Central vacuum maintenance | CentralVac trouble shooting | Central vacuum FAQ

Central vacuum maintenance and trouble shooting guide

Central vacuum trouble shooting Questions and Answers

Accidentally Vacuumed Dog Leash into Central Vacuum Pipes

my wife accidentally vacuumed our pet's leash with our central vac. unfortunately, it didn't pass all the way thru the system and end in the vacuum bag--it is still in the pipe somewhere. do you have any recommendations on how i might locate the blockage and remove it? is there a clean out trap that i could add to the piping for future issues? thanks.

Suction several paper towels one at a time down the hose and pipes. It will eventually knock it to the vacuum unit.

Clogged Still - Tried Everything

Our Central Vac is connected to 7 outlets including 2 dustpan outlets. The suction is very weak. I have tried all the suggestions on your troubleshooting guide and can't seem to find the problem. the suction is equally weak in all outlets but is strong at the unit. I have back- sucked (which helped a little for a short time) and tried running a flat wire reel line . I have tried also running the vac cloths trhough and they get stuck and I have to retrieve them by back-sucking with out Filter Queen canister vac. At one point I wrapped a small wire around the flat wire line in hopes of better catching something and in retrieving it, lost the wire in the line. (ooops...) But it didn't change the poor suction any.

You need to find the exact location of the clog. It sounds like something solid like a nail through a pipe. If all ports are bad then it is between the closest port and the unit. Did you try a small plumbers tape from the unit into the hose (not from a port towards the unit)? Get the suction working as good as you can, put a paper towel through the first port while putting your ear on the wall. However may thuds you hear is now many turns the clog is away from the valve. We are trying to find the location so can you see if you an access the pipe to cut it and clear it or repair it. Also, when things are quiet in your home, turn on the unit, put the hose in the furthest valve, then go back toward the first inlet and unit and put your ear on the wall. You should hear the clog rattling. Find it, access it, and repair it.

Condensation Inside Pipes Making Mud

The pipes in my central vac are wet on the inside. Don't know how they got that way. Haven't vacuumed up anything wet. I took them apart at the junction of the upstairs and downstairs system and pulled out a bunch of damp stuff that looked almost like mud! I got most of it out at the junction but I think it probably involve the main up spout as all the outlets downstairs are week while the upstairs outlets are strong. Is there a tool I can use to clean it out? And have your ever heard of a system getting wet on the inside for any reason other than vacuuming something wet?

As warmer air travels through pipe that is exposed to very cold air, there can be condensation. The best thing to do is to insulate the pipe with round foam from a local hardware store. To unclog the system use Solution #3  https://www.acevacuums.com/central-vacuum-repair To clean the system after unclogging it, run 5 lbs of dry rice through the hose and pipes to collect in the unit.

Dog Hair Clogging Filter

I have a Hoover GIII that I got a motor from you for a while back. It works great and has good suction but I have a problem with the filter constantly plugging with dog hair. I ordered an auto style prefilter to stretch over the bottom of the filter housing but it still gets plugged. Is there any solution ? Would the newer style weighted filter setups work better ? Can I update without replacing whole unit. My wife vacuums a lot and I have to unplug it about once a week.

The best and only way to overcome a consistent filter clog is converting to a disposable paper bag. However, this is only possible if you can get an adapter into the intake hole inside the tank. Take a look at our Conversion Kit to see if this will work for you.

Filter Clogged

I have a Galaxy Central vac and the screen on the filter keeps plugging up which does not allow he dirt to fall into canister. Any suggestions?

The screen needs to be cleaned off everytime you empty the unit.

Hard Object Removal From Hose

I have an Electrolux vacuum cleaner and today I accidentally sucked a water bottle cap into the hose and now it isn't sucking at all and it is getting really hot. I took the hose off and looked inside to see if it was in there, but it's not, I think it must be lodged somewhere in the vacuum itself. How do i get it out? Thanks 

Try disconnecting the pipe at the power unit, then use a shop vac at the inlet that is having issues. The reverse pressure might dislodge the hard bottle lid. If that doesn't work, you'll need to call a https://www.acevacuums.com/fairfax  to snake out the line or replace the hose.

Hose Whistles

Sam Houston tx we have an old vent-a-vac (20+yrs) and it whistles when vacuming. It still whistles when u hold the hose with no attachments on it. This whistle is coming from the hose. This whistle starts approx 10-15 secs. After turning the unit on 

Usually this indicates the vacuum hose was installed backwards, meaning the ends are on the wrong sides. If you don't have any switches on the vacuum handle you can pull/turn the ends off and reverse them. The ends are usually twisted on the hose end but in the opposite direction of what is normal. If the hose is a stretch hose, there are some on the market that whistle because they are of poor quality. If it is an older hose that did not whistle previously, it would be that the entire system is the culprit. Clean your filter and it may change the dynamics of the system and resolve the whistling issue. Your last resort would be to purchase a new hose.

