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 central vacuum system?
- 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
- 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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.