Do It Yourself Central Vacuum Troubleshooting
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Troubleshooting: Diagnosing Central Vacuum System Performance
Most Popular Reasons to Service or Repair Your Central Vacuum System

For those of us who are somewhat handy and like doing the job ourselves; here you’ll find helpful central vacuum troubleshooting advice and repair tips. We’ve compiled a list of popular solutions, with quick fixes, that may help identify your central vacuum's repair problem. With over 40 years in the central vacuum industry, Gator Vacuum has heard it all.

No Airflow
(Suction)
Low Airflow
(Suction)
Power Unit
Doesn't Run
Power Unit
Continues to Run
Cycles Off
and On
Probable Cause
Read Below for Explanation
          1. Power Cord
          2. Push-to-Reset Breaker
          3. Circuit Breaker in House Panel
          4. Internal Thermal Switch in Unit
          5. Electrical Wall Outlet Plug
          6. Switch in the Wall Inlet Stuck Off
          7. Switch in the Wall Inlet Stuck On
          8. Remote Control Wire Broken
          9. Remote Control Wire Short
          10. Flexible Hose Plugged
          11. Tubing in Walls Clogged
          12. Dirt Canister Lid - Off
          13. Dirt Canister Loose Gasket
          14. Outside Exhaust Blocked
          15. Dirt Canister Not Latched
          16. Another Wall Inlet Door Open
          17. Motor Protection Screen Clogged
          18. A Hose Plugged into Another Inlet
          19. Loose Wire in Power Unit
          20. PC Board Relay Stuck ON
          21. PC Board transformer Burnt Out
          22. LED Light

Symptom Details: Possible Solutions and Fixes

Other Popular Reasons to Service Your Central Vacuum

 
1. Power Cord - Make sure that the power cord is plugged in and receiving the proper voltage and current for your unit.
2. Push-to-Reset Breaker - If your unit has experienced an over current or extremely high temperature, the button will pop out. To reset, simply push the button in until it protrudes about 1/8" and stays in. If the breaker pops out again when the unit is used, call a service technician.
3. Circuit Breaker in House Panel - Check your house breaker panel - if the circuit breaker is off, you may have too many appliances utilizing that circuit. For best results, your power unit should be on a separate circuit. Try to remove some of the extra circuit load by unplugging other devices. If the breaker continues to cut off, call a service technician.
4. Internal Thermal Switch in Unit - If your unit comes equipped with an internal thermal switch and quits running, it may require 10 minutes to cool off before resetting itself.
5. Electrical Wall Outlet Plug - Sometimes the electric wiring from the house breaker panel to the wall outlet plug can become loose or broken. Plug a lamp or another electric appliance into the outlet to assure that you are getting power. If not, call your electrical contractor.
6. Switch in the Wall Inlet Stuck Off - Plug your flexible hose into the other wall inlets - if your unit functions normally then the problem lies in the switch or remote control circuit to the inoperative inlet valve. The bolts holding the micro-switch in the inlet valve may have loosened allowing it to move out of position. Remove the wall inlet face plate and tighten the bolts or call a serviceman.
7. Switch in the Wall Inlet Stuck On - Use your finger to roll the steel ball located in the top of the neck in the inlet. Some foreign material may have become lodged in the hole with the ball, preventing it from moving into it's proper position. Caution: if this procedure does not turn your unit off, unplug the power cord and notify a service technician.
8. Remote Control Wire - Broken - Usually, if more than one wall inlet is inoperative, the trouble is in the remote control wiring, and the wire is either loose of broken, and should be tightened or replaced.
9. Remote Control Wire - Shorted - Unplug one of the remote control wires that is attached to the side of the power unit - if the unit stops, it indicates that the remote control wire is shorted or one of the wall inlet switches is stuck in the ON position. If the procedure for number 6 does not shut the unit off and you cannot locate the short, notify a serviceman. If the unit does not stop running when you unplug the remote control wire - either the short is in the power unit wiring or the relay is stuck .Refer to number 20. Caution: Checking the wiring in the power unit should only be attempted by a qualified service technician.
10. Flexible Hose - Plugged - If proper airflow is not obtained through the house, remove the hose from the vacuum inlet, then start the power unit by activating the wall inlet switch. If the airflow at the inlet is good, then this will normally indicate a blockage in the hose of wand. If a blockage is in the wand, it can be disassembled and cleaned. If there is a blockage in the hose, the hose should first be laid out straight, then with the house plugged into the inlet valve and the power unit running, pick up the hose - starting at the end furthest from the valve and gently stretch about 2 feet of it at a time as you proceed along the length of the hose toward the inlet valve. If this does not clear the stoppage, then remove the hose cuffs by unscrewing them, and switch them to the other ends of the hose (these cuffs have left hand screw threads so rotate them in a clockwise direction). After this has been done replace the hose in the inlet valve and with the power unit operating, repeat the process of stretching the hose. If this fails to unclog the hose, run (handle first) a screwdriver with at least a 3/4" diameter handle through the hose.
11. Tubing in Wall - Clogged - Check the airflow at the power unit. If the airflow is good here but not at locations further from the power unit, your tubing is either clogged or has broken open. If you cannot repair this, contact your service man. If you turn the power unit on and leave the inlet valve furthest from the power unit open and then check the exhaust from the power unit, you can determine whether you have a break in the tubing or whether the tubing is clogged. If very little air is coming out of the exhaust of the power unit, then it is probably an obstruction in the tubing and not a break.
12. Dirt Canister Lid - Off - On the models with lift off dirt canister lids, the lid must be replaced squarely on top of the canister or it will allow a vacuum leak.
13. Dirt Canister Gasket - Loose - If the dirt canister gasket has been pulled loose, it will allow a vacuum leak. The gasket may be reattached with contact cement or any of the so called 'super glues'.
14. Outside Exhaust - Blocked - Check the exhaust system by removing the tubing from the motor blower exhaust and comparing the airflow at this point versus the airflow reaching the outside. If blockage id detected and cannot be removed, contact your service technician.
15. Dirt Canister - Not Attached - If the dirt canister latches (some models only) are not properly closed, it will cause an air leak along the gasket and reduce your cleaning ability.
16. Another Wall Inlet Door - Open - Check all the inlet valves to make sure that only one inlet is in use at a time. Attempting to clean from two or more inlets at a time will reduce the airflow below the level required to deep clean your carpets.
17. Motor Protection Screen - Clogged - This usually occurs due to allowing the dirt canister to overfill, or a broken filter bag (some models).
18. A Hose Plugged Into Another Inlet Valve - Cleaning from more than one inlet at a time will reduce the airflow to less than is required to deep clean your carpets.
19. Relay Stuck - Off - If the procedures described in #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7, do not correct the power unit not starting, then it could be a malfunction of the relay, the low voltage transformer could be burned out, or there could be a loose wire in the power unit. If you suspect a malfunction in the power unit, contact your service technician.
20. PC Board Relay Stuck ON - Refer to #9
21. P.C. Board Transformer Burnt Out - If the procedures described in #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 do not correct the power unit not starting then it could be a malfunction of the relay, the low voltage transformer could be burned out, or there could be a loose wire in the power unit. If you suspect a malfunction in the power unit, contact your service technician.
22. LED Light - Some units have an LED light at the unit. If the LED light is not on, refer to #5. If you have power at the unit but LED light is off, contact your local service technician.
 

