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This seemed as good a category as any for this.

Due to other unrelated remodeling I'm doing in my house, certain walls are currently open. So even though installing a central vac system is not a priority right now, it's going to be significantly easier doing it now, then if I wait until everything else is done.

I may even just do the piping and ports now and install the actual vacuum unit at a later date.

That said I've been having trouble finding info on these systems and where to get them. It took me a long time just to find a store that sell these components, only one home depot in like 50 miles stocks vacuum tubes and fittings.

So last night I took a trip and bought 40' of tubing and most of the fittings I think I'll need to install all the ports I want. I was going to buy the ports too but what they had in stock looked very different from what I had researched online. It wasn't clear how it assembled, and the employees didn't know anything about it.

Another problem I had doing research was that I didn't find any good DIY info pages, almost everything I found was marketing videos.

I believe I have all of my tube-routing questions answered. It should be pretty easy to assemble that part of the system. But does anyone have any good links/videos showing how you would install the port in the wall. My walls are open from the backside, meaning a stud-mount bracket won't work. It will have to be floating between the studs. Home Depot has these flat metal brackets but it was not at all clear how to install those.

Another question, do all vacuum base units have a usable port on the unit itself? Separate from the connection to the tubing I mean. I want to have a pair of ports in my basement and my tubing configuration is based on there being a port built in to the unit.

Also I plan on doing exhaust to the outdoor, so I won't need the filter/muffler on the exhaust. Are there other filters in the unit that need replacing? With an exterior exhaust, I would hope not. My mothers unit (which is probably 30 years old) has an exterior exhaust and no filters. Just the bin to empty.

Another question, I have power tools in my basement and I hook up my shop vac to them when cutting to get some of the dust. Would it be safe to use a central vac unit for something like that? It would make it a lot easier to have a port on the ceiling right above the cutting zone with a short hose hanging down.

If I look on Nutones website, they have many more types of fittings than what they had at the semi-local home depot. But that was the only place around I could find any of this stuff. Once I figure out what I need for the ports/fittings, where do I even find the stuff??
 

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I did a quick search of "installing a central vacuum" and got all sorts of hits. Some of them were from manufacturers but many were diy-type. I'm a little surprised that you can't find a store that sells the bits unless you are out in the middle of nowhere. I can easily find parts and I'm far from being near downtown anywhere. Try expanding your search beyond big box. Perhaps I'm just lucky that we have a shop that sells and services vacuums.
I'm not aware of ports that do not mount on studs but, then again, I haven't looked. Since you have access from the back, you could install some blocking. I wouldn't mount them simply on the drywall since they take a fair bit of abuse when connecting/disconnecting the hose.
I don't know if all power heads have a dedicated port. Mine does not but it is older.
I have a port in my workshop and do use it for clean-up and the odd time will hook it up to a tool to keep the dust down to dull roar. not so bad on something like a router table but I've tried it hooked up to a palm sander but it's more aggravation than it's worth. For things like a table saw, you need to have or build some kind of containment housing. On my chop saw, I just gave up - even the installed dust bag is useless. They're not designed to be a dust/chip collection system. For one thing the tubing is smaller and may clog.You can get cyclonic attachments that will separate out a lot of the dust but I have not used one. They are mostly designed for use with a shop vac. I have a ceiling mounted shop air cleaner that I find works better.
I've not seen a filter for the exhaust - Perhaps they exist. Mufflers just break up the sound waves and don't need cleaning.






This seemed as good a category as any for this.

Due to other unrelated remodeling I'm doing in my house, certain walls are currently open. So even though installing a central vac system is not a priority right now, it's going to be significantly easier doing it now, then if I wait until everything else is done.

I may even just do the piping and ports now and install the actual vacuum unit at a later date.

That said I've been having trouble finding info on these systems and where to get them. It took me a long time just to find a store that sell these components, only one home depot in like 50 miles stocks vacuum tubes and fittings.

So last night I took a trip and bought 40' of tubing and most of the fittings I think I'll need to install all the ports I want. I was going to buy the ports too but what they had in stock looked very different from what I had researched online. It wasn't clear how it assembled, and the employees didn't know anything about it.

Another problem I had doing research was that I didn't find any good DIY info pages, almost everything I found was marketing videos.

I believe I have all of my tube-routing questions answered. It should be pretty easy to assemble that part of the system. But does anyone have any good links/videos showing how you would install the port in the wall. My walls are open from the backside, meaning a stud-mount bracket won't work. It will have to be floating between the studs. Home Depot has these flat metal brackets but it was not at all clear how to install those.

Another question, do all vacuum base units have a usable port on the unit itself? Separate from the connection to the tubing I mean. I want to have a pair of ports in my basement and my tubing configuration is based on there being a port built in to the unit.

Also I plan on doing exhaust to the outdoor, so I won't need the filter/muffler on the exhaust. Are there other filters in the unit that need replacing? With an exterior exhaust, I would hope not. My mothers unit (which is probably 30 years old) has an exterior exhaust and no filters. Just the bin to empty.

