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Home l Central Vacuum Installation
Central Vacuum Shopping has put together the best installation guide for our customers. 

Central Vacuum Installation Guide
Let us help you plan your central vacuum installation with helpful information and tips.

Our installation guide is put together using information from many professional companies along with the knowledge and experience of our technical staff.

Congratulations on the purchase of your new central vacuum system. It will make cleaning your home easier and improve indoor air quality for you and your family. The central vacuum system typically can be installed in virtually any home with no costly alterations and very little mess. This guide will show how to install your central vacuum system in your home in a few easy steps.

Before you begin installation, read this guide. Also review local building codes so your installation complies with them. There are also many helpful installation videos on YouTube.

Central Vacuum Install Help

Some Tools Needed For Installing A Central Vacuum
Drywall Saw (optional)
Electrical Tape / Duct Tape
Electric Drill - 1/2" w/ Right-Angle If Possible
Flashlight
Hammer
Hole Saw or Cutter - 2-1/4"
Metal Coat Hanger
Pencil
Pipe Cutter or Hacksaw
Safety Goggles
Screwdrivers (Phillips & Flat Head)
Tape Measure
Stud Finder
Utility Knife
Wire Stripper

General Information
Important Electrical Information
Most central vacuum cleaners are designed to operate with alternating current (110/120 Volts), however some models may operate with 220 volts. Make sure to connect your central vacuum to an electrical circuit in compliance with the specifications indicated on the systems nameplate.

Planning
Each one of our installation kits contains a sufficient number of fittings to complete most installations. Some installations however, may require additional fittings and elbows. As this guide will show you, there are instances where either a 45 degree elbow or a sweeping 90 elbow can be used. Maximize your fittings, because should you need another 90 degree elbow to complete the installation and only have one 45 degree elbow your installation will be left incomplete. After you have planned your system, count all the components in your installation kit to ensure that you will have sufficient parts and fittings for the completion of the installation.

Central Vacuum Unit Location
In selecting the power unit location the following points should be carefully considered. Install the central vacuum as far from the living area as possible so that normal household activities can be carried out with as little noise as possible coming from the vacuum while vacuuming. This also insures that there is no recirculation of dust in the living area.

An ideal location for the power unit would be the garage where the unit's inlet valve (if your unit has one) will come in handy when you wish to vacuum your car, and changing the filter or emptying the dirt will be easier. Other suitable locations can also be found in a basement, basement crawl space, furnace room, under weather-proof sin deck, laundry room, carport or any ventilated storage area.

Number of Wall Inlet Valves & Their Locations
Inlet valves can be installed either on the floors or in the walls and the process normally requires two people. One person should hold the end of a 30 ft. string at the proposed wall inlet location while the other will determine the furthest reach of the 30 ft. length. If the blueprint of the premises is available, the use of a 7-1/2" string will be of great help determining the inlet valve location. Simply lay the string from the proposed inlet valve location into every corner of the areas you intend to reach from that particular inlet. The end of the hose should reach both floor and ceiling to enable you to vacuum your draperies and blinds. Repeat this procedure until you are sure that the most effective locations for all inlet valves have been chosen.

Existing home: The inlet valve must be within 6 feet (1.83m) of an electrical outlet to provide power to the powerhead. A switch on the handle sends a signal through “low-voltage” (24 volt) wiring to turn the power unit on and off.

Choosing the right spot for the inlet valve
Use a stud finder, or sound out the wall, to make sure the site for the inlet valve is between the studs and that the space is open behind the wall board. Also check the other side of the wall to make sure it’s clear of obstructions such as utilities and outlets. Caution: Do not install an inlet behind a door or in a wall that has a pocket door. Then have a helper hold the end of the hose at the proposed site for the inlet valve and take the other end and walk around the room (s). If you have no helper, use a piece of cord or string that is 30 feet (9.15m) long—the length of the hose. You want to be able to reach everywhere from floor to ceiling even with furniture in the way. You may have to choose a different location or add another inlet to cover the entire floor. Remember, one inlet usually lets you cover about 700-800 square feet (63-72 sq m). Repeat this on each floor of your home.

