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How to Prevent Clogs in Your Central Home Vacuum System

Let’s face it; we all have certain chores we hate when it comes to maintaining our homes.

Doing the dishes? How monotonous.

Cleaning the litter box? Ugh.

Vacuuming? Not only is it boring, but it requires a lot of work pulling the equipment out from the depths of your closet, only to lug around heavy machinery throughout your home. It’s a miserable chore; one you may put off simply because of the pain involved in the process.

That’s why a central home vacuum system may be the answer.

Most of us vacuum with a standard moveable unit. But have you ever considered upgrading to a central vacuum system? It’s becoming more common. And once it’s installed inside your Tacoma home, it can add as much as $2,000 to your home’s resale value.

But even the best machines endure some kinks now again. So, what do you do when your system isn’t functioning as well as it usually does.

What About Clogs?

The benefits are many. Still, the thought of having another system with potential clogging problems can leave some homeowners leary. Are potential problems with a home vacuum system really worth the effort of having one installed?

Like your plumbing system, a home vacuum system must be properly used and properly maintained.

Yes, a central vacuum system can be clogged. But with a few rules in place, you’ll find you love what it offers you, and this will far outweigh the potential problems.

Is it Really a Clog?

When a central vacuum system doesn’t pick up the dirt, most homeowners assume its a clog. That’s not always the case.

Reduced Suction or Airflow

Just because the hose isn’t working at full capacity, doesn’t mean the system is clogged. If the hose has reduced suction or airflow, it could be because of several conditions. The filter bag might be damaged and in need of repair. The canister might be too full. The filter might be dirty or in need or replacement. Or the dirt canister might not be properly installed. A few simple checks of your overall system design will likely provide an easy fix to your problem.

No Suction or Airflow

If you no longer have suction or airflow, it is most likely caused by a clog within one of three areas of your home vacuum system.

A clog in the hose – take your central vacuum hose and connect it directly to the canister. If it has normal function when you turn the vacuum on, a clog in the tubing exists. If it has reduced suction at the canister, the clog is in your hose. You can use a clean, dry garden hose similarly as a plumbing snake to disengage the clog from the hose.

A partial clog in the tubing – test all inlets one at a time to find out where the clog exists. You can plug the hose into each inlet and place a hand over the hose end to build up air pressure for release.

A full clog in the tubing – in most cases, aspirating the affected inlet will help dislodge the clog. However, for a severe clog, you might need to use a plumbers snake to push the clog out.

Leaks In The System

Instead of a clog, a leak may exist somewhere within the pipes. It may signal multiple hoses are plugged in at once. Or that damage has occurred to the tubing, it may have come disconnected, or is broken somewhere within your walls. When you can’t find the problem, a 20-point service inspection is a perfect way to find out where the problem lies.

Not Everything Belongs in Your Central Vacuum System

We understand just how reliable a home vacuum system can be. Because they are right there, available all the time in every room, it’s easy to want to grab it for all of life’s messes. But just like with a traditional vacuum, there are some things better picked up in other ways.


It’s rainy here in the Pacific Northwest. And that means your family can track in a variety of wet, muddy messes. Before you pick up any mess in your home, ensure they are dry. Even if they look dry, they could still be damp.

Seasonal Messes

What’s Christmas without a Christmas tree? Those leftover pine needles, however, are often full of sap. While one or two might not pose a problem, when you use your system to pick up needles in bulk, you can quickly have a sticky mess lumped together as it makes its way through the system.

Renovation Debris

If you’re in the process of renovating a room in your home, leave the cleanup to the contractors. Any building material can easily clog up your central home vacuum, including:

  • Fine powder from drywall
  • Broken glass
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Wood shavings or chips
  • Paper, shredded or otherwise

In most cases, these will all get stuck in the hose or cause a clog further down the system.

The Benefits Of Central Home Vacuum Systems

Yes, a clog can arise in your central vacuum system, but it’s pros still definitely outway the potential cons to owning a system. The best thing about a central home vacuum system is that it doesn’t require you to lug a heavy unit around from room to room. That means no more carrying a heavy vacuum up and down the stairs.

Central vacuum systems are designed to remove all the dirt and debris from your home, sending it through tubing located within the walls to a receptacle in an out-of-the-way place. Possibly a garage, or basement.

With a central home vacuum, you only carry a lightweight hose and power brush around the house. The power unit is a permanent part of your home, tucked out of the way.

That means you are no longer limited by how far the power cord can reach. Instead, you select inlets to the vacuum system depending on the layout of your room. You select places that make the most sense based on your cleaning needs. You can even choose additional cleaning devices, such as an automatic dustpan that lets you quickly sweep debris into the wall vent using a regular broom.

A central home vacuum system provides you with:

  • More power – up to five times more power than traditional vacuums
  • More convenience – you can easily, conveniently clean up messes in each room
  • Less noise – the power unit is located somewhere discreet in your home, not a few feet from your ear
  • More versatility – it offers a wide selection of attachments and accessories that make your cleaning more efficient
  • Healthier air – it eliminates recirculation of dirty air within your living space because the dust and debris is carried through the walls to the receptacle
  • Increase home value – new buyers look for small conveniences and are willing to pay for them

All good reasons to consider adding a home vacuum system to your Tacoma home.

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Allen Brown

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