How to Unclog a Central Vacuum System

by Bob 27. June 2012 10:09

Have you been noticing a reduced amount of suction in your central vacuum system? Does your power unit’s motor sound strained? Does one cleaning inlet provide more suction than another? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your central vacuum system may be clogged. Thankfully, it is a simple task to find where most clogs are located. There are three different types of clogs to look for: 

*Bag/Filter Clog: If you have neglected to maintain your motor unit, or have recently vacuumed up fine particles, the motor unit’s bag or filter might be clogged. If this were the case, you would experience low suction from every inlet, including the inlet located on the unit itself. If you own a bagless unit, washing or replacing the filter will solve this problem. In a bagged unit, replacing the bag will do the same. A dirty pre-motor filter should be replaced as well. 

*Hose Clog:  If you are experiencing low suction at each of your inlets, and you have made sure your motor unit’s bag or filter is not clogged, your hose may be the problem. An easy way to check for a hose clog is to turn on the motor unit manually, opening an inlet without the hose, and feeling the suction there. To turn on the unit manually, refer to your owner’s manual, although most units will have a switch on the side marked AUTO and ON, or something similar.  You want to turn the switch to ON. If good suction is coming from the inlets, your hose is clogged. This can be solved by running a  plumber's snake through the hose. 

*Inlet or Piping Clog: If just one or a few inlets experience reduced suction, then the clog is located within the walls. There are a few ways to solve this. The easiest way is to insert a shopvac or canister vacuum hose into the inlet and try to suction out the clog.   A product called TornadoPower Maintenance Cloths might be able to remove the clog. You could also try to run a plumber’s snake through the inlet. If all fails and you can’t remove the clog yourself, call your local central vacuum dealer for help. 

Keeping your system free of clogs will not only allow you to clean better, but will also prolong the life of your motor.  Happy Cleaning! 

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