Low Suction All Inlets but Lines Not Clogged

My name is Larry from Ashboro North Carolina and I have an extremely difficult case. My home has 5 outlets all of which have low suction but will however, pull a tissue back to the canister. I have tried hooking up a shop vac to each outlet and nothing happens. I ran a marble through the main hose and out the other end it came. I have tried fishing a fish line through each outlet and don't seem to find a clog. I have plenty of suction at the unit. Do you have any suggestions?

Does your system have great suction directly at the unit where the PVC pipe intake is connected? If not, please refer to our Troubleshooting Guide to help pinpoint the issue. If your system does have great suction at the unit, then the issue may likely be a break in the vacuum lines somewhere or an an elbow came undone. The best thing to do is turn the vacuum on in the middle of the night when it is completely quiet and listen for a suction sound in the walls, basement and attic.

Low Suction in All Inlets

Hello, I have a silent master central vac with 4 outlets and my problem is it has very low suction from all five outlets. I have a hose with a switch on it. Tried to see for blockage but there is none and i can't find any reason for low suction. please help. sue from Arizona 

Many SilentMasters have two motors. If one motor is out you will have 50% power. The motor appears to spin because air from the working motor is turning it. Press on the white minibreakers on the bottom right to see if one is popped out (pops out about an inch). Also, go through these steps to ensure the issue is not something else, such as the hose.

Match Box Car and Ball in Vacuum Tubing

Our two year old son put a matchbox car down one of the outlets of our central vac system on the ground floor of our home. The collection canister is located in the garage, probably 35 feet away, but the pipe into the collection unit seems to go up. Will the car be too heavy to pull it up/out of the system? We have not turned on the unit yet because we do not know what to do: try to shop-vac it out from the outlet or turn on the central vac and home it makes it to the canister/use papertowels, etc. Oh, and as we parents were looking at the outlet, our five year old daughter said that she put a small ball in the same outlet a couple of years ago (& never told us until now). Please advise!!

The best option is by using a paper towel or our specialized Free Flow Pipe and Hose Maintenance Sheets which will help push the item(s) through the pipeline and back to your unit . When a central vacuum is installed properly, the first turn right at the inlet is the sharpest - if it makes it past this turn, the item will go all the way through the system (even up a pipe) with the help of a paper towel or specialized cloth.

One Port has Little Suction Compared to Other Ports

We are getting little suction from one inlet port. The port closest to canister works well. Is this a plugged line and if so how do we fix it?

If all ports have strong suction except for one, this indicates a clog in that section of the pipeline. Follow the steps in Solution #3 on our TroubleShooting Flowchart to resolve this issue.

Removing Drywall Chunks from Pipes

I recently bought a house with a central vac system. I think that the guys who did the drywall downstairs sucked up a lot of heavy debris and that stuff is in the internal tubes. My vac retailer sold me some little towels to clean out the system. I don't think towels can remove chuncks of debris. How do I get out the plaster debris? thanks

To remove the drywall pieces, suction full paper towels, socks, or specialized Free Flow Pipe and Hose Maintenance Cloths (one at a time) into the hose from the towel's corner edge. Do this several times in each inlet to knock the debris through the pipes and into the collection unit. You may want to change/clean your filter first though because drywall dust is the most restrictive to air flow.

Screw Stuck, Sparks and Heat

I sucked a 1 1/2 inch screw into my VacuMaid central vac. We could hear it rattling through, but it didn't come through in the cannister. Now the motor smells hot and I can still hear the rattle. When I took off the protective plate it looks like the motor is sparking when I plug in the hose. The hose still has suction but it sounds terrible. 

The screw is not causing the motor issues. The sparks are the motor brushes going bad and heating up the machine. The motor or entire unit should be replaced (we recommend the SilentMaster or Flo-Master). In order to dislodge the screw, suction a paper towel or our specialized Free Flow Pipe and Hose Maintenance Sheets through your hose and into the piping to help push the screw through to the collection unit.

Sock Stuck in Hose

I sucked up a large sock into my Electrolux superlux hose. I have tried shoving it through with a long pipe, but the sock won't budge. Any suggestions?

Turn the hose around so that the suction is coming out of the handle. Put the handle into the wall port using your hand as a gasket and use the system's suction power to try and remove the sock.

Some Valves Clogged?

Our central vac works on the second floor but not on the first floor - is it possible that it is clogged? It first stopped working when plugged into the bin - now it stopped working when plugged into the kitchen plug. Please help. thank you.

It is very possible that the clog is at a junction in the piping so you have part of the home with suction and part without. It may also be the hose used in part of the home is clogged. Please run through the steps to the left of the Start button on our Troubleshooting Flowchart to find the issue and solve it.

Stealth Lights

Hello, On the power head the green light comes on but the red light does not. I'm thinking that it used to. I just unclogged it after realizing it wasn't picking up much. Thought the light would come on then, but it has not. Can you help? Thanks, Sandy Cathlamet, Washington This is the Stealth powerhead that has the green and red light on the top

When the green light is on, the Stealth head is working fine. If the red light comes on, there is too much resistance on the brush roller and eventually the motor will turn off for safety.

