DIY Network

Install a Built-in Vacuum System -- Part II: Run the Pipe

Host Paul Ryan demonstrates how to install the mainline pipe and use elbows and fittings to connect all of the inlet valves to the mainline.

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  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Plan the Pipe Runs

Begin by determining the location for the main trunk line. Try to make this and all other pipe runs as straight and short as possible. Dry fit all of the pipes during installation -- do not glue any parts together at this stage.

Step 2: Install the Main Trunk Line

Install the main trunk line. In this home, the easiest access was through an open truss (Image 1).

Use pipe clamps supplied with the system to secure the pipe to the wood framing (Image 2). Use about two clamps per 8' section. The clamp will fit a little loose so the pipe can slide in place if you need to move it when connecting to the valves.

Step 3: Install Branch Lines

Use elbows and other fittings as needed to add branch lines off the main trunk line. Each branch line extends to the inlet valves located throughout the home.

add branch lines off main trunk line

Step 4: Glue the Pipe and Fittings

Start at the farthest fittings and work toward the collection unit. First, dry fit each assembly, then mark the pipe for cutting (Image 1). After the cuts are made, dry fit the pieces again to be sure they fit before gluing. Make sure the pipe fits completely into the joint.

Use a reamer or sandpaper to debur the pipe end after cutting to eliminate rough edges (Image 2).

Use PVC cement to glue the parts together (Image 3). Remember to put the glue on the outside of the pipe, not into the fitting.

Where fittings are used to connect branch lines to the main trunk line, make sure the sweep bend "goes with the flow" (Image 4).

Use pairs of 45 degree elbows to make small corrections in a pipe run (Image 5), such as where the pipes must jog around obstructions such as ductwork or framing.

Step 5: Run the Wiring

Run the low voltage wire along the main trunk line, attaching it to the pipe with cable ties every 6' to 8'.

Pull together all of the wire runs from the inlet valves (as shown in Part 1). Splice them together at a convenient location and connect them to the wires from the power unit (Image 2). Connect the same color wires (black to black and red to red).