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Common Central Vacuum Problems & Their Causes

Central vacuum systems are popular for their ease of use, supreme suction and longevity.  A well maintained system can last for 20 years or more.  Some problems such as clogs or reduced suction cannot be helped, even with regular maintenance.

There are plenty of guides online explaining how you can repair a central vacuum yourself, while some problems can require a simple fix, it is important to be cautious.  Like ordinary vacuum cleaners, central vacuum systems have a lot of electrical parts.  A lot of the time central vacuum repairs will involve electrical components.  Hiring a contractor gives an added security that should something go wrong, you won’t be the one footing the bill for the added repair/replacement.

Without proper electrical training attempting a repair yourself can presents a risk to safety as well as posing a cause for fire.

Central vacuum wall
The part of a central vacuum pipe with wall attachment

Common causes for central vacuum repair

Some problems you might face include clogged pipes/tubes, loss of suction or a unit that is failing to turn off.  Here are some of the common causes and what you can do when you face a problem:

Clogged pipes, or hose – A clog could appear anywhere in your central vacuum piping system.  As with standard vacuum cleaners, clogs are a common occurrence.

With a central vacuum however, it’s a little more complex.  When you find you have a clog, the first step you may want to make is to check the pipes yourself:

  • Between unit and first inlet
  • Bestween first inlet and rest of system
  • Reverse the hose at the inlet

Reduced suction caused by leaks – A leak in your central vacuum can be caused by:

  • Damage to tubing such as punctures and cracks
  • Disconnected tubing
  • Broken or removed inlet covers.
  • Having multiple hoses plugged in at once

A leak in one of your tubes can often be repaired relatively easily, or if needed the tube can be replaced.  Be sure that you don’t have other hoses plugged in, this is a surefire way to drain your suction!

Unit will not turn on or off – This is usually caused by a tripped wire, or broken relay.

  • Unit wont turn on – Check the circuit breaker in your house to see if it is tripped, turn off the central vacuum and reset the circuit breaker. If it trips again, try the reset button if your unit has one.
  • Unit wont turn off – This is most likely caused by a bad relay, call a repair professional for an inspection and to ask about a replacement.

When it comes to central vacuum repair if you are not sure always leave it to a professional.