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CENTRAL VACUUM SYSTEM INSTALL FAQ

CENTRAL VACUUM SYSTEM INSTALL FAQ

 Installing a central vacuum system in a new or pre-existing home is an easy process in most cases that can be completed in one or two days. Adding a central cleaning system to a residence not only makes cleaning more efficient and convenient, but also adds value to the home that is often 2 - 4 times the initial cost of equipment. Central cleaning is the choice for those who want more power, better filtration and the reliability of a built-in appliance that can not be found in a portable upright or canister vacuum.

  • What is involved in installation of a CV system?
  • How much tubing do I figure per inlet valve?
  • When do I use a 90 short el vs. a 90 sweep el?
  • How many sq. ft. will one valve cover?
  • How high do I mount the inlet valves?
  • Do I need a valve in every room?
  • Do systems need to be exhausted to exterior?
  • Where do I run the trunk line?
  • For an existing installation, how do I get the tubing in the walls?
  • Do I need to order a muffler for each unit?
  • Is a "Motor Protection Valve" or "Suction Relief Valve" needed with my vacuum system?
  • Can I locate the Power Unit in an attic?
  • What is the longest recommended run of tubing?
  • Does an electrician need to install the Supervalves (direct connect)?
  • Can I use schedule 40 tubing plumbers tubing?
  • Do I need a license or permit to install a CVS in my new construction home?
  • How long does it take to install the central vacuum system?
  • Must I use the same brand attachment kit as my power unit?
  • Which Power Units is best for me?
  • Which attachment kit is best for me?
  • What is a central vacuum "Hose Management" system?
What is involved in installation of a central vacuum system?
A Central Vacuum System can be easily installed in both new or existing structures. There are three easy planning steps to the installation process.

1) Determine the Power Unit Location - Power Units can be installed in a basement, garage or utility room. If the Power Unit will be exhausted outside, it is best to choose an exterior wall location to minimize the exhaust tube run. Power Units should not be installed in a small confined area or heat producing area.

2) Inlet Valve Locations - Inlet valves are usually placed on interior walls, in hallways, near (not behind) doorways or close to the bottom of stairs. Potential Furniture placement should be considered when determining valve locations. Inlet valves can be situated between studs, clear of obstructions - plumbing, wiring, heating ducts, etc. In new home installations, the system is installed after HVAC, electric and plumbing, but before drywall

3) In-wall tubing and low voltage wire - Tubing and low voltage wire run in tandem to each valve location, speeding installation time. Both are installed beginning with the inlet valve farthest from the unit.

How much tubing do I figure per inlet valve?
Each valve will use approximately 20' of tubing. Always allow for placement of power unit.

 

When do I use a 90 short el vs. a 90 sweep el?
A 90 short elbow is designed to be used only at each inlet valve location. The tight 90 acts as a trap for debris that might be to large to pass completely through the tube system. For example, if you vacuumed up a small toy or even a comb, it would most likely get caught in the short el, preventing the system from a potential clog.
My Cleanin Supply.us includes only 1 short ell for each inlet in the kit and 1 extra for backup.

How many sq. ft. will one valve cover?
On average one valve will cover 500-700 square feet of living space. This estimate is wide ranging based on inlet location and length of hose used. If a shorter hose is used, more valves are needed.

How high do I mount the inlet valves?
This is mostly a personal preference, though inlet valves are typically installed at the same height as electrical receptacles.

Do I need a valve in every room?
No. With proper planning, one valve will usually cover two or three rooms.

Do systems need to be exhausted to exterior?
The Filtered Cyclonic Systems are designed with an optional exhaust. The unit can be exhausted outside if desired. Exhaust tubing runs are critical and should never exceed 30ft for any model or brand. Shorter is always better in exhaust runs. If exhausting outside be sure to add an exhaust outlet to protect the system from insects that may enter the CVS motor from the outside.

Where do I run the trunk line?
The trunk line will be run either in the basement or in the attic. The trunk line should be run as straight as possible from the power unit location to the farthest inlet valve.

For an existing installation, how do I get the tubing in the walls?
You will need to have access to the studs either through an attic or basement location. Tubing can be inserted between the studs from either location. Some retro-fit installations run the trunk in an attic and come down into the house inside a closet. The pipe is run inside a closet wall and then "poked" through the walls to reach the room where you want the inlet.

Do I need to order a muffler for each unit?
Mufflers work best when outside venting in not possible. Consider adding a muffler if your installation can not be vented outside, is mounted on a wall very close to living space or mounted in a space that may be occupied (basement, mudroom, etc). Also check your power unit specifications as most units of the low-noise type include a muffler from the factory.