Popular Reasons to Service / Repair Your Central Vacuum System

Problem:There is very little or no suction power at all

  1. Check to see if something is stuck in the hose.
  2. Verify that each outlet has proper suction; if one or more of your outlets have good suction, the problem lies within the piping.
  3. Is your canister properly clamped to the motor housing? If not, clamp it in place.
  4. Check the suction power at the power unit by disconnecting the piping from the intake port. If there is suction, the problem lies within the piping system.
  5. If the power unit has two motors, make sure both central vacuum motors are working properly.
  6. Is the dirt collection bag full? If so, change/dump-out the bag/dirt canister and recheck for suction power. For testing purposes only, if you do not have a replacement central vacuum bag, the unit may be tested without.
  7. Ensure the filter is clean and clear of dirt. If not, knock off dirt into a trash can and wash thoroughly with a damp cloth. Make sure the filter is dry before reinstalling. IMPORTANT: The main filter must be installed at all times!

Problem:My central vacuum unit will not stop

  1. Make sure the circuit breaker on the electrical panel is not tripped.
  2. Also, check to see if the circuit breaker of the power unit is tripped.
  3. Check the 24 volt circuit. How to check the 24 volt circuit:
Central vacuum repair Dr.

- Establish the contact between the two ports of a wall mounted air inlet valve with a piece of metal (ex. coin). If the system starts, the suction hose is defective. If the system does not start check the 24 volt circuit on the unit; Establish the contact between the two screws of the 24 volts circuit plate using a piece of metal (ex. Screw driver) . If the unit starts, the 24 volt wire is either cut OR unplugged from one of the wall mounted air inlet valves.

Conclusion: If the system still does not start after steps 1, 2 and 3, the printed circuit may be defective. Contact your dealer.

 

Problem: There is a crack in the PVC pipe

This problem may occur when someone, usually a worker, accidently steps on the PVC pipe while working in the attic. How to fix cracked central vacuum PVC:

  1. Cut out or remove the defective section of pipe.
  2. Slide a pair of slip couplings over the existing pipe.
  3. Insert the new section of pipe.
  4. Apply PVC glue to the pipe and slide the two slip couplings back into position. – You’re done! Helpful Tip: Practice the procedure several times without applying PVC glue to ensure a hassle free repair!
 

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