How 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 your local central vacuum expert (703) 334-8808.