Frequently Asked Questions

Central vacuums are an incredibly effective, efficient way to clean your home, but most homeowners either aren't aware of them or don't understand them. We want to help you understand this simple, yet life-changing concept and get connected to a local dealer for a free price quote.

Why should I install a central vacuum?

Central vacuums typically cost about the same as a high end portable vacuum, yet last much longer and offer far more power. Central vacs are known to reduce allergies, are quiet, versatile, and good for the environment. Used, broken portable vacuums typically end up in landfills after being replaced every few years. Central vacuums are also a smart investment for your home since most homeowners recoup their investment once the home is sold. See Seven Reasons to Install a Central Vacuum.

Can Central Vacuum Systems be installed in existing homes without demolishing interior walls?

The only hole needed to install a central vacuum system into an existing home is concealed by the inlet valve. In other words, you never have to break walls or do drywall repair when installing a central vacuum. Typically, the pipe can be run behind a wall by running into a corner of a closet and then traverses either up to the attic or down to the basement. While homes with two or more stories can be retrofitted with a central vac, it is usually easier to install in a single story home with a large basement or attic.

What is the entire price of a central vacuum installation?

The average cost for a central vacuum system installation in a home less than 3,000 square feet varies but only costs between $1,200 to $3,000. The accessory kit, number and type of wall inlets, power unit, and the hose are all factors that affect the price. Most dealers offer free estimates and demonstrations so you can be sure of what you're getting. Since a central vac system can be installed in both new construction and existing homes without demolishing interior walls, there are no hidden construction costs to worry about.

What happens if a vacuum pipe gets clogged?

Large objects, like small toys, socks, and coins, will typically make it all the way to the power unit without getting stuck. If a clog does occur, it usually happens in the hose because that is the smallest diameter of the entire system. Sometimes objects will make it to the inlet because the first elbow at the wall inlet is the tightest and can act as a trap. Both clogs are easy to fix, and even if an object lodges further in to the system, there are several ways of remedying the clog. See the Central Vacuum Service flowchart for more information.

What's the difference between a portable vacuum and a central vacuum?

The biggest difference is that a central vacuum is a built-in appliance, while a portable vacuum is completely separate from you home. Since it is a built-in appliance, you don't have the annoying noise and smell that typically accompany portable vacuums. Your air and home are also cleaner because the dust and debris gets carried away outside of the living area rather than re-circulated through the exhaust as with a portable vacuum. Portable vacuums are also heavy and cumbersome and don't maneuver easily. Central vacs use a single hose, allowing you to clean your home easily and freely.

How is dirt collected?

All of the debris swept into the vacuum travels through the hose and pipes and then gets trapped into a filter in the main vacuum unit. The filters do occasionally need to be replaced, but MD's power units hold gallons of debris, so they only need to be replaced a couple times a year. When it's time to replace the filter, simply remove the lid off the central vacuum unit, detach the filter, and replace with a new filter.

How is a whole house vacuum system installed?

Installations are not as extensive as one may think. If the home is under construction, the backing plates and pipes are the last thing put into the framing as the electrician is finishing up. For existing homes, installation is simplest if the home is single story with a good-sized attic or basement. In either case, the installation process is the same: hang the power unit in the basement or garage, run a trunk line of PVC tubing and branch to each inlet, and then run a low voltage wire along the tubing to each inlet. Inlet locations are on interior walls, and only one inlet is needed for every 700 to 1,000 square feet. Visit the Central Vacuum Installation page for more help and manuals.

Does the vacuum's power diminish the farther away from the source the hose is used?
The suction remains powerful no matter where you are vacuuming inside the house, because the motors in the stationary vacuum unit in the garage or basement are much larger and far more powerful than those in portable or canister vacuums. You can also be assured of top performance at all times, because each of MD's vacuum lines has several different models to choose from for a home of any size.

If the power unit is in the garage or basement, how do I turn the system on and off?

A "trigger" wire is connected to each wall inlet during the installation process. When the vacuum hose is plugged in or the switch on the hose handle is engaged the low voltage wire signals the power unit to power on or off.

What if I need replacement parts and accessories?

Parts, replacements, and a variety of accessories are available for your central vacuum system. If we don't have what you are looking for, let us know and we'll point you in the right direction. To see what's available for your system visit the Central Vacuum Parts page and click on your brand.

More Information:

7 Reasons Why to Buy
Installation Options, Price Range
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