Central Vacuum Motor Repair

Central vacuum installations are driven by a powerful electric motor that are usually trouble free. When the motor breaks down, there are a few possibilities to repair them.

Step 1 – Check the System Manual

The system manual should give instructions on how to access the various parts of the system and indications of possible repairs. You should always review the manual before you make any repairs to keep the process safe.

Step 2 – Check for Power

If the motor shows no sign of life at all, check that it is receiving power. To do this open the motor housing on your central unit. The way to do this will depend upon the make and model you have. Often the electric motor can be accessed through the cylinder or an inspection panel for testing.

Step 3 – If There is Power

If there is power going to the motor, the problem will be in one of two areas: either the carbon brushes are worn or the armature needs rewinding.

Step 4 – Remove the Motor

Switch off and isolate the central unit and remove the electric motor. The motor housing may be detachable from the main unit which will make it much easier to work on. There will be a cover for the motor section which has to be removed. There are different types of fasteners used to hold electric motors in place and you will have to make a visual check to see which are used on your motor.  First, release the supply cable from the motor terminals and then remove each of the fasteners.

Step 5 - Check the Motor

Clean the motor so that you can read any manufacturer information panels that are attached to it. These will give details of the make and model number of the motor and, possibly, the correct brush model numbers and details of the armature winding.

Step 6 – Check the Brushes

Carbon brushes are found at opposite sides of the motor body and the housings cannot be mistaken. There is no standard method of fitting carbon brushes so once again you will have to do a visual review to learn how to remove them properly.

The carbon brushes will not be difficult to remove but be prepared for them to jump out of the housing because they are spring loaded. The carbon brush is little more than a block of carbon fitted to the end of a spring. If the brush is worn it will be very obvious. Check both brushes because it is possible for one to appear all right.

Step 7 – Buy and Replace the Brushes

Once the brushes are removed, you can take them to a supplier to buy the replacement brushes that you need. Fit the brushes into the motor. Compress the springs to get the fasteners to work.  

Step 8 – Replace and Test the Motor

Re-assemble the built in vacuum unit and test the motor. Be careful to assemble the motor while it is unplugged. Once you test the motor, you can plug it in, but, be safe and keep your distance in case some of the pieces are not properly fastened.

Step 9 – The Motor Still Does Not Work

If the motor does not work despite the new brushes, the problem lies with the armature (the central spinning core).

It is possible to get an armature re-wound but it is quicker and probably cheaper to buy a new motor.