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TroubleShooting Inlet Valve Issues Q&A

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Questions & Answers

Air Flow Issues with Exhaust and Intake Ports

I have a Hoover central vac that I have installed. Everything is working except the exhaust is pulling in and the intake is pushing out. How do i correct this? Joanne in Winnipeg, MB


The Intake and Exhaust pipes are switched. Please connect the intake pipe to the port where the air is moving inwards and the exhaust pipe to where the air is moving out.

Air Leaks at Hose and Unused Inlets

Suction seems ok at hose end (beam system (15 yrs) motor replaced 5 yrs ago) but not as good at beater bar end - do these wear out? I'm hearing a lot of noise and think air is escaping around the fittings causing loss of suction. Is it normal to hear a slight "air" noise from the unused outlets when CV is operating - or should these be changed to provide a good seal? Thx! Jim - Winnipeg, Canada


It is normal to hear a small amount of air escaping. If it is more than a small amount, you may need to replace your hose or inlets. You can try removing your inlet valve from the wall and wrap the back end with two rounds of electrical tape to form a tight seal and then reinsert it in the wall.

Central Vacuum Unit Will Not Turn Off Normally

Hoover S5673 Central vac. The motor will not turn off. Following your troubleshooting chart, I have already disconnected the low voltage wires that connect to the motor module controls. FYI, I have three wall inlet valves in the house. The motor continued to run even after disconnecting the low voltage wires. My question is about item A for item #9. I must be dense, but what does the following mean? "Directly isolate low voltage leads alone (disconnect all auxiliary switches)". Steve Edgewood, WA


To directly isolate low voltage leads alone (disconnect all auxiliary switches) means to ensure the low voltage wires are not being run through a manual on/off switch within the unit. The switch could be the source of a short. Also, it is not uncommon to have a shorted relay. You can view replacement relay switches/circuit boards on our website, if deemed necessary. When the low voltage wires are removed from the equation, it usually indicates a bad relay.

Child-Safe Inlets?

Hi! We have an air-driven central vacuum system with 1.75 inch tubing. Our outlets turn on when opened and so, are not very child-safe. We'd like to replace them with outlets that need to have the vacuum hose plugged in in order to turn on. What would you recommend ordering for each outlet? Would we need a new hose? Thank you!!


Most systems do not start when the valve door is opened. Having the type that do start when opened can be a concern, especially when children are involved. As there are currently no valves that have child-safety locks built in, the question for your system is if you can convert them to the type of inlets that do not activate until a hose is inserted in the correct position within the inlet. It is possible that you may have the type of inlet valves that are not easily replaceable. If the suction hole in the backing plate (after you remove the inlet cover plate) is 1-5/8 you should be able to change them out. We recommend contacting a Local Dealer to assist you and viewing our Replacement Inlet videos on our website.

Converting/Changing Existing Kenmore Valve to Standard Valve

Can I change a 1977 Kenmore low voltage valves 1 1/4" opening to a air driven 2009 valves? What parts do I need? Thanks Greg


Unfortunately, that is one of the more difficult tasks to accomplish with a central vacuum system. It is too involved to attempt to explain on this platform, but we do have a brief overview with our Kenmore Inlet Valve video. You can review this video and decide if you would like to tackle this project yourself or involve a local dealer to assist.

Cover Plates for Inlet Valves

I have an existing central vac system, with old dated wall inlets that are in poor condition. I would like to find out what inlet covers fit the system. It is probably quite old (1960's?). Brand is Magic Vac. Hose diameter is 1.5" at the inlets. 2 screws secure the cover to the wall box, one at the top and one at the bottom. 4.25" apart. I am looking for replacement inlet covers (white) as well as cover plates for wall inlets that are no longer in use. Thanks, Jason


If the backing plate hole diameter is 1-5/8 and the mounting screws are about 4 apart on center, you can use any of our Basic Inlet Valve Option. There are no blank inlets for undesired valves as these still need to seal under pressure to allow the system to work properly.

