of a central vacuum and fitted with any necessary cleaning accessories like a brush. After opening the spring-loaded cover door, the other end of the hose is inserted into a wall-mounted vacuum inlet.
  • In some designs, the door switches on the vacuum motor are opened and in other designs, the metallic hose-end fitting bridges are inserted into two electrical contacts, signaling the motor to turn on.
  • Other alternative designs involve a remote on/off switch located at the end of the vacuum hose tool, which communicates either through a pair of wires inserted in the hose or through wireless signaling.
  • As with a portable unit, vacuuming is done in the same way. The higher vacuum power of the central vacuum may often require a decrease for instance when a delicate sheer fabric is cleaned in the process.
  • By partially opening a bleed port or slot, an excess vacuum is bled off to let any intake air escape the cleaning tool. In order to allow easy adjustment during use, the bleed port is typically located at the end of the vacuum hose tool.
  • The vacuum hose is removed from the wall inlet when the cleaning is complete which snaps shut to turn off the vacuum motor. The hose is coiled up and hung on a storage container, retrieving away any cleaning accessories.
  • With each part playing an important role in minimizing the workload of the user, the central vacuum system consists of individual components. Since the motor is stationary, the user does not have to cart around a bulky appliance.
  • Apart from knowing what is a central vacuum? It is also vital to know how the central vacuum system works? Therefore, let us go through the different parts of the vacuum system and how they work.
  • There is no bad smell or re-circulated dust because the dust and debris are collected from the living area and emitted outside. The lightweight hose makes just plugging into an inlet and starting cleaning simple. The various parts of a central vacuum system are elaborated below:

The main objective of the vacuum unit:

  • At first, you need to know what is the central vacuum The central vacuum control unit is at the heart of the device. Strong suction and deep cleaning are provided by a powerful motor, while the filter removes debris.

How does this function?

  • In a remote spot, such as the garage or basement, the vacuum unit is installed. The vacuum motor pulls air through the pipes and hose, and all the unintentionally vacuumed dust, dirt, paper, hair, coins, and even small toys are collected and retained in the filter.
  • Then the exhausted air is reasonably clean and either vented outside or inside the area. It should be replaced every three months to a year, depending on the type and capability of the filter employed. When a vacuum hose is inserted into an inlet inside the house, the vacuum is turned on.


  • Filtration- Either disposable filters or permanent ones
  • Power- 110 volts or 240 volts, units for every home size available
  • Quality- Either metal or plastic
  • Sound range- The noise range varies from loud to conversational level

The objective of the inlet valves and pipe

  • The vacuum pipe ties the main unit into the inlet valves on the wall. The inlet valves or ports attach to the hose and make it possible to turn on and off the suction.

How does this function?

  • In the main unit, the two-inch diameter PVC pipe starts and divides into separate areas of the house. It goes inside a wall and attaches to an inlet’s back. One inlet over 1,000 square feet can cover a great deal of ground area.
  • A Hide-A-Hose inlet will surround 2,300 square feet with a 50-foot hose. For the use of powerful carpet cleaners, conventional inlets with 110 volts are available.
  • Hide-A-Hose does not have that option. There is a low voltage wire connected to all inlets that switch the suction unit on-and-off.


  • Traditional inlets are available in several colors and designs.
  • Traditional inlets with a 110-volt connection are open.
  • There are three colors of Hide-A-Hose inlets.
  • Usually, Hide-A-Hose inlets are installed higher

The main objective of the vacuum hose

  • Lightweight, flexible, and crush-proof can be described as central vacuum hoses. They come in many different lengths and are the only part of the device that can be used to clean every area and corner of the home as well as taken in hand in the home.

How does this function?

  • Traditional vacuum hoses- There are two ends of the long hose. In the entire house, the wall end is plugged into one of the vacuum inlet ports. Some hoses when plugged in, are designed to allow the suction to start immediately.
  • Other hoses are mounted to the handle end of the hose with an on/off switch for suction.
  • Hide-A-Hose- This hose is stored in the system’s pipes until it is withdrawn for use. The hose is retracted back into the pipes by the suction of the vacuum when vacuuming is done.


  • Traditional and Hide-A-Hose are available in a variety of lengths.
  • A variety of hose types can be used for conventional hose systems.
  • The electric hose drives the head of the electric vacuum.
  • Hide-A-Hose with and without an on/off handle switch.

The main objective of the vacuum accessories

  • Connecting some of the several specialty vacuum attachments to the hose makes it possible to clean all surfaces of the home thoroughly and efficiently.

How does this function?

  • There are several different kinds of accessories available to clean every surface area of your house. The two kinds of carpet brush heads are the most common one is the electric one and the other is the air-driven one.
  • The suction is used by air-driven brushes to spin the rotor that spins the belt and brush.
  • To transform the brush, electric brushes use a motor, which enables the air to reach deep into the carpet freely without any hassle.
  • There are several other accessories, apart from brushes, that can be used for various purposes in the home, such as mopping floors, de-shedding pets, cleaning blinds, vacuuming cars and other vehicles, etc.
  • When more length is needed, these accessories can be attached to the hose itself or extenders.


  • For particular and specific activities, vacuum attachments or accessories are used.
  • Vacuum accessory packages complete with a vacuum hose.
  • Combination packs with only accessories are available.
  • Electrical accessories and non-electrical ones, both are available to choose from.

Final Words

Hopefully, you are well aware of what is central vacuum by now and how important this device is in our house. You must know about its different advantages and disadvantages too as well as how it is different from a traditional vacuum cleaner. The article gave a brief overview of how the central vacuum system works and how one can install it and use it at home.

Additionally, the different parts which come with a central vacuum system and the accessories, which you may buy, as there are significantly important too, for your central vacuum system to perform efficiently. I believe it was helpful and useful enough to know all the necessary information about what is a central vacuum system and how it works.

As an Amazon & Walmart Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.