How to Install a Central Vacuum System and vacuum your furniture the right way

Lately I’ve been trying to finish all the little projects I’ve started around the house. Recently, I finished the central vacuum project. We’ve been using it for a couple years now, and a central vacuum is great!

Learning how to vacuum your furniture is important because you can do a good job and not be tempted to try to vacuum every inch of the sofa. I try to vacuum around the sides and end of the sofa. The other reason is to keep dust off the arm rests and underneath the back rest so that it looks clean. If you get used to vacuuming, you will not be tempted to vacuum the sides, and this applies to every piece of furniture you have, I usually get tablecloths in bulk for cheap so I’m always changing the covers of my tables, this just seems to be the easiest way to make them look clean.

It is also a good idea to look at where the dust is coming from. This can be the kitchen sink, under the furniture or even around a room. If you notice that you can vacuum dust from the sink and behind the furniture, this is a good thing. If you can vacuum dust from underneath the furniture or around the walls, then this is a good thing. The furniture, along with the floor, can take a lot of dust. So it is also important to look under the furniture and under the walls so that you can control the dust.

So with this method you are able to do a very good job controlling the dust, and then even better, you will also be able to avoid the dust that is coming from outside. But there are times when it may be necessary to open up the air flow or open up the windows.

Now when you have done that, what should you do? What is the most important thing that you should do with that window that has a hole in it? Because if you don’t take care of that hole, then when you open up the air flow, the air from outside will find its way into the room and the dust from outside will start to come in. But that is not going to do you any good because as you can see, there are particles of dust that are very much larger than the particles in the air that you see. The particles are smaller. And the smaller particles of dust are going to do you no good, because what they are going to do is just be a hole in the wall, and the larger particles of dust are going to be right on top of it.

In fact, the larger particles of dust may even cause an explosion because when you have these particles of dust of a particular size, what you are going to see is the smaller ones will start to settle to the top and they will get squished and there will be a hole there. And then you are going to see the very larger ones that have gotten squished on the bottom and they have gotten into a sort of ball. And

There’s only the hose and want to carry around so it’s super light unlike light handheld vacuums; the motor unit is in the basement so there’s hardly any noise unlike a ; and it exhausts outside so there’s no filter or any fine particles blown around the house.

Rule #1: Work with gravity – not against it!

It might seem like a good idea to start in the basement, where you can make a mess without worrying about cleaning-up right away, but it’s much easier to line-up your holes when letting a five-foot drill extension hang downwards than when trying to hold it upright above your head!

Tools and materials

Rigid 2 1/2 inch hole saw

Rigid 2 1/2 inch hole saw

You’re going to need some tools of course, here’s what’s essential:

  • Drill, good and powerful, with a 1/2-inch chuck if possible
  • 4-foot drill extension, especially if there are fire-breaks in your walls
  • 2 1/2-inch hole saw, a solid one – not one of those multi-size ones
  • Drill bits, for what ever material you’re going to hang the motor unit on
  • Hack saw
  • Workbench
  • Mitre box
  • Quick clamp
  • Screw driver(s), depending on what kind of screws you’re using
  • Tape measure
  • Drywall saw
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Spirit level
  • Flash light
  • Permanent marker
Central Vacuum Parts

Central Vacuum Parts

Every installation is different, but every kit is the same, so make sure you also have the following material:

  • Straight tubes
  • A variety of tube fittings (we’ll figure out exactly which ones later, but wider curves are better than narrow bends)
  • Plastic pipe straps
  • Metal strapping
  • Outlets
  • Sweep inlet (optional)
  • Glue
  • 18-2 wire, enough to go from the furthest outlet to the unit
  • Marrettes, in case you need to splice any of the 18-2 wire together
  • Screws and plugs, according to the material where the unit will be installed


The less bends and splits the better. If you’re house has two levels try to keep it vertical; if it’s a bungalow keep the outlets in a straight line.

Figure out where your outlets are going to go. This depends a lot on how long the hose is that you have. Make sure you can comfortably reach all around your house, under the beds, around furniture, and up to the tops of bookcases and armoires (with the duster attachment).

If your walls aren’t aligned and you would have to make an odd bend in the tubes see if you can up or through a closet instead, where no one will see your “short-cut” and you’ll avoid unnecessary work.


The main unit needs to be solidly mounted but remain accessible so you can empty the canister regularly. Make sure there is enough clearance above and below the unit.

It should also be near an outside wall so you can exhaust to the outside (if you decide to, but doing so means the small particles that pass through the filter end up outside). There’s a muffler too you can put along the exhaust to keep the noise level down.

There also needs to be a power outlet nearby to plug the unit into.


Dry fit all your connections before gluing them together – you’ve only got one chance and if you get it wrong you’re headed back to the hardware store for more pieces! Note that the tubes should have a dashed line down the side and the fittings should have eight notches around the edge. Line up the dashed line with one of the notches and mark them both with the marker.

When cutting the tube use the mitre box and hack saw to make nice, straight cuts. Then de-burr the edge so it’s nice and clean.

Once everything is fitted you can start gluing. Make sure you can still move the pieces around enough to glue the next piece on, not so the system is so rigid. It may be better to work towards the middle rather than towards one end. Don’t forget to pull the 18-2 control wire along with the pipe and attach it to the outlets as you go.

And once it’s all glued together, or even as you’re gluing if necessary, don’t forget to put in some straps to hold the tubes in place. Either the pipe straps when the tubes are up against a solid surface or with a length of metal strapping when the tubes are hanging (make sure you wrap around the tube for a solid hold rather than just passing underneath the tube).

If you’re installing a sweep inlet be aware they’re not easy to do. Not only because they’re typically in awkward places but because the fitting snaps onto the back without glue you have to make sure you don’t dislodge it when you connect to the rest of the tubes.

Along the way you might want to use some duct tape on a few key joints in case you need to make any changes later. Or if you can’t finish the whole job in one go but still need to use the system.


Now that the system is installed you can kick back, crack open a cold one, and compare your work to my installation.

Cross-posted on Schultzter’s Blog