How to Properly Plan and Lay Out Your Central Vacuum Piping

Laying out your new central vacuum piping is not rocket science, but it does require careful planning and installation. When you take the time to draw up the correct layout on paper or computer software, the installation should go smoothly. Additionally, everything you need for a complete job comes with your purchase of a complete all-in-one central vacuum cleaner package. The first step to installing a central vacuum in your home, if to decide who will do the work – you or a hired installer. If you choose to do it yourself, follow the below steps:

  • Draw up the complete plan to make sure you have access to run piping from level to level.
  • Select the number of room or area hose inlets.
  • Check for hidden wiring, plumbing, and ductwork.
  • Organize the tools required.
  • Cut the holes for pipes and inlets.
  • Clean away the debris.

Now it's time to install the pipe and wall inlets:

  • Install pipes and glue fittings.
  • Install the wall inlets.
  • Install the power unit and connect to pipes.
  • Turn the vacuum on for a trial run.

Some Dos and Don’ts for Correct Pipe Installation

To create a successful pipe layout and take full advantage of your central vacuum, you must follow these recommendations in every room:

  • Tubing should always run straight and level in both horizontal and vertical directions.
  • Never use Schedule 40 plumbing pipe or fittings because the inside walls are rough, its elbows are too tight to provide sufficient airflow, and they are not compatible with central vacuum tubing or fittings. Do not use plumbing PCV pipe.
  • Do not bend, bow, or curve tubing during installation.
  • Always use a 2” pipe cutter for square cuts and always deburr tubing ends, both inside and outside diameters after cutting.
  • Thoroughly planning installation with as few fittings as possible allows for optimum airflow and system efficiency.

The Layout Depends on Your House Style

The layout of piping and inlets depends on the style of your house, either ranch style, two-story, or split-level. Each style affects pipe, wall inlet, and power unit placement differently. The Ranch Style Home In a ranch style home, you will mount the power unit in the garage and run the intake and exhaust tubing up the garage wall and into the attic. The main trunk line runs horizontally through the attic to the farthest inlet location. Individual room lines branch off the trunk line to each inlet tubing which is threaded vertically through an inside wall to a strategic location to provide maximum access to all cleaning areas.

The Two-Story House

Typically, you mount the power unit for a two-story house in the basement.  One trunk line runs horizontally in the basement and another in the attic. Two first-floor inlets are connected to the basement trunk line via vertical inlet lines through the interior walls. A vertical branch line from the basement trunk line runs up the center of the house to connect to the attic trunk line. Two branch lines drop down from the attic through interior walls to connect to the inlets on the second floor.

The Split-Level Home

For a split-level home, you typically need two trunk lines and locate the power unit in the garage. Run the intake tubing up the garage wall and into the attic of the ground level section. Use two branch lines to connect this part of the trunk line to inlet lines dropped inside the interior walls. Run a vertical branch line to the upstairs attic where the trunk line branches into a T-shape to connect the two upstairs inlet lines and one inlet which drops through an upstairs wall and down into the third-level room to service this entire level. Click here for complete instructions on layout out and installing the pipes and inlets.

Tools and Supplies You Will Need

Many, if not all, the tools and supplies needed for installation may be in your home tool kit already. You can purchase any others for a nominal cost at a hardware or home improvement store. Power units are designed to be installed on a wall away from the living area to reduce noise. The instructions already cited let you know whether to place yours in the garage or basement. Each model of central vacuum is different in size and may require different minimum height requirements to run effectively. Refer to the owner’s manual for guidelines on installing all parts of the system, and if you have any questions, call our technical support line at 954-341-2760.

Order Your Central Vacuum from Florida’s Leading Dealer

Spring is one of the best times to install a central vacuum. Order your central vacuum package from for the best products, service, and prices in South Florida. Choose among nine leading brands we carry in stock and receive the best warranties in the industry.