Piping Options for Central Vacuums (Flexible Hose, Plumbing Pipe)

Flexible Hose: Flexible Hose was the result of an attempt to standardize the industry in the 1960s, however the cons of the piping soon doomed the attempt, though industry workers still run across examples of the piping in homes from that period. The piping employs a 2” (50mm) flexible hose in lieu of fittings or elbows in the system, but is not used as the main tubing for a home. While the flexible hose is still sometimes used near the first few feet of VacPan outlets, and it does allow for easy, accurate installations, the hose tends to add a tremendous amount of unnecessary friction to the system. Air bounces each time it hits one of the ridges on the pipe (ridges intended to give it more flexibility for tight turns) and these same ridges also greatly increase the risk for clogs and blockages, especially in curves and tight bents. It is also tough to find and difficult to cut to shape. In general this piping is not recommended except as a last ditch option for certain tough installation points.

Plumbing Pipe: Standard plumbing pipe is pvc piping used in home construction to move waste or clean water through the home to faucets and outlets. The pipe is readily available in 10 or 20 foot sections around the world and is easily cut using standard equipment. The thick walls and wide inner dimension (greater than 2” (50 mm)) also provide durability.

However, as this tubing is intended to carry water the internal surface is not optimized for use with central vacuums. It is generally assumed that any clogs in this tubing will be pushed through by water, so rough points where clogs may begin to form are not as evenly corrected during the manufacturing process. Also rough points and ledges are often created during the cutting process or at joints. This has triggered many vacuum manufacturers to offer transition piping to clean up joints smoothly with less chance of clogging. No known USA manufacturers of central vacuums recommend this pipe for central vacuum applications, however it can be used for do it yourselfers in a pinch if you take precautions.

You can shop for all your built-in vac needs at: www.centralvacuumdirect.com

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