Suctioned Valuable Item into Central Vacuum Pipes

Hello, Accidentally vacuumed up my diamond necklace. It was a necklace with a diamond charm. Necklace was not hooked together when it went down the vacuum. It has not come out into the canister. I have tried to sent bb's and fabric softener sheets thru the system. They all made it to the canister. Any suggestions? Is there anything I can do to dislodge the necklace and the diamond? How can bb's make it thru but not the necklace. Please help.

As the necklace weighs more than normal debris, it will require more assistance to move through the pipe. Suction a dozen dry paper towels or socks (one at at time) to get it moving through the pipes to be collected in the unit.

Temporary Clogs, Suspect Globs in Collection Unit

I have a Broan central vac which works fine on the first floor but has weak suction and pipe clogging on the second floor. Because the unit was installed after the house was built, the piping to the second floor was routed up to the attic and then across and down through the space between the wall studs. I have seen hard, caked clumps of lint in the collection canister from time to time and suspect that with the change in seasons there might be a problem of water condensation in the horizontal attic pipe. Does this seem to make sense? What would you suggest that I do? Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

This is likely due to a combination of condensation and clog build up. You may have a burr or something catching hair and debris in the pipeline which may have occured from a sloppy connection during installation. Over time the hair and debris builds up to a mass that is not able to pass through the pipeline due to the torque of the suction coming from your unit. Please review Solution #3 on our Troubleshooting Flowchart for ideas on how to unclog the system.

Test Wall Inlet Plate with Short Hose

I am looking for (or the parts to build) an inlet tester for a Beam system. I would like something like a shot hose with the proper end that fits into the inlet and can turn on the central vac unit. Can you assist me? I have poor suction using the large hose. It appears to be not clogged, but if I put my hand over the end, the hose will coil up and there will be almost no exhaust out of the vac. So I would like to test without the hose and see if I need a new hose. Thanks,

In the central vacuum industry we use this simple hose end to test inlets and help work out clogs. Slide it into the inlet and the suction will start (on inlets with two small metal contacts inside the inlet hole). If there is a clog in the lines cover your hand over the hose end and let pressure build up then release. Do this until the clog gets loose.

Tough Clog, What's Next?

MD Silent Master with 30 year old pipes. I allowed the bag to get over full - lot of dog hair. After changing the bag I ran a maintenance cleaning cloth into one outlet and it did not go through to bag. The outlet now has weak suction. I have tried the hand over end then release trick. Other outlets seem to be OK. I don't hear any noise in the line. Should I run paper towels in the outlet or ?

Please try the hand over end trick some more, letting the suction built up and then releasing it. Try that for 5 minutes. If not successful you'll need to apply suction to the inlet valve (hole). You can do that by hooking your hose into the valve on the main unit and run the hose to the valve to suction out the clog. You first need to disconnect the intake pipe to the main unit. If the hose is too short to do that then remove the unit from the wall and bring it closer to the valve. Do the same build up and release with the main unit suction into the valve.

Unclogging the Hose

There's no suction coming out of the nozzle, but when I put my hand against the nozzle end, I can hear what sounds like pebbles or some kind of debris inside the hose. I looked at the troubleshooting chart and it says: "Reverse the hose at inlet on power unit. Suck it out." How do I do that? 

We suggest putting the hose handle end into the vacuum port on the wall or preferable into a port on the vacuum unit. Use your hand as a gasket for leaking air. Put the end in and out of the port and try to work the clog loose. You can put a dull butter knife down the hose and try to loosen it that way too.

VacPan Clog Removal

Hi, My suction in my central vac pan is low. It is usually very strong and loud but today it is very low. I have tested all the outlets and the suction seems pretty strong. I have a silent master. Can you please help to see how I can get the possible clog out in a vac pan?

You can try removing the VacPan and attempt to locate the clog in the pipeline at the opening. If it is further up the line, you may need to call a service technician to have it removed.

Vacuumed Key Ring into Pipes of Central Vacuum

My toddler has put a set of keys into one of the ports in our Beam Vacuum system. I have tried to retrieve them using metal coat hangers, and magnets but cannot seem to reach them. I have also put hose in to see if they would come through into canister but unfortunately not. Im not sure if they have just dropped down into pipe close to port or if they have made their way further into system. I couldn't hear anything when I tried to suck them through to canister. Any ideas on how to retrieve them?! 

You'll probably have to access the pipe and cut it if the key ring is too heavy to move. If you think it will move, suction up full paper towels or socks (one at a time, repeatedly) to see if it makes it to the tank. If it has to go upward it will probably never make it and you'll need to cut or use a very flexible fisherman's tape to try to hook it.

Water Vacuumed Up

I vacuumed a carpet that I didn't know was wet and later noticed water in my Beam central vacuum bucket and the hanging filter bag was slightly damp at the top only. Bottom of filter bag was dry and that usually gets sucked up into the vacuum when running. Vacuum still runs but I left the bucket off and the bag hanging to dry out. Used a towel to see how wet the filter bag was and not much water was on towel. Wondering if I did any harm to the motor? 

Doubtful you did any harm to the motor or the system. You should turn on the vacuum with the hose connected and let air flow through it for 15 minutes to let the hose and pipes dry out. Do this after the bag is completely dry.


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