Another question, I have power tools in my basement and I hook up my shop vac to them when cutting to get some of the dust. Would it be safe to use a central vac unit for something like that? It would make it a lot easier to have a port on the ceiling right above the cutting zone with a short hose hanging down.

If I look on Nutones website, they have many more types of fittings than what they had at the semi-local home depot. But that was the only place around I could find any of this stuff. Once I figure out what I need for the ports/fittings, where do I even find the stuff??
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I live right in the subrubs of a major city. I typed in my zip code on Nutone's website to see if there was anyplace that sells the parts, but it just lists random local hardware stores and then home depot and lowes. Maybe these places have the ability to order Nutone parts but they do not keep anything in stock.

Also regarding ports that are not on studs, aren't most central vac systems installed in existing houses? How do they mount their ports then? Stud mounting would be impossible if you are not tearing apart the wall, which most people clearly do not do.
 

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I thought about installing a central vac. Then my wife got a Roomba. She turns it loose and does something else until it sends her phone a message saying it is done. It cleans under beds better than they have ever been cleaned. When we go to FL for the winter, Roomba goes with us.
 

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I (we) have a central vacuum system. House is 25 years old. You install thin wall PVC piping along with two low voltage wire to various locations through out the house. Usually one or two locations on each floor. You also install piping to the exterior for the exhaust. When the hose is plugged in that turns on the central unit. You also need a 120 volt receptacle nearby to power the hose head.

My suggestion would be don't do it.


To use it you have to get out a 1 1/2" diameter hose about 20 foot long and carry it to the place of use. That's is more work work than getting out a regular corded vacuum cleaner.
Recently made a suggestion to the wife that we get a battery powered vacuum cleaner when I saw that they now have 40 volt cordless ones. She didn't listen (as usual). Went and bought a corded vacuum. Said she didn't think a cordless battery powered one would last long enough. Not smart enough to know that you can get multiple batteries.

A 40 volt battery powered vacuum or Roomba would be most convenient. No you can't use it in your shop. The canister of the central unit has to be periodically emptied. Shop sawdust and wood chips would accumulate too quickly and the suction power is not like a shop vac.
Ours is under the basement stairs and not the most convenient to empty.
 

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I have installed a couple of these systems in my day, only in new construction, and while I do think they are a nice feature, I do feel they are not really as useful as they would seem.

That being said, as previously stated, you could make some blocking for the inlets, or, since one could presume you are going to be patching and painting anyway, just cut out a large enough area on the other side to install the inlet on the stud. Also, I would suggest looking into the inlets with built in 120 ports, that way you don't need to plug in and out two separate devices, you just need a 15A circuit nearby, and they come with different lengths of 14-2 romex cable attached, I have seen 6 and 12' lengths of cable.

As for the inlet on the unit, I believe they do come with one, but at worst you could build a box from some scrap wood and pipe into it.

Also, if you have any alarm/low voltage companies near your area, or know anyone in that business, and has a wholesale account with any alarm distributors, they can get parts for that stuff pretty easily. Maybe even a local locksmith.


https://www.amazon.com/NuTone-Central-Vacuum-Connect-Electrified/dp/B001OHVQ2O
 

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You install thin wall PVC piping along with two low voltage wire to various locations through out the house. Usually one or two locations on each floor. You also install piping to the exterior for the exhaust. When the hose is plugged in that turns on the central unit. You also need a 120 volt receptacle nearby to power the hose head.

Close but no cigar.


You should run some low voltage wiring to each outlet (although even that is not a requirement), but you don't necessarily need a 120v outlet nearby.


Options:


1. A wireless remote control that works via RF. Needs no low voltage wires.


2. Low voltage wires to each outlet as usual.



3. Hayden Supervalve has both the low voltage AND the 120v in the outlet.


With number 1, you use a Turbocat carpet beater brush, while with number 2. You can use a low voltage hose for on/off, and either a TurboCat beater brush, or with 120v outlet nearby, a high power electric beater brush, and with number 3, you use a special high and low voltage hose with a high voltage powered beater brush.









To use it you have to get out a 1 1/2" diameter hose about 20 foot long and carry it to the place of use.

Typical hose is actually 30 feet long, and yes it is a bit of a hassle, but plug it in and you can cover a very large area without moving it from one outlet to another. Just need to get used to it.


No you can't use it in your shop. The canister of the central unit has to be periodically emptied. Shop sawdust and wood chips would accumulate too quickly and the suction power is not like a shop vac.
Ours is under the basement stairs and not the most convenient to empty.

You can use it in your shop, as long as it's not undersized for the house, and I would never locate the unit where it's a PIA to empty. Best location is in an attached garage.


If there are no leaks in the piping, no shop vac will come even close to the actual suction of a central unit.




I installed thousands of these things, and never had a complaint. A proper size unti and proper installation is the key.
 

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Now then. In answer to the OP.


If you go ahead and purchase the outlet covers and mounting flange you can simply cut the drywall and install them, then run the piping as if you were going to complete the system at this time.




https://www.ebay.com/itm/6-Central-...739406?hash=item5b1fdf1c4e:g:uBkAAOSwGx1ZxaQi


The nailing flange snaps off for retro fit.


https://www.ezvacuum.com/central-vacuum-inlet-cover-white-low-voltage.html


This is the style I always used.




