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Install a Built-in Vacuum System -- Part I: Install the Inlet Valves

Here's how to get started installing a whole-house vacuum system.

More in Electrical

  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Plan the Installation

Plan the vacuum tubing layout so that runs from the inlet valves to the power unit are as straight and short as possible. Choose locations for the inlet valves in interiors walls. Try to avoid insulated exterior walls and walls with plumbing.

planning the installation of vacuum system

Step 2: Mark and Cut the Inlet Valve Locations

Use a stud finder to locate a wall space between two studs (Image 1). Measure up from the floor and mark the valve location on the wall at the recommended height.

Also place a mark on the floor, close to the wall directly below the valve location (Image 2). Bore a 1/4” pilot hole through the floor on your mark. Have a helper watching down below to see where the bit emerges and make sure you don’t hit anything.

Insert a wire probe (a coat hanger will do) into the hole to serve as a locator and guide point.

Below the floor, measure 2-3/4" from the probe to find the center of the wall cavity (Image 3).

Use a 2-9/16" hole saw to bore a hole up through the center of the wall’s sole plate (Image 4).

Use a flashlight to inspect the interior of the walls (Image 5). Make sure there are no obstructions in the wall.

Use a laser level to line up the vacuum outlet with any nearby electrical outlets and to establish a vertical line from the probe hole to the outlet.

Center an inlet valve on the laser marks and use it as a template to mark the hole (Image 6). Cut out the drywall.

Step 3: Assemble the Inlet Valve

Use PVC cement to glue a 90-degree elbow onto the inlet valve. First swab PVC primer on both halves of the joint. Apply the cement to the outside of the pipe, not the inside of the fitting, to prevent the cement from oozing into the joint, which can cause clogging.

From below, have your helper insert a length of vacuum tubing up into the wall hole. Working through the hole, apply PVC cement to the tube end, then insert the inlet valve assembly and seat it on the tube. Use screws to fasten the inlet valve to the drywall.

glue a 90 degree elbow onto inlet valve

Step 4: Run Wiring from the Power Unit

Feed the low-voltage wire from the power unit location up through the wall hole.

Strip about 1/2” of insulation from the tips of the wires, and connect them to the terminals on the valve cover plate (Image 1).

Use screws to attach the anchor plate to the inlet valve (Image 2), then install the cover plate and level it in place.

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