We understand that as a homeowner, you may be on a tight budget. That’s why at Gary’s Vacuflo, we’re always looking for ways to save you money. We specialize in providing affordable central vacuum systems that will add value to your home. So if you’re looking to upgrade to a central vacuum system but want to take the DIY approach, let us guide you along the way. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for your DIY central vacuum installation.
Step 1: Plan Ahead
The first thing you’ll want to do is plan ahead. You’ll have to determine where the power unit and canister will be located and where the inlet valves are going to go. You’ll also want to decide where the tubing system should be installed. For this, it’s important to have an understanding of your home’s wall and basement construction. Consider, for instance, joist direction and the location of plumbing.
Typically, you’ll want to place the power unit in the basement, garage, or other remote, but easily accessible, area of the home. When selecting a location, make sure it’s far from any heating equipment, such as a dryer, boiler, water heater, or the like. You’ll also want to look for an area that’s well-ventilated. Position the power unit so that it’s within four feet of a grounded electrical outlet.
For the inlet valves, look for central locations where the hose can reach multiple areas. For instance, hallways, near doorways, and at the bottom of stairwells are all convenient locations that allow for maximum cleaning. Use a cord about 30 feet in length to see what areas of the home you’ll be able to cover with a particular inlet valve. Make sure your inlet valves have overlapping cleaning areas to ensure that you’re reaching every part of your home.
Next, you’ll want to plan the tubing system. This step will involve planning the trunk lines and branch lines. The trunk line, or main line, will connect the power unit to the farthest inlet, which should not be located more than 200 feet from the power unit. Branch lines will connect all other inlet valves to the trunk line. All lines in the tubing system should be kept as straight as possible, and 45-degree fittings should be used when necessary to avoid sharp corners. Once you determine the location and path of your tubing system, you’re ready for Step 2.
Step 2: Gather the Tools
Once you’ve completed the planning process, you’re ready to gather the tools needed to start the job. You’ll need a variety of tools and materials for the installation. This manual provides a good breakdown of everything you should have on hand to perform the job.
Step 3: Installing the Tubing System
Once all your tools are handy, you’re ready to begin your DIY central vacuum installation. In order to get a proper measurement of tubing, measure from the base of the pipe-stop on the inside of the fitting hub. Cut the tubing as straight and square as you possibly can. Once the sections are cut, they should be dry fitted to check sizing accuracy. Make sure to wipe them clean with a cloth to remove any dirt and grime.
Next, apply PVC solvent cement to the tubing to join it with the fitting. Insert the tubing into the fitting and twist a quarter turn to distribute the cement. Remove any excess cement and allow to set for a minimum of four hours before using the central vacuum system. Finally, in order for the power unit to be turned on and off at the inlet valve, affix low voltage wiring to the tubing with a wire clamp at least once every four feet.
Step 4: Installing the Power Unit
Level the mounting bracket and attach it to the wall stud or wallboard. Slide a Tinnerman nut at one end of the canister hanger rod about a half-inch from the end. Next, slide the canister hanger rod through the upper hole on one side of the mounting bracket and continue until the rod goes through the hole on the other side of the bracket. Slide a Tinnerman nut on the end of the rod to hold it in place. Insert the power unit hanger rod through the lower holes of the mounting bracket. Slide the rubber bumper on the power unit hanger rod and position the bumper in the middle of the rod so that the canister will rest on it.
Next, place the filters in the canister and the lid on top. Hang the canister on the canister hanger rod. Slide on the power unit and put a Tinnerman nut on each side of the power unit hanger rod. Pipe the power unit to the canister with PVC pipe and fittings. Dry fit the parts before you glue them. Pipe the inlet pipe to the canister. Do not glue fittings or pipe to the canister. Wire the low voltage control wire and plug the power unit into a grounded electrical outlet. Now you’re ready for the last step.
Step 5: Installing the Inlet Valves
Before you begin drilling, make sure you’re aware of electrical wires, plumbing, or any other obstruction inside the wall. Once you have your location, drill a small pilot hole in the floor directly below where the valve will be placed. From beneath the floor, you’re going to measure over from the pilot hole to find the sole plate. Now drill a 2¼-inch-diameter hole through the center of the sole plate. Inspect the interior of the wall to make sure it’s free of obstructions.
Next, cut the nailing tab off the mounting bracket. Use the raised edge of the mounting bracket to outline an exact opening on the wall. Cut the opening by cutting horizontally first, then vertically. Glue a 90-degree short elbow to the mounting bracket. Now feed a loop of the low-voltage wire through the wire guide hole on the mounting bracket. Strip the low voltage wire and wire it to the inlet valve. Insert the assembled short elbow and mounting bracket through the cutout hole.
Once the mounting bracket is inside the wall cavity, pull the mounting bracket so it fits in the hole. Push the inlet valve onto a short, bent length of a coat hanger and push it onto the mounting bracket. Now, insert and tighten the inlet valve mounting screws to pull it all together. Adjust the inlet valve for vertical alignment. Glue the outside of the end of the tubing and push it up through the sole plate hole into the short 90-degree elbow. Your installation should now be complete.
If you feel overwhelmed or have any questions or decide to bring in a professional to do the job, just give Gary’s Vacuflo a call. We’ll be happy to help with your central vacuum installation project.