Extension Needed for Thick Wall

I have just bought new low voltage inlets to replace old ones that were leaking. Also bought the trim covers for the more streamlined look. Problem is when I install the trim cover, the inlets don't have an adequate connection to fit firmly into the existing wall tubing. Is there a way to extend the inlet connector via a piece of smaller pipe? Thanks. Christian in Boston


We provide an Inlet Valve Extension for this exact issue. It bridges the gap between the inlet neck and the backing plate in the wall. If it is too long, it can be cut. If it is not long enough, multiple extensions can be used. Please note that the inlet screws may need to also be longer, but you will need to source those at a local hardware store.

Finding Possible Short or Faulty Component in Electric Hose

William, Cary, NC. Beam model SC225c. Switch on hose handle turns on vacuum normally. Rugbeater will not run- started suddenly while vacuuming.No power with test light at plug beneath the handle.How do I check for fuse??


We have solutions for certain electric hose problems, but it could be that the issue is at the connection at the handle to vacuum head cord because your vacuum head did start at times. To diagnose this, please hold the hose very still (while turned on) and manipulate/wiggle/turn/pull each connection point to find the location of the short. The fuse in the hose is in the wall end of the hose, molded into the electrical plug. If possible, test continuity under the wall end cuff as indicated on our Electric Hose Troubleshooting Videos.

High Pitched Noise/Sound

After just a few minutes of use my cenral vac makes a loud, continuous, high pitched noise. The noise is not coming from the power unit, which is in the basement. The power unit is a MD system, looks fine and works well, but the noise is annoying. Do you think the problem is in the hoses or could it be in the pipes? Is there an easy way to check? Thanks! Elaine, Statesville, NC


The aerodynamics of your central vacuum system are the source of this sound. The pressure has changed and blended in such an alignment with the components of the air travel to make this noise. Please try changing your filter to change the alignment and resolve this issue.

How to Insert Hose That Has An On/Off Switch

I have a beam 294 system. The vac will turn on and off by twisting the connector right or left. The switch on the handle will turn it in and off only after I have played with connector some. Is there some rhyme or reason to how this thing works? We are new to this home, Steve Searcy, AR


When you plug the hose into any wall inlet, be sure the plastic rib separating the two metal halves is either at the 12 o'clock or 6 o'clock position. This positioning will allow you to control the suction at the switch on the end of the hose. What it is doing, is separating the low voltage connection. When you rotate the hose end in the wall valve, the suction starts when both contacts inside the valve rest on metal plates on the end of the hose, or in such a position the on/off switch functions as normal.

How to Properly Seal Pipe Joints

I have small air leaks in some of my central vac pipe joints. Any suggestion on how to seal them properly?


All you need to create a tight seal at the pipe joints is a small amount of PVC cement. You can typically obtain this cement from your neighborhood hardware store.

Inlet Valves are Not Working After Replacing with New Inlet Valves

Hello, I purchased new inlet covers to replace my old worn ones. When I replaced them the unit does not work now (on either of my outlets. When I did the upstairs inlet all still seemed fine downstairs (i didn't test the upstairs inlet before replacing the downstairs one. I checked the mini breaker on the unit and the manual power switch. both work. I tried putting the old inlet back on, but still wont work. They are low voltage wires, so i wouldn't think there is a right and wrong way to hook them up to the inlet. Such a simple swap, I am baffled that something went wrong. I have done enough electric wiring before, but am completely new to central vac. It was in my home when I bought it and just got the hose, etc from you guys this week. Great site by the way! Any ideas?


Please short the wires or connections for the wires at the unit itself to be sure the transformer and power are fully functional. If they are functioning as normal, double check the connections at each inlet. As you stated the wires can go on either screw in the inlet, just ensure they are separated. Sometimes they are daisy chained so keep an eye out for double (or sometimes triple) wire leads at one inlet.

