Central vacuum systems in houses became popular in the 90s with their ability to raise the value of the home. Having a vacuuming system built into the walls provides you the ability to move around the house more easily as you clean, saves you money, and requires less cleaning than a standard vacuum. However, outdated units can be hard to maintain, and some homeowners simply don't care for the system. But how do you remove it? We're here to help you solve this issue.
For those looking to retire the central vacuuming system in their home, there are steps you can take to remove the unit from your wall:
- Disconnect power
- Remove core unit
- Remove visible pipes and patch walls
- Remove wall inlet and then patch walls
Whether you are looking to remove an outdated central vacuum or wanting to find a way to update your current system, we're here to help. We will tell you how you can easily remove the unit from your wall as well as replace parts for a better working system.
Understanding Central Vacuum Systems
Before you decide to remove your central vacuum unit, you will need to understand the components that go into the system. The areas of the vacuum can be broken down into two areas— the visible parts in the home and the hidden parts.
The parts that you can see inside the home are the hose and the wall inlet. A standard hose is 30 ft long with a vacuum head on one side and the inlet connector on the other. The end of the hose is connected to the wall inlet, a covered and round outlet, which turns on the system allowing you to vacuum.
All the technical parts are the ones you can't easily see inside your home. From the other side of the inlets, inside the walls, are pipes running from the inlets to the core unit. The core, usually wall mounted in a basement or garage, is a large cylinder unit that contains a filter. All the debris from the home is brought to the core, filtered, and cleaner air is pushed from the unit.
How To Remove A Central Vacuum Unit
Once you understand what parts you are working with, you can begin to remove the system from your home. If you don't feel confident in your ability to remove the unit safely, call a professional who knows the proper way to disconnect the vacuum system.
Step 1: Turn off all power to central vacuum
The most important step before you begin working is to turn off the power to the central vacuum system. When dealing with any type of electrical unit, you should always begin by making sure there is no electricity running to the device to prevent you from being electrocuted. You can flip the specific breaker for the core unit and wall inlets as you work on each individually.
Step 2: Remove core unit
Since the voltage to the wall inlets comes from the core unit, removing it first will give you an extra step in protection in case you forget to turn off the power.
Removing the unit is going to be specific to the brand and placement of the core. Most likely it will need to be unbolted from a wall, the voltage connection disabled by removing the wire, and then lifted from the mount. You can then remove any mounting equipment left on the walls.
Step 3: Remove visible pipes (optional)
The pipes that run from the core unit through the walls to the inlets do not need to be removed from the walls. They will cause no harm being left inside the walls as they will have no connections available to them. Deciding to remove the piping from inside will be an extra hassle of cutting into the walls, which is an unnecessary mess and labor.
However, depending on the size of the home your central vacuum unit is cleaning, there may be a good amount of visible piping running out of the wall and into the core unit. You can cut these away at the walls and then patch the holes with plaster.
Step 4: Remove wall inlet
Once the core is removed, you will no longer have a functioning central vacuum system. If you have wall inlets that are hidden, smaller, or that don't bother you, you don't have to remove them. It can also be beneficial to leave them if you plan to sell your home and want to allow future buyers to reinstate the vacuum.
Still, they can be an unwanted eyesore or leave questions to the future buyers of your home that don't desire this system. This is an easy fix, as again, the piping connecting to the inlet to the core unit is fine to be left inside the wall.
Removing the wall inlet is as simple as unscrewing the cover, just like you would with a light switch cover. Once it is unattached, you can disconnect the voltage wire that will no longer have power connected to it.
You can then use drywall and plaster to cover the inlet holes and paint over the patches. There will be no sign left of the central vacuum system.
Are central vacuum systems interchangeable?
Apart from specific brands that are created to only be compatible with their brand's parts, central vacuum systems are generally interchangeable. As long as the core unit is connected properly to power the wall inlets, then you can trade out parts from other systems if needed.
This is something to keep in mind if you have an older unit and need replacement parts. You can search for these from different brands if you wish.
Are all central vacuum inlets the same?
The wall inlets for your vacuum system are very important. When you insert the vacuum hose into the inlet, it turns on the system, so it's essential in the function of the central vacuum.
Fortunately, apart from a few specific brands, central vacuum inlets will be a standard size, that is a 1.5" opening. However, not all inlets are the same. Just as you can pick the perfect outlet and light switch covers for your home decor, you also have options for your inlets, including colors and materials.
How long do central vacuums last?
Central vacuum systems are not only convenient when it comes to cleaning your entire home, but they are also very long-lasting. Where a standard upright vacuum can last you 2-3 years, a central vacuum can last 20-30 years when properly maintained. This means you can eliminate the hassle of frequently purchasing new vacuums.
When should I replace my central vacuum?
One of the greatest benefits of a central vacuum in your home is that it will save you money in the long run. Since they can last up to 20 years without replacement, when well taken care of, replacing a new one may not even be an issue you come across.
However, if you move into a home with an older central vacuum or have purchased an older model, you can find yourself in need of replacement. With older models of any appliance, it can be more difficult to find replacement parts if the product is no longer manufactured.
If you find that you are spending too much money on maintaining the central vacuum, through service calls or replacement parts, then replacing the vacuum may be the best call.
You may also want to consider replacing your central vacuum if it's not functioning efficiently. This could mean issues with cleaning, poor suction, or frequent shut-offs.
There are many advantages to having a central vacuum in your home, but they aren't for everyone. If you find yourself wanting to do away with your unit, it's possible to remove the system and make it appear as if it were never there.
Trying to decide if your central vacuum system is done for or just needs a good cleaning? Check out this post to learn how to properly clean your system: How To Unclog And Clean A Central Vacuum System [A Complete Guide]
If you have a system that is easily clogged with pet hair, check out this post to see what systems can work better for you: 3 Of The Best Central Vacuum Systems For Pet Hair