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How Do You Use a Central Vacuum?

How to use a central vacuum in your home and ways to get the most out of this versatile built in vacuum system.


Whether you have moved into a house with an existing central vacuum system, are thinking about getting one installed, or just want to find out how a central vacuum works, this overview should help you understand it better and make the most of this versatile system to keep your home at it's best.

Overview of a central vacuum

Location of the Vacuum Wall Inlets

You should find your central vacuum system has vacuum inlets conveniently placed around the home, for connecting the hose strategically outside bedrooms, near the kitchen and entry from the garage, and near the bottom of the staircase.

Getting Started

To use a central vacuum, plug the hose into the designated wall inlet, connect the cleaning attachments onto the end of the hose, and vacuum as much area as needed before moving the central vacuum hose to another inlet elsewhere in the home.

If any of your inlets have a retractable vacuum hose like the Hide-A-Hose, these tend to be placed higher up and you can access the hose by lifting the inlet cover, pull out the desired length of hose, engage the lock around the base of the hose inside the inlet, attach the cleaning tool, turn on and begin cleaning.

Vacuum Cleaning Tips

Hard Floor Cleaning

A central vacuum system is a great way to keep your hardwood, ceramic and other hard flooring surfaces clean. In combination with a wide brush, we recommend using a soft-bristled brush to sweep up dust, dog hair and other objects that can scratch your floors. It can also effectively clean debris wedged in grout or grooved flooring.

There are a wide variety of hard floor attachments and accessories available to suit different cleaning tasks, including some that can even mop and vacuum at the same time!

Carpet Cleaning

The cleaning of carpeted surfaces is best achieved with a beater brush that utilizes rotating bristles to separate the fibers while the deep suction of the central vacuum removes embedded dirt. The bristle action then grabs hairs and other items that might be clinging to the surface. There are both air-driven and electric powered brushes available. Depending on your vacuum system, electric powered vacuum brushes are what we generally recommend for vacuuming carpet.

For an air-driven beater brush, you simply put it on the end of the wand and turn on the suction. The air from the vacuum turns a turbine that drives the brush. For an electric power brush, you need an electric hose which is either plugged into an electrical outlet or an electrified central vacuum inlet. To operate the electric brush in this manner, the hose has a three-position switch: one for off, one for air suction only, and one for electric brush and air suction combined.

Other Surfaces

As with many cleaning task we recommend starting with cleaning the highest surfaces first, such as drapery, and window sills, then working down to furniture, countertops and bedding. A soft dusting brush on the end of a wand (or two wands connected for extra length) will make this job easier, it is also easy to clean the baseboards without having to crouch down by using the dusting brush and one or more wands.

clean dryer lint fast

There are a wide variety of attachment and specialty tools available to handle pretty much every surface in your home including; crevice brushes, lint brushes, specialty wands for hard to reach areas and more. These all fit on the end of the hose or extension wand for easy operation. When in use, giving them a 10-degree twist will help keep them from detaching unexpectedly.

Quick Clean Ups


Your home may also have other specialty inlets such as a VacPan, that are mounted in a baseboard or under a cabinet. These are great at performing a quick sweep and ensuring that all dust is disposed of properly. Simply flip the foot lever with your toe and it will start collecting whatever you sweep in its direction. This is a great alternative to using a dust pan!


Some systems also have a auxiliary stretch hose like the WallyFlex that can be found in places like the laundry room, bathroom, or kitchen. These are great for quick clean ups without the need to get out the main hose.

Pet hair and Dog Grooming

Last but not least, family pets! Whether you are looking for a dog vacuum or the best option for dealing with pet hair, we offer pet vacuum attachments that cause no harm and make it a hassle free experience. These are a must have for any dog owner, particularly for breeds that shed a lot of hair like huskies.

PetVac Shed Eliminator Suction Tool Kit

Storage and Hose Management

Hose and Accessory Storage

Hoses stored on the floor or left in the vacuum are more likely to get damaged than a hose properly hung up after use. For vacuum hose storage we recommend using a wire hose hanger, with the hose unplugged at both ends, make four or five loops on the floor, and then store it neatly with the hose hanger.

Hose Hanger

There are a few storage options for attachment tools. You could use a wand wall clamp and a mesh caddy for neatly storing hose attachments and accessories.

Using a Retractable Vacuum Hose

Some newer central vacuum systems have hose-management inlets such as Hide-A-Hose, with a retractable hose that is stored inside the internal vacuum pipe in the wall. When cleaning is completed release the valve lever inside the inlet base with the vacuum still running, place your hand over the end of the hose, and it will retract back into the piping system.

Still need more help getting the most out of your central vacuum?

For additional information on using a central vacuum, feel free to call our knowledgeable customer service department at 1-800-997-2278.