How to Replace a Central Vacuum Filter

Central vacuum systems are not unlike ordinary vacuums in that the dirt and debris have to accumulate somewhere in the system. That "somewhere" is the filter and dirt canister, which must be checked, cleaned, or changed frequently to keep your vacuum operating efficiently. Central vacuums use either cartridge or foam filters, filter bags, or filterless systems, all of which are serviced in the same manner.Replacing Central Vacuum Filters

  1. Trace the filter canister at the bottom of the central vacuum power unit. The canister looks like a pail or bucket and is secured by retailing clips on the side.
  2. Release the retaining clips on the filter canister by flipping the lever outward and upward. Hold the canister with one hand as you release the clips to avoid accidental dirt spillage.
  3. Pull the canister from the power unit by pulling down mildly. A slight twisting action may be essential.
  4. Inspect the filter system to establish the filter type and mounting method. Cartridge and foam filters are surrounded by a center shaft in the canister and are dragged out of place. Bag filters are on hold from the upper power unit and are pulled from their mount. Filterless systems use a permanent mesh screen attached to the upper power unit and are held in place by a flexible retaining ring or detachable retaining post sleeve washers. The technique of filter mounting varies by manufacturer and model but should be readily apparent.
  5. Put disposable filters in a trash bag and dump remaining canister dirt along with it. Some filters and all filterless mesh screens are washable. Soak it in warm soapy water, rinse and air dry.
  6. Insert the new or washed and dried filter or replacement filter bag, in the same manner, it was detached.
  7. Reinstall the canister by pushing it onto the vacuum power unit and flipping the retaining clips down.


  • Decreased or lack of vacuum suction is a sign that the filter should be replaced or the dirt receptacle emptied.
  • Remove the canister and check the filter or bag at least twice a year - more often with heavy use.
  • Contemplate wearing protective eye gear, rubber gloves, and a face mask, especially if you are sensitive to allergens.


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