Is a "Motor Protection Valve" or "Suction Relief Valve" needed with my vacuum system?
No. These devices are supposed to open a fresh air intake in the event of a clog in your tube system in order to prevent motor "burnout". For the vast majority (99.9%) of CVS owners these devices are a bad idea. Most every central vacuum uses a tangential bypass motor in which the working air (the air you vacuum inside your home) is pulled through the fan system and exhausted through a port in the vacuum motor and outside - if so equipped with an exhausting pipe system. This working air does not cool the motor. Instead a second cooling fan on top of the motor pulls air for around the power unit for motor cooling. That's the reason for vents/slots on top and side of the motor housing of a CVS unit. While there are motors that use working air for cooling, they are extremely rare in CVS power units.

The second assumption in the marketing of this suction relief valve is that central vacuums clog often, or that they clog at all. Many people that have always used under powered or inferior designs of portable upright or canister vacuum which clog easily assume the same is true of central vacuums when it is not. Many CVS owners will report never having a clog issue with 25+ years of use.

Lastly, "suction relief" valves do just that - relieve your system of it suction when it is not necessary. Many of these devices are home-made by dealers or adapted from other uses and are unreliable which makes cleaning with a CVS inconvenient. If a suction relief valve was needed in a central vacuum power unit you can be sure that the CVS manufacturers would build it right into the unit. Instead most manufacturers use a more reliable thermal reset that shuts the motor down if overheating occurs. The suction relief valve seems to follow the same marketing plan as the SCHD40 2 inch pipe adapter (see refrence and link later in this article) in an effort to take advantage of the first time CVS buyer.

Can I locate the Power Unit in an attic?
We do not recommend placing the power unit in an attic. The attic space may retain heat and cause the motor to experience premature failure. An attic location may also be difficult to reach when the dirt canister needs emptied.

What is the longest recommended run of tubing?
Each power unit is different. However, we provide general guidelines in the specifications of each unit on the My Cleanin Supply.us website.
The longest run of tubing is the run from the power unit to the farthest inlet valve.

Does an electrician need to install the Supervalves (direct connect)?
In most instances, an installer can install standard valves, vacpans and the low voltage portion of the direct connect style (super) valves. Each SuperValve has a box for connecting the 110v wire that will need hardwired into the electrical system by an certified electrician.

Can I use schedule 40 tubing plumbers tubing?
The 2" PVC central vac tubing is different in size and quality from plumbing grade tubing. Central vacuum tubing is 2" OD and is manufactured with a completely smooth interior to prevent the tube system from catching small dirt particles and building a clog. Central Vacuum manufacturers and industry professionals do not recommend the use of water or sewage pipe for central vacuums for many reasons. 

Do I need a license or permit to install a CVS in my new construction home?
At the time of this article we know of no state, city or town that requires a special license or permit for the self-install in new construction though it might be a good idea to check with your contractor. As of January 1, 2006 a specification for the materials used to install a CVS system and intra-system fittings (all fittings from the back of the mounting plate to the power unit including tee's, wye's, ell's and couplings) must be marked with the ASTM F2158 standard as well as the IAMPO UMC logo. If your area is covered by the Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) then use of unmarked fittings may result in a failed inspection which may require replacement of the installed fittings. All My Cleanin Supply.us fittings conform to the standards and are marked accordingly. All electric inlets sold by My Cleanin Supply.us are UL listed or approved.

 

How long does it take to install the central Vacuum System?
Most new home installations can be complete in less than one day. A typical 3 inlet pre-existing install may require a weekend for two people to complete.

Must I use the same brand attachment kit as my power unit?
No. All attachment kits we sell are universal and will work with all brands of power units we offer. Our attachment kits will also work with most all pre-existing systems on the market, even older ones. Some systems from Kenmore, Vacuflo and Nutone (pre 1995) may require adaptors or new inlets to be installed. If you have any questions about upgrading your system with a new attachment kit, just give us a call at 800 696-8227.

Which Power Units Is Best For Me?
The brand and model of power unit you choose should be based on the size of your home, the types of floors you will be cleaning and the method of filtration you desire. Use the manufacturers square footage guides as a general recommendation to start, then compare suction and airflow (or air watts, a total number of suction and airflow). Also take into consideration the filtration method, collection bin capacity and the cleaning load you will need to cover. For example a 2,000 sqft installation of 50/50 hard floors & carpeting with 2 adults will require less cleaning power than 2,000 sqft of 20/80 hard floors & carpeting with 2 adults, 2 children and 2 pets in the home. Stronger CVS power units will offer longer and more consistent cleaning performance in highly loaded homes, and will also require less maintenance.

Which attachment kit is best for me?
The brand and style of attachment kit will vary by the type of flooring you intend to clean with your central vacuum. Straight suction and Turbo kits are for hard floors and homes with only area or throw rugs. For cleaning homes with installed carpets the use of a Powered Brush system is recommended. The brand and quality of the attachment set is best determined by the size of the area being cleaned. While most any quality or brand power brush might be appropriate for a 1200 sqft installation with carpeted bedrooms and hard floor living areas, many lesser quality power brush attachment kits would not be appropriate for a 2,500 sqft installation of mostly carpeting with pets and children in the home where it will receive considerably more usage.

This article was published on Monday 04 August, 2008.
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