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How to Unclog a Central Vacuum System

Unclog a central vacuum system from the vacuum piping, hose, or head with these simple steps and methods.

Steps to unclog central vacuum system pipes

Occasionally, central vacuum systems can become clogged. This usually happens either in the pipes, vacuum head, or hose. Here are a few basics steps to unclog central vacuum system pipes:

  1. Determine the general location of the clog. You can do this by identifying which low performing inlet is closest to the main vacuum in the garage or basement.
  2. Insert the hose into the inlet valve with the clog, as usual, and place your hand over the handle end. Let the pressure build up for a few seconds. Quickly release and repeat. Repeat this process for up to 10 minutes or until the clog is released.
  3. Use the power of reverse suction by inserting a portable vacuum or shop vac hose directly into the inlet valve(s) and let the pressure build. Quickly release and repeat. If the portable or shop vacuums are not powerful enough, then consider removing the central vacuum unit from the garage or basement and bringing it to the clogged inlet valve. Use the vacuum hose and your hand as a gasket to work the clog out.
  4. Run a Free Flow Maintenance Sheet through the clogged inlet valve(s) to clear the blockage. The sheet will act like a sail and more pressure will build up around the clog causing the powerful vacuum motor to pull harder and hopefully release the clog.
  5. Run electricians fish-tape or a plumbers snake and try to hook the object/clog.
  6. If the clog still wont come out, you will need to determine the exact location of the clog. Once the location is determined, more severe agitation can be applied or the pipe can be cut and reconnected using a single central vacuum coupling. If you do not feel comfortable performing this on your own, contact one of our authorized dealers in your area.

How to Unclog a Central Vacuum Using Pressure Build-Up

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VIDEO: How to Unclog a Central Vac Using Pressure

How to Unclog a Central Vacuum Using Free Flow Sheets

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VIDEO: How to Unclog a Central Vac Using Free Flow Sheets

Dealing with a clog located in either the hose or vacuum head

If you believe that the clog is located in either the vacuum head or the hose, here are a few simple steps to take:

Clog located in the vacuum hose

The hose has to be checked without it being plugged into a wall valve because the pipes may be clogged. Check the hose by inserting it directly into the main vacuum unit in the garage or basement. Turn the unit on and feel the suction at the end of the hose handle. If there is no or low suction, then the clog is in the hose. You can remove the clog by running a long, stiff object through the hose, such as a butter knife, starting at the wall end. Another option would be to reverse the airflow through the hose by connecting the handle end into the intake on the main unit. With your hand acting as a gasket, let the suction move through the hose to pull the clog out.

Clog located in the vacuum head

Start by isolating the carpet vacuum head and wands. Disconnect the wands and look through them and into the neck of the vacuum. If the clog is in the vacuum head or wands, simply pull or push it out.

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