Also keep in mind that staircases are more conveniently vacuumed from the top downward. Therefore, an inlet valve should be located close enough to the bottom of the staircase so that the hose reaches the upper step comfortably. This way the hose is always behind you and doesn't get into the path of the work area. Also keep in mind that 30 ft. hoses are the most common, however 36 ft hoses or longer are also available. Now proceed with the installation of the branch lines from the inlet valve to the intended main line location.

Plan the tubing installation
Before you install tubing to carry dust and dirt to the power unit, plan your route. Run the tubing beneath the sub-floor whenever possible because it makes tubing easier to work with and creates the shortest path between the inlet valves and the power unit. If the tubing has to run next to a water heater or chimney flue—for your safety and to comply with building codes—use metal central vacuum system tubing for that section. Hint: A local central vacuum system dealer may provide metal tubing. If the tubing runs through an unheated attic or other unprotected environment, wrap it with insulation to prevent condensation and the possibility of clogging.

Install the inlet valves
Existing home inlet valve installation

Directly beneath the proposed inlet site, use a flat bladed screwdriver to wedge the molding aside. Then, take a wire coat hanger and snip a long straight piece from it. Insert the wire into the chuck of your drill and then holding the drill vertically beneath the intended inlet site, slowly drill down into the floor alongside the baseboard or where the wall and floor intersect. Release the wire from the drill chuck and leave it in the pilot hole to serve as a locator. Then go to the basement and look for the wire protruding from the ceiling.

Now you can see where the inlet valve is going to be above you. Measure from the wire to find the center of the sole plate and wall cavity. Note: You may want to drill a 3/4" (1.9cm) diameter inspection hole to avoid cutting into the bottom of a stud or other inner-wall obstructions. Then using a flash light and/or probe, inspect the interior of the wall to be sure there are no obstructions. If there are obstructions, you may have to move the inlet site. If there are no obstructions, drill a 2-1/4" diameter hole (5.7cm) in the bottom of the hollow wall through the sole plate. Make sure to cut in between the walls. The tubing is 2" (5.08cm) in diameter, so the hole will give you room to manipulate the tubing. Again, check for obstructions using a flash light and a length of tubing. If there are no obstructions, go back upstairs and mark the inlet location on the wall. To do that, at the electrical outlet adjacent to the inlet site, measure up from the floor to the center of the outlet. At the proposed inlet site measure up from the floor the same distance. This will be the center of your inlet valve. If you prefer, you may locate the inlet at a more convenient height. Some homeowners prefer the inlet at finger tip height, about 30" (76.2cm) above the floor.

Take a wall mounting bracket, cut or snap off the new construction flange and dispose of it. In new construction, nail the tab to the stud. (See New Construction inlet valve installation.) Use a level to make sure the mounting bracket is level. Then trace the outline of the mounting bracket onto the wall. Take a utility knife and score the lines. Then use the utility knife or a drywall saw to cut a hole though the drywall. Hint: A drywall saw makes the job easier. Attach a 90 degree dual elbow fitting to the flange on the back of the mounting bracket. Note: The ends of the fitting are different lengths to accommodate walls of different widths. Apply glue
around the outside of the flange and twist the 90 degree elbow fitting into place. Make sure the open end faces the direction it will meet the tubing—usually straight down. Note: If tubing has to run from the attic, the opening of the 90 degree fitting will face upward. Caution: Never apply glue to the inside of fittings or tubing. Apply glue only to the outside of the tubing. This will prevent glue from creating obstructions which could clog your system. Run about 6" (15.24cm) of low-volt wire through the guide hole in the mounting bracket. Split the wire into
two strands and strip 1" of insulation from each strand. Wrap the strands in a clockwise direction around the screws on the back of the inlet valve. Tighten the screws. Now attach a weight to the end of the low-voltage wire and drop it down to the basement or crawlspace.