Kitchen Dust-Pan Opening Up When System is Used at Different Inlet Valve

Hi! I have a Beam central vac about 6 years old. When I use it from any inlet, including just turning on the main unit, my kitchen dustpan opens slightly and sucks a small amount of air through. It decreases the suction everywhere else. If I push the dustpan all the way closed, the unit shuts off. I have checked for clogs by running a tissue through all inlets including the dustpan and the tissue comes out fine from all. This just started happening a few weeks ago. Any suggestions? Thanks, Tonya Belleveille, IL.


This may require the use of the VacPan Repair kit to tighten this product and keep this issue from continuing.

One Inlet Not Working

Inlet in one room isn't working, does it need to be replaced? If so, how do we do that? Don, Hubbard, Ohio


To get started, remove the face place and short the contacts/wire (not 110 volt, but the low voltage wire that looks like speaker or telephone wire) to see if the vacuum starts. If so, then replace the inlet faceplate. If not, you will need to locate the break in the low voltage line in your home. You may need to contact a Local Central Vacuum Service Center for assistance.

One Inlet Valve Out of Four is Not Working

Just installed a built in vac into a pre plumbed house. Three of the four inlets work fine, but the fourth one won't turn on at all, even if I try to short this inlet. I pluged the hose in and manually started it from the main unit, but no suction. Not sure what's going on.


Start by removing the inlet face plate from the wall and short the low voltage wires (not the high voltage - 110V wires - if any). This short should cause the system to activate. If it does, then you need to replace the inlet valve face plate to resolve the issue. Alternatively, if the vacuum starts suctioning when the low voltage wires are shorted, it could be that there is not enough power to go through the hose to the activating switch on the hose handle. If the inlet is located in a position relatively far from the unit, it could indicate a resistance issue. For this problem, we have a low voltage booster box you can install next to the vacuum unit. If it doesn't start when shorted, it indicates a break in the low voltage wiring running along the piping in your walls. The only way to resolve this issue is to utilize radio frequency components to bypass the need for low voltage wiring. The radio frequency components will send a signal directly to the unit to start the flow of suction, rather than the connection of the low voltage wire at the inlet valve sending the same signal for the same purpose.

One Inlet Without Suction

I have an M&S system. All zones work fine, except one. When I plug the hose in that outlet, a different outlet turns on. No suction to the outlet plugged into. Thanks, Jeff


That sounds like you have a clog in your line. Please follow Solution #3 on our Troubleshooting Flowchart to resolve this issue.

One Vacuum Inlet Not Working

We had a central vac system roughed in when the house was built, 1999. It was a couple of years before we were able to finish it. There is one outlet where the low voltage is not working so we have to go out to the garage to turn on the unit whenever we need to use the one outlet and it's downstairs. What is the best way to fix the outlet? thanks


First, remove the faceplate and touch the LOW VOLTAGE wires together. The suction should start from these wires touching. If not, follow the wire back to where it is connected to the other wires. If you cannot follow the wires back, you will need to purchase a remote control unit for this particular inlet to bypass the non-functional low voltage wires and activate the system. Otherwise, you will have to continue to turn on the unit manually when using this particular inlet.

Pipe Noise without Hose

Inlet noise (high pitched siren noise) even aftr removing the wall plate and covering with my hand; still makes annoying sound behind plate near the outlet. Whats causing it?


If the noise occurs without a hose being plugged in at the wall, and is not coming from any specific inlet cover, it narrows the noise to being sourced at the pipes. The balance of the air and components of central vacuum system arrange to create harmonics. This is extremely rare, but can happen. Typically, relieving some air at the canister by opening the utility valve a small amount or by changing the filter will stop the noise.

Possible Risk of Electrocution When Checking Wiring at Inlet Valve?

I have a Vacu-Flow model 26, with one outlet not working (the electric connection only). If I check the wiring at this one outlet, are they low-voltage, so I will not get a shock? Or do I need to cut the power before I mess with the wiring? Thanks, John Hartford, CT


Low voltage wiring, which looks like speaker or telephone wire, will not shock you. If you see Romex or regular home wiring in a thick sheath, you will need to turn off the power to that section of the house to avoid the risk of electrocution.

