A central vacuum system is a great investment nowadays because it can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for you to clean your house and even your vehicle. It takes out the hard work from cleaning your surfaces by placing your central vac in one central location so that you won’t have to lug it around to reach the far corners of each room. The most important thing is to install it next to a centrally located outlet and you’re good to go. Central vacs are usually quieter and less demanding in terms of maintenance when compared to other models, especially because they’re static.
However, their silent operation does come with a caveat. Because they work so quietly all the time, it’s hard to tell when there’s a clog in the system, especially because most models will continue to work well despite the clog. But, once the clog is taken out, you’ll notice that the system will run with better efficacy overall.
Is There a Leak or a Blockage?
Once you start to notice a reduction in your vacuum’s suction ability, it’s either the central vacuum clogged or leaking. To determine the exact cause, start by surveying the condition of the power unit itself as well as the attached canister. You’ll probably need to empty the canister or completely replace the filer depending on your central vac’s design. If you choose to empty the canister, leave it at half full and then clean the filters. You should already be cleaning out your filters on a regular basis in any case, so we’re probably preaching to the choir here.
If the suction problems persist, then you may be facing a system blockage and the best way to remedy that is to prevent it from happening in the first place. You can do this by placing an elbow fitting behind the inlet valves while installing the unit so that large particles of dirt won’t be able to travel deep into the vac’s pipes. Also, be sure to not vacuum dust from drywall as that will surely damage your vac, and this type of damage is usually not covered in the warranty of most units.
If large dust particles are able to still come through the elbow fitting that you’ve installed, you’ll have to inspect the pipe through the drywall and clear it of any and all obstruction.
On the other hand, the reduced suction might be caused by leaking pipes, which can happen due to a loose connection or a broken pipe. Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix to this problem and you’ll have to call on an expert to come and replace the broken pipe.
As a central vac system owner, you need to know your way around this machine and how to maintain it. As with anything, prevention is better than cure in this regard. This means getting your central vac inspected and serviced frequently. Whether this is done by a professional or yourself will depend on your willingness because it’s a fairly straightforward process. But if you’ve already failed at preventing the issues and now your central vacuum is clogged, then read on for some helpful advice on how to fix it.
Find Out Where the Central Vacuum System is Clogged
The first thing you need to do is find the clog so that you know what you’re dealing with. This is easier said than done as with other aspects of fixing the problem. Start by checking the central vacuum hose, and if you don’t find anything there, check the other outlets closest to the one that you were using. If you don’t find any clogging in these areas, the clog could be located in the central unit itself.
Perhaps you’ll need to change the filter or empty the canister to remedy the problem, or maybe it could be the central system. The manufacturer’s instructions will provide you with all the information you need to help you perform this part of the unclogging effectively.
Unclog the Central Vacuum Lines
If you find that it’s the lines that are clogged, then you’ll have to buy another vacuum because this is a form of irreparable damage. However, you can always just replace the suction hose and hook it up to the central vac while making sure that it’s placed next to an outlet that is closest to the clog. You might have to create a seal around the edge using a rag so that the vacuum can seamlessly suck the blockage out. Some of the most common types of obstruction include things like small pieces of plastic, children’s toys, and hairballs.
As soon as you finish unclogging the central vac system, you’ll be free to use it once more, but you should test it first to make sure that it’s working properly again. Plus, you’ll do well to apply the prevention methods mentioned above so that you don’t run into the same problem again.
Use a Plumber’s Snake
If the previous fix doesn’t work, you’ll have to explore other methods such as using a plumber’s snake. This device is a great way to pull out the clogging material without causing certain parts of it to go further into the vacuum. What makes it so effective as a tool is the fact that you can move it from side to side so that it latches onto the log long enough to take it out of the inlet valve. Using this process, only a small bit of the obstruction can be removed so you’ll have to repeat it time and again until it’s completely removed. That’s how to clean central vacuum pipes, and once you’re done be sure to switch on your central vacuum system and connect to the inlet valve hose. It should work efficiently now and will automatically expel whatever is left of the clog.
Continuous Clogs and Blockages
There’s nothing more annoying than a blockage in your central vac and unfortunately, it won’t go away on its own. For the best results, you’ll want to try one of the techniques we mentioned above, or simply call a qualified repair professional.
Now you know how to clean a central vacuum system. Do your best to prevent the blockage from happening in the first place and if you can’t, do what you need to fix the problem when your central vacuum gets clogged.