If you need any additional parts, or have any more questions, feel free to message me.
 

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The ideal location is center of the house. They are big and take up space. No low voltage motor is going to have the power of a 120 volt one. Yes, the hose is probably 30', I didn't go measure it. I have four shop vac and a central vacuum. I think I know the difference in suction power.


You obviously don't make sawdust and wood chips like I do.


You may have installed thousands but you don't carry that hose up two flights of stairs every week.


Central vacuum systems outdated technology.
 

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To use it you have to get out a 1 1/2" diameter hose about 20 foot long and carry it to the place of use. That's is more work work than getting out a regular corded vacuum cleaner.
Recently made a suggestion to the wife that we get a battery powered vacuum cleaner when I saw that they now have 40 volt cordless ones. She didn't listen (as usual). Went and bought a corded vacuum. Said she didn't think a cordless battery powered one would last long enough. Not smart enough to know that you can get multiple batteries.

Haha. You sound like the missus. She hates lugging the hose around. Our daughter has a Dyson cordless and loves it; pricey but powerful.


I live right in the subrubs of a major city. I typed in my zip code on Nutone's website to see if there was anyplace that sells the parts, but it just lists random local hardware stores and then home depot and lowes. Maybe these places have the ability to order Nutone parts but they do not keep anything in stock.

Also regarding ports that are not on studs, aren't most central vac systems installed in existing houses? How do they mount their ports then? Stud mounting would be impossible if you are not tearing apart the wall, which most people clearly do not do.

I don't know the geography down there but I Googled "central vacuum in Woburn MA" and got several hits, including Vacuum Plus right in town. If you are searching specifically for NuTone you might be limiting your hits.
The tubing and related fittings are generic and the ports might be as well but don't quote me on that.
I don't have an answer for installation in existing walls, other than blocking. The port and faceplate sandwich the drywall so it will install but I'm not sure I would do it.
 

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For your unanswered questions:

I just looked online at models from three manufacturers and none of the power units had an integral hose connection on the unit. Only one of the five units (an older one) that I’ve had direct experience with had one.

You’ll really have to take a look at the specs on the unit that you plan to buy to understand the answer to your question about filtering. I’d guess that most modern central vac power units do have some. The unit that we installed five years ago uses bags, but no other filtering. The operating cost is higher because of the bags, but there is no mess at all when dumping and the inside of the unit is very clean compared to the bag-less unit that it replaced. I ran an outside exhaust, but judging by the siding around the port there isn’t any dust coming out of it. It wasn’t much effort (or pipe length) to install it, though, so I feel better knowing that the electronics in the same room won’t be coated in dust if something goes wrong with the unit.

If your central vac uses bags you won’t want to use it to capture high volumes of dust from woodworking tools. I use a shop vac for that.

Chipping in on what others have said:

The wall inlet connects to the rough-in fitting via four significant screws that end up clamping the two together tightly, squeezing the drywall between them. That makes it unnecessary to mount the rough-in fitting to solid framing since you have access to both sides of the drywall at this point, but down the road you may have to replace the wall inlet. The small metal buttons that make the connection to signal the power unit to start eventually wear down (after decades). Replacing the wall inlet without the rough-in fitting held in place behind it would be more difficult. I would screw the rough-in fitting to some wood, put the rough-in fitting through the hole in the drywall, then fasten the wood in place to the existing studs.

The ideal location for the power unit depends on the house layout. You’ll get the best debris carrying ability if the piping only flows downhill to the power unit. Anyone with a system where the lines go up the wall is familiar with the paper clip or other object that was carried horizontally by the airflow in the hose, but won’t carry upwards in the wall pipe. The 25 year old unit in our current house was in the garage and was noisy enough that was the only viable location for it. The unit that we installed 5 years is much quieter and is in the basement.

On sourcing materials:

You can always order materials online if you’re having difficulty sourcing locally. Central vac units are much more common in Canada than the US, so the parts are much more easily available at the big box stores here. We Canadians are usually disadvantaged when it comes to shopping selection compared to our neighbours to the south, but this is one example of the reverse.
Canada - https://www.costco.ca/CatalogSearch?dept=All&keyword=central+vacuum
USA - https://www.costco.com/CatalogSearch?dept=All&keyword=central+vacuum

On other installation issues:

The piping installation is simple, but easy to screw up. The key to a successful installation is to minimize the number of fittings and the pressure drop associated with them. Here’s a good installation guide:
https://www.nuera-air.com/pdf/PipingInstallationInstructions.pdf

On the question (which you did not ask) about whether or not to install a central vac:

There are so many advantages of a central vacuum system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_vacuum_cleaner) that I’m surprised to read of people with them installed who don’t like them. My wife and I were living in a multi-level townhouse without a central vac system a few years ago so we had to buy a nice Miele portable unit. Vacuuming stairs was a real pain compared to using a central vac system. We’ve fitted a system to both older houses that we’ve renovated. We make things easier by having multiple hoses (one for each floor of the house and another for the garage).

Chris
 
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