Have a length of wire coat hanger ready with one end bent into a hook. Insert the mounting bracket into the wall hole...first down... then up...centering it. Take the hanger and insert the hooked end of the hanger into the 90 degree elbow to hold the bracket in place. Then, slide the inlet valve along the wire hanger into the mounting bracket. Screw the valve into place. Remove the wire hook. Caution: Inlet kits come with a long and a short screw, so be sure to use the short screw in the hole facing the elbow since the long screw could puncture it. Be sure to mount the inlet valve so the lid pulls down to open. Then apply glue to an adequate length of tubing and aim it upwards through the hole in the sole plate and into the  90 degree fitting on the back of the mounting bracket.

Closet wall installation
Often the only practical solution is to install your system with the tubing going through a wall into a closet, then down through the closet floor. To use this method, select a suitable inlet valve location outside a closet—exercising the same precautions as for normal wall installation. Then, using a length of coat hanger, drill a hole through both walls. Hold the wire perfectly horizontal so the interior and exterior holes line up with one another. Check for inner wall obstructions by bending a short length of coat hanger wire at a right angle and twirl the right angle piece inside the wall. If there are no obstructions, drill a 2-1/4" (5.7cm) hole horizontally through both walls. Enlarge the hole in the exterior wall to accommodate the inlet valve assembly (valve and mounting bracket). (As described above in “Installing an inlet valve.”) Inside the closet, drill a pilot hole through the floor beneath the opening in the wall or at a convenient spot nearby to check for obstructions. If there are no obstructions, cut a 2-1/4" (5.7cm) hole through the floor. Run low-voltage wire through the hole in floor, and through the wall to exterior of closet.

Pass low-voltage wire through the wire guide hole in the inner wall closet assembly and tape low voltage wire to this assembly immediately behind the bracket. Attach wires to low-voltage terminals on the back of the inlet valve. Place the inner wall assembly lengthwise through the wall opening and arrange the assembly so the bracket is flush with the inside surface of the wall. Screw the inlet valve to the wall.

Floor valve installation
To install a floor inlet valve, drill a pilot hole with a wire coat hanger and check the location as previously described. When you are sure that the proposed location will not be blocked by a joist or other obstruction, cut a hole in the carpet slightly larger than your 2-1/4" (5.7cm) drill bit. Drill a 2-1/4" (5.7cm) hole in the floor. Enlarge the opening to accommodate the low-volt connections. Assemble an adapter reducer bushing and attach the low-volt wire to the inlet valve. Drop the low-volt wire to the basement. Screw the valve to the floor. Repeat until all inlets are installed.

Multi-story homes
Multi-story homes usually require one or more inlets on each level. Instead of trying to line up inlet valves from one level to the next, run a separate line of tubing from the upstairs inlet valve to a branch line or to the main trunk line. In a two-story home, upstairs beneath the site you’ve selected for the inlet valve, cut a hole just large enough to allow you to reach the second-floor sole plate. Hint: Cut the hole low in the wall for easier drilling through the sole plate. Cut a 2-1/4" (5.7 cm) hole in the sole plate. Install the inlet valve just as before. Then, from the basement, insert a length of tubing long enough to reach through the hole in the second floor sole plate to the site for the inlet valve. You may have to join several lengths of tubing. Measure and pre-cut these pieces and test fit them before gluing. When you do apply glue, work quickly to prevent the glue at the top end of the tubing from drying out before it reaches the fitting at the inlet valve. Remember: Apply glue only to the outside of the tubing. Hint: When upstairs, remember to aim the elbow downward. Other ways to reach the upstairs
in your home are through the interiors of closets or pantries, beneath a staircase, or with floor inlets. If the inlet valve will be serviced from the attic, shorter pieces of tubing joined by couplings may be required because of overhead space restrictions. Again, measure and test fit. When gluing, work quickly to prevent the glue from drying before the tubing reaches the inlet valve.

Installing an automatic sweep inlet
If you’re installing an automatic sweep inlet...an automatic dustpan...a very popular option for the kitchen, mudroom, and bath...here are some pointers. First, determine the best place to install the sweep inlet...usually beneath a cabinet...and remove any molding or baseboard. Drill a pilot hole using a length of wire coat hanger and find the wire in the ceiling below. Drill up through the floor beneath the cabinet to check for obstructions...and to make sure you can connect the tubing to the main line. If there are no obstructions, enlarge the hole in the floor
beneath the cabinet and check the clearances. Now, return to the kitchen/mudroom/bath to measure and saw the rectangular hole for the sweep inlet and fasten the inlet into place. In the basement, attach the tubing and string the low-voltage wire just as you would for any inlet. Hint: See sweep inlet manual for details.

