Can we I test suction power of a central vacuum system
(and is this how to test the system in general) when suction
seems to have reduced to feeble?
Motor is 16 years old. Filter bag (between dust
canister and motor assembly) is 22 or 24 years old,
perhaps clogged by decades of use (despite careful
brushing this morning.)
How long do these motors last anyway?
Motors can last indefinitely.
Remove anything between the inlet and the motor: filters, bags, etc., and
see if the suction dramatically increases. If it does, start putting things
back together until the suction drops off.
Another possibility is a leak somewhere in the piping. Perhaps you can tap
off the various outlets, checking for a change in the suck. If I were going
to check suckage - and I have no idea about the best way to do it - I'd hook
up a shop vac to blow into the system and set off a smoke bomb in the shop
You can test the sealed suction by using
a piece of clear hose and seeing how
many inches of water it can suck. Be
prepared for over 100", it could be as
much of 160". You don't really want the
water to go into the system, so start
on the long side. That all said, sealed
suction isn't everything. CFM is also
important. You could have an almost
plugged filter and still get a high reading
for sealed suction. But, if you get a
good sealed suction reading, chances are
there isn't a major leak in the system.
Depending on what type you have, some material may be either stuck in the
piping (look at elbows) or some material may have bypassed your filter bag
and got stuck on some metalwork or grill and is reducing the suction. My
Beam was installed in early 1980s making it almost 30 years old and it is
going strong. Vacs come in permanent bag types, such as mine, replaceable
bags, and cyclonic. Vacs using cyclonic action have a final screen that
stops lumps from hitting the impeller. Stuff that doesn't drop out with the
cyclonic separation builds up on this screen. Just take a shop vac and clean
way up inside and it will be as good as new.
Many newer models are cheaply made of plastic and also don't last as long as
the solid old models, the same as with tools.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.