Central Vac?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by MasonJar, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Having just moved to a new house, central vac is a bit of a novelty for us, but then I started thinking...

    1) Can I hook this up to my planned dust collection for my workshop?

    and more importantly:

    2) Can I use it to vent a spray booth / fume hood?

    I do not know how the motor works i.e. is it in line, or outside the air stream (this is a requirement for a spray booth where solvents and other flammables will be used)?

    Is the filter/bag enough of a filter to proect the vac?

    How much stuff will be caught in the various piping? It seems to snake all over the house on its way to the garage (where the motor and collection cannister are).

    Any comments or suggestions?


  2. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Definitely questions for the manufacturer / installer / inspector / person. But I would think you're ok on all topics.

    How do you like the central vac? Or, how does the person who uses the central vac like it? ;)
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    In terms of vacuuming, it is not bad, but not exactly as advertised either:

    - The powerhead is very, very noisy, eliminating one advantage of having the vacuum motor in the garage.

    - The second "advantage" is no cannister to haul around, but in its place, you get a 35 hose instead.

    - The third is reasonably true - most of the mess of emptying takes place in the garage, so the dust/mess is not an issue in the house.

    - The suction is poor compared to the Miele HEPA cannister vac that we currently have - it outperforms my 8 gal Rigid wet/dry.

    I think that "we" are leaning towards abandoning the central vac, hence my search for other uses... ;) :D

  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Andrew: I think if our CV gave up, we'd buy something else.
    I don't think you want to use it as a fume extractor. Not sure, but I think you want the fumes outside, not in the garage. I don't know if the filter bag would work as desired and I would want someyhing like a 4" pipe.
    For the dust collector: check pipe sizes again.
  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Not as a fume extractor, the motor is not protected against flamable fumes. How far is the workshop from the canister? I'd be careful to keep the shop as close to it as possible for fear of sawdust buildup in the many els and tees those systems have. OoooOOoooOOOOO, central vac....the mere thought is giving me an 80s flashback and a heady desire to wear chin stubble and pastel sportcoats....
  6. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    what do these Central Vacs look like?
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Don't look like nuthin. They're hidden ahint the walls.

    Ours is a little cylinder in the basement with plastic pipe going up inside the walls to an outlet on 3 floors. Most visible bit is the 35' of hose coiled in the garage.
  8. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Is there like a socket that you plug the hose into that wall, like at the height of a power socket?
  9. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    A large canister (usually wall mounted) that's generally located in the garage or basement of the home that holds the dirt. Vaccuum hose outlets are placed in a few rooms, almost like an electrical outlet. The user simply plugs the hose into this recepticle and flips the switch...instant vaccuum cleaner!

    As mentioned, there are some drawbacks. Every room isn't equipped with an outlet, so the hose for these things can be very long and cumbersome. I've only ever used one once, and I'd never want one. The suction isn't that great.
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Thanks guys for all the tips (and the '80s flashback!).

    I figured it was maybe a little too good to be true, but thought I'd check out the idea at least.

  11. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    As far as using the vacuum for a local shop vac, that might work since the unit is in the garage and won't be trying to suck stuff through 100' of hose. One thing it might have a difficult time with though is picking up wood chips, especially through a norrow hose. I have one of those that are designed specifically for that. It has a large bag on top for the air outlet and a large bag at the bottom to collect the wood chips and sawdust. It also accepts a 4" hose which I can use to connect directly to some of my woodworking tools.

    If I were you, I'd hook it up and try it the way you would hope it would work. If it doesn't, nothing lost. If it does, wow, great!!!!
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Your post gave me an idea (uh-oh look out!) :D

    Lee Valley sells a do-dad that allows you to create a "poor man's" version of what you describe by using a regular garbage can in the middle of the hose. That way, the only thing going up the hose is fine dust.


    Maybe it'll work powered by the central vac instead of a local shop vac...?

    I am not sure about your comment on the location though - my shop is in what we here in the Great White North call "the basement" ;) :D and the cannister is in the garage. Probably about 30-40 feet of tube in the walls & floors in between :(

    Like you say - I think I'll hook 'er up and see what happens... hamr

  13. Rusty Spike

    Rusty Spike Member

    We have one in our house located in the basement. I just used it to pick up sawdust from a small project in a bedroom two floors up. It is a pretty straight run from the basement to the upstairs outlet via 3" pvc. The suction was not what I had hoped for but it did pick stuff up. It is no where near as powerful as my shop vac or the 1 H.P. dust collector I used to have for my wood shop.

    Caution - do not get something large stuck in the pipework behind the walls - access is aweful if you need to get to it and shop scraps are notorious for getting stuck at the point farthest from both ends of the piping.
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Good advice Rusty - thanks! Murphy is alive and well... :rolleyes:

  15. caellis

    caellis Member

    IMHO I think trying to evacuate volatile fumes could be an explosion waiting to happen.
    The vacuum motor probably has arcing brushes....
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Thanks caellis - I think I have dropped the ides of trying to vent a spray booth that way, although I might be able to take advantage of the piping that runs out to the garage...

    Point about the motor is well taken. :D


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