How to Unclog a Central Vacuum System

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  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
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What You'll Need
Owners hand book
Vacuum cleaner
Wire coat hanger

Turn on the vacuum system and attach the hose to the inlet valve. What is left of the clog should be sucked through the system. Central vacuum systems are more powerful than individual vacuum cleaners and don’t often get clogged. If you do find that your built in vacuum is clogged there are ways you can try to clear it.

Step 1 – Owners Handbook

Always read through the owner’s handbook for any information before starting any maintenance work.

Step 2 – Locate the Clog

You will usually become aware of a clog when you plug your hose into an inlet valve and there is no suction.

Step 3 – Check the Vacuum Hose

Un-plug the hose from the inlet valve and ensure that it is not the hose that is clogged. Do this by dropping a marble or ball bearing into the hose to see if it will pass all the way through.

Step 4 – the Hose is Blocked

If the marble does not pass through the hose, the hose is clogged. It is possible that the hose can be cleared by fitting it to the inlet valve in reverse and letting the built in vacuum clear the clog. This is not a good idea. You might simply transfer the clog into the central system. Clear the hose using a stiff wire like that of a wire coat hanger with a slight hook at the end. Insert the wire and try to twist it into the clog to pull it out. Be careful not to damage the hose while doing this.

Step 5 – the hose is not Blocked

If the marble rolls through the hose the clog is in the system.

Step 6 – Check all Inlet Valves

You know that one inlet valve is not receiving any suction. Check each of the other valves in case there are others. If there are, this will help to isolate the location of the clog.

Step 7 – Use another Vacuum Cleaner

Take a separate vacuum cleaner to the clogged inlet valve. Turn off the built in system and remove the lid from the cylinder. Fit the vacuum cleaner hose to the inlet valve as tightly as possible and switch it on. Hopefully the vacuum cleaner will suck the clog out. Switching the vacuum cleaner on and off a few times might help to work the clog loose.

Step 8 – Plumbers Snake

If the clog cannot be sucked out you need to try a plumbers snake. It is not a good idea to try to push the clog further into the system so use a snake with a grapple that can latch onto the clog and pull it out. Feed the snake into the inlet valve and into the vacuum tube. When it reaches the clog you will be able to rotate it so that the grapple latches on to part of the log and pull it out of the inlet valve. Repeat the process until you have most of the clog removed.

    Turn on the vacuum system and attach the hose to the inlet valve. What is left of the clog should be sucked through the system.