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Inlets & Installation for Kenmore Central Vacuum

How to Replace an Inlet Valve

Most inlets are universal, meaning they have two screws four inches apart and a 1-1/2 inch diameter hole. Kenmore vacuum inlet ports are usually all universal. Vacuum inlets come in a variety of colors and shapes and are usually interchangeable. Replacing inlets is not difficult and the video is a tutorial to help. Take a moment to determine if your inlets are Basic or Electric. Both universal inlet types have two metal contacts INSIDE the 1-1/2 inch diameter hole. When these two contacts INSIDE THE HOLE are touched with the back of a spoon and shorted the suction starts. Electric inlets have these contacts as well as two small 110 volt connection holes 3/8 inch apart at the top or bottom of the main hole - DO NOT PUT ANYTHING into these small holes.

Click here to jump to installation supplies for Kenmore central vacuum system.

Basic Inlets
Basic Inlets

replace 99% of all outlets

Electric Inlets
Electric Inlets

super valve or electra valve


sweep dirt into the system

Pipe and Installation
Pipe and Installation

parts to install/retrofit a vac

Not all systems are the same so not all instructions will apply. Some creativity may be needed. You should not need to cut open your wall to do this. The goal is to remove the old faceplate and backing plate, put in new ones and feed new pipe into the new backing plate connection. First start with cutting the pipe in the wall, but cut it as it exits the wall in the basement or attic. This is where you will be tieing in the new pipe line. After cutting the pipe, sawzaw the backing plate free so it can be remove from the wall, with the old pipe attached, or pushed out of the way. Use the new backing plate to mark the drywall around the old hole, and cut it so the new backing plate fits snug in the hole in the wall, especially the top and bottom of the backing plate. Be sure to remove the nailing flange on the plastic backing plate. Then glue (using regular PVC glue) a new tight 90 degree elbow on the backing plate and feed the low voltage wire through the top or bottom of the backing plate. Attach the low voltage wire to the new faceplate. Put the backing plate with 90 into the wall with the 90 looking toward the route of the pipe. Then put the new inlet faceplate into the backing plate while sticking your fingers through the inlet to hold the backing plate. Screw the faceplate into the backing plate with the included screws. The faceplate and backing plate are now pinched solidly on the wall. Next, run a new pipe line. Mmeasure and glue the pipe from the attic or basement into the new 90 on the new backing plate. Then use adapter #507P2 to go from the smaller diameter Kenmore pipe to the modern larger (2 inch outer diameter) pipe you just glued in. Click here to see a list of supplies to upgrade Kenmore inlet valves.

Basic Inlets for Kenmore

Basic inlet plate covers are used in many Kenmore installations and replace 98% of all outlets. The opening is just under 1-1/2 inches, mounting screws are 4 inches apart, and the inlet fits into a 1-5/8 inch round hole in the mounting bracket. Each inlet valve can be mounted with the lid opening up or down. Note the FULL FACE inlets are the MOST DURABLE and replace oval and square styles.

All rectangle shaped valves are interchangeable. There are two metal contact points inside the hole of each inlet valve and two screws on the back side for the low voltage wire connection.

Replace 99% of older wall inlets with any of these rectangle valves. Note: these do not replace inlets activated by pressing copper or a button, or that have a 1-1/4 inch hose insertion hole.

EASY Upgrade for Kenmore: Consider a Low Voltage Hose to get the convenience of turning the vacuum on and off at the hose handle instead of running back to pull the hose out from the wall. All Low Voltage Hoses work with all inlets and vacuum systems. If your hose already has a handle switch you are set and it will work with these valves!

Electrified Inlets for Kenmore
Electric Inlet Valve Reference Sheet
Electric Inlet Valve Reference Sheet

It is recommended an electrician works with electric valves.

The following electric inlet plate covers can be used and may have been used in any installation for any brand including Kenmore. The round opening is just under 1-1/2 inch, mounting screws are just under 4 inches apart, and the plate fits into a 1-5/8 inch diameter hole in the mounting bracket in the wall. Any vacuum wall cover plate with two small holes (3/8 inch apart!!) can be replaced with one of the two following electric inlet types. Any of these valves can be used for new installations and retrofits as well.

Electric inlet valve covers have two voltage connections. One for low voltage wires (two screws on the backside) and one for 110 volts (on the front side of the cover). Electric valves can also receive other types of hoses including Stretch, Low Voltage, and Basic.

There are two types of electric inlets and they are not interchangeable.
Super Valve Electric Covers have a permanent 110 volt connection plug with wire leads.
Electra Valve Electric Covers hold a molded plug that is attached to 110 volt romex wire.

Pipe and Installation Parts for Kenmore

We have everything you need to install a central vacuum or retrofit your old one. Two inch outer diameter thin wall PVC vacuum pipe (and fittings) are standard in 99% of installations. If you have smaller pipe, there are pipe adapters below. Use standard PVC glue for pipe and fittings.

Our Installation home page is full of links on everything you need to know about installation.

Make your own Installation Kit by using the Installation Parts Guide to quickly figure out the supplies you will need for your specific installation.

All ASTM Standard F 2158-01 compliant for industry standard central vacuum pipe and fittings.

Complete installation tools can be found here.

*Note: Kenmore Vacuum is a registered trademark of Sears, not M.D. Manufacturing, Inc. Products sold by M.D. Manufacturing, Inc. are not from Kenmore Vacuum but are designed to complement a Kenmore Central Vacuum. Therefore, parts and products carry warranties from MD Manufacturing and not Kenmore Vacuum and thus may alter the warranty provided by Kenmore Vacuum.