New Construction inlet valve installation
Select a site for the inlet valve and drill a pilot hole through the floor. Go below to check that
the tubing path is clear of present, or future, obstructions such as floor joists, heating ducts,
plumbing, wires, etc. At the inlet valve location, drill a 2-1/4" (5.7cm) diameter hole through
the sole plate. The hole should be 2" (5.1cm) from the side of the stud and centered between
the front and back edges of the sole plate. Glue a length of tubing into a stud-mounting
bracket assembly. Cut a length of low-voltage wiring, bring approximately 6" (15.24cm) through
top wire guide hole in stud bracket assembly and double it back into elbow hole. Tape wire to
tubing at assembly elbow and again close to end, and tuck remaining wire into bottom of
tubing. Screw plaster guard onto face of assembly.

Drop bottom of tubing through 2-1/4" (5.7cm) hole and nail stud-mounting bracket assembly to
stud. Make sure the center of the inlet hole is at the correct height above floor level and the
tubing extends below the sub-flooring. To prevent a nail or screw from penetrating the vacuum
tubing, install nail guards on the sole or top plates adjacent to the tubing. See “Installation
Step Six: Install the tubing” and complete tubing installation as much as possible. After the walls
are finished and painted, plaster guards can be removed and inlet valves installed. The tubing
system may be completed at that time and the power unit installed.

Install the tubing
(Existing Home or New Construction)

Beginning at the inlet farthest from the power unit, temporarily fasten tubing for the main trunk line into position. Hint: Loop string or low-voltage wire from a nail or overhead pipe, etc., to cradle the tubing — holding it in position while you work.

Push a length of tubing up into bottom of the elbow on the inlet valve assembly. Piece together sections of tubing without glue at first to make sure things fit properly. Mark the connections so you can re-assemble them the same way. Remember, the tubing enters the fitting approximately 3/4" (1.9cm). Measure, cut, and de-burr tubing, and, using a 90 degree sweep elbow, slip-fit the vertical tubing line to the main horizontal line. To avoid potential clogging problems when installing tubing and fittings:

Make straight cuts on tubing (pipe/tubing cutter works well). Remove burrs from ends of tubing. Be sure tubing fits against the shoulder of the fitting with no gaps. Glue only the outside edge of the tubing before assembly into fittings.

Connect tubing from additional inlet valves to the main trunk line using 90 degree sweep tee elbow fittings and use clamps to hold the sections in place. Be sure to install the sweep tee fittings so the sweep is toward the power unit. Always run branch lines from the sides or top of the main trunk line never out of the bottom because this will create a trap for dirt to fall into. String the low-voltage wire along as you assemble the tubing. Join or splice low-volt wires with wire connectors at each junction or branch in the tubing. To make sure the polarity is right,
always attach wires of the same color to each other…typically copper to copper and silver-to-silver. Proceed until the tubing system is complete.

Masonry or concrete walls
If you have to run tubing through masonry or concrete walls, rent a hammer drill and/or masonry hole saw. Run the tubing through and patch the hole once you’re up and running. Before drilling, check local building codes for special fire wall penetration regulations. The code also should tell you if steel tubing is required.

Check your installation—to make sure it works properly
All that’s left to do is check the quality of your installation. First, check to see if you have a closed system; with no hose or handle attached, and all inlet valves closed, there should be little or no air coming through the exhaust on the power unit when it is turned on. Second, with the system still running, walk through your home. If you hear whistling or hissing, you may have forgotten to glue a connection. Check basement and attic areas, too. Third, have a helper plug the hose into each of the inlet valves to be sure you can turn the power on. Turn off the
switch on the hose handle. If it does not shut off, the low voltage wires are crossed somewhere…usually at an inlet valve.



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