Proper Switch Operation on Hose Handle

Hi, just installed a kenmore. Replacement for an old unit. Everything works as far as suction at valves when hose is plugged in. The issue I have is that the handle that at the far end of the hose that connects to the powered brush has a 3-way switch that I believe is for 1. left position;suction on/brush head motor off, 2. middle position; suction off/brush head off and 3. suction on/brush head motor on. The issue is that in the middle or no.2 position the suction stays on. All of the inlet valves have two point contacts. Wondering why I can't turn vacuum motor off with handle swith in the middle position?


First, ensure that the hose is in the correct position in the inlet. If your hose has a cord, the portion where the cord connects to the hose should be pointed straight up or down. If this is all in proper alignment, it usually indicates a bad switch or short in the hose itself. If it is a bad switch assembly, we do have replacement 3-Way Switch Assemblies for a gas-pump or pistol-grip style hose handles. Please note: our replacements will only work for hoses that have the letter P branded within a small circle on the plastic wall end cuff.

Ran Vacuum Sealed - Large Boom

I turned on the central unit in the garage with all the inlets inside the house closed (don't ask me why). It was on for maybe 15 seconds. Throughout the day I heard some small noises throughout my house until I heard a large boom (it shook the front door in its frame). I didn't put it together that maybe I had made a vacuum in the pipes by turning on the central unit until now. Did I damage the pvc tubes in the wall? Dan, Calgary


Yes, vacuum pressure was created in the sealed system. It is hard to know what happened but continue to use the vacuum as normal and see if there is less suction or any symptoms. In the future, please let air into the system before turning it on.

Rare Vibrating Noise

when we turn a vacuum either on or off; there is a loud vibration/suction noise -- sounds like a whale -- i cannot tell where it is coming from. It even sounded when I turned the unit on and off from the basement control unit....


If the noise is not coming from the main unit, it could be coming from the pipes. Typically, it will be an inlet valve door(s) that is not sealing properly. Each valve door needs to rest flush on its faceplate. When a faceplate is over tightened the door will not be flush, causing this noise. Loosen the screws on the front of the inlet valve to allow the faceplate to rest parallel to the wall. If that doesn't remedy the issue, try looking from the side of each valve to see if any appear bowed and remedy those inlets to resolve the issue.

Replacement Inlet Gaskets

Why do I have to replace an entire valve instead of just renewing the gasket? Think of the resources you are wasting. Andrew Seattle


Unfortunately, at this time no inlet plate cover manufacturer supplies the replacement gaskets for inlet valves.

Some Inlets Not Working with Four Low-Voltage Wire Rough-In

Hi, I have a question. The builder's rough-in includes 4 wires: red, green, yellow, and black. I've googled the wiring and some posted that you could pair up the wirings (red/green and yellow/black) together, others suggest to use only two colors consistently. So far, I am able to make one inlet work - the one nearest to the garage. The vacuum is working fine when I plug the hose to this outlet, however, all other 4 outlets are not working including basement even if I'm using consistent wiring colors. Could you please help me? Thank you!


Are you able to run a continuity test to be sure the wires do not have a break in them at the valves where they are nonfunctional? If there is continuity, you'll need to boost the signal to these wires by using a low voltage booster box at the main vacuum unit. The thin wire is not managing to send the signal successfully on its own. Use the Low Voltage Booster Box and the same wire pairs at each inlet valve to remedy this issue. If there is no continuity, you will know there is a break in the wire and will need to utilize a remote control frequency bypass to resolve this problem.

Switch on Hose Not Activating Vacuum

Have a Zenex model 275, we have two inlets and the hose does not work properly in either, when we plug it in straight it does not turn on, but if we twist it on either to the left or right slightly, it turns on. The switch on the hose does not turn it on or off, we have to untwist the hose to turn off. Is it the switch?? Thanks Barry Templeton, MA


Providing that the switch at one point was fully functional, it appears that it is now faulty and will need to be replaced. If your hose has the letter P branded within a small circle on the plastic wall end cuff, we offer compatible replacement 3-Way Switch Assemblies for a gas-pump or pistol-grip style hose handle.