My spouse and I just bought a townhouse. It is roughed in for central
vac - the pipes and the outlets are all there. So I went and bought a
vac at Sears. I want it in my basement. The basement is unfinished.
In the ceiling on either side of the stairwell are two (one on each
side) pipes, that look like central vac pipes. So the woman at Sears
said it was easy enough to install it ourselves if the rough in is
there. She said to connect the two pipes coming from the ceiling and
then connect that to the central vac. Okay sounds simple enough - is
that the correct way to do it?
Secondly, I discovered we have no electrical outlets in the basement
except for the ones for the laundry. I'm going to have an electrician
come and put some in. Do I just need an ordinary one for my central
vac (I haven't taken it out of the box yet to check it out, incase I
have to return it).
Thanks for any responses, in advance.
The unit will need a dedicated circuit, some actually need two dedicated
circuit outlets, but the electrician will know once he looks at the unit. I
think you have to try to identify the two pipes you have as one or both may
be inlet pipes, however one may be an exhaust pipe to the outside
Basement outlets generally require gfi protection (unless the basement
is finished), but if you put in a dedicated circuit for an appliance
you can get away without gfi. Dedicated here means literally
dedicated: if the vac has one plug, your receptacle on the vac circuit
cannot be a duplex receptacle. This way, once the vac is plugged in,
nothing else can be plugged in to the circuit.
I believe it is good practice to have stationary appliances on their
own circuits. If I were in your shoes, I would definitely put in a
She left out the voltage part of the flange where the vacuum hose plugs
into the wall to turn the vacuum on and provide power the head if it
has a powered head? unless you are pretty handy and the stuff is easy
to get to best to have someone skilled do the install for you!
I did not need a dedicated circuit for mine, but I put one in. Just a
good idea in my mind.
The two pipes may be two different area or one may be the exhaust. If
one has some wires coming in with it, then that is the outlets and the other
is likely the exhaust.
You will need a few fittings and some pipe along with a saw to cut the
pipe. Find a good vacuum store, which is where you should have bought your
unit, not Sears, and they will help you out with instructions. There should
also be some instructions with the unit and they should tell you about both
of your questions.
If all this seems a little complex, maybe you should contact that vacuum
store and see who they would recommend to do the job for you.
When you get it done, I suspect you will love it. I sure like mine
You described two pipes, but are there any wires there also? Hopefully
you'll find some light gauge doorbell wiring style stuff taped to at
least one of those pipes.
You need a means to turn the central vac on and off and that's generally
done by some sort of switch on each of the hose inlet plates (Which I
perefer to call inlets, rather than outlets, as they suck, not blow.)
Often the switches are nothing more than two contacts which get bridged
by the hose end when it's stuck into the inlet plate. The pair of wires
from each plate are connected in parallel and used to complete the coil
circuit of a low voltage power switching relay in the vac unit.
If you don't find those wires then you are either going to have to add
them, figure out some other remote control (Think X-10 stuff), or resign
yourself to running down and up the basement stairs to turn that vac
unit on and off whenever you need to use it.
If you have a shop vac or another hosed vac, tape it up to one of the
pipes and turn it on and check all of the inlets to see if they suck.
If only some of them suck then tape it to the other pipe and see if the
rest suck. At least that way you will know for sure if one is an
exhaust. The other wires could be for a flow meter for the exhaust or
the other pipe could be for your neighbors unit since you are in a
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