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"Any fool can install a central vacuum; the only problem is that you have a central vacuum installed by a fool."

I like to take pictures of other companies' central vacuum work in Colorado Springs, Colorado, so I can show my clients why my competitors are cheaper and faster than I am.

One person told me, "I am going to go with another company for my central vacuum. They are cheaper and they told me they do everything exactly the way Black Forest Home Security Systems does it". I didn't believe the other company would do as good a job as I would so I went to the job site and took some pictures.

Almost nothing was done the way I do it. It was one of the worst central vacuum installations I have ever seen. The client was told a lie and got a "good" price but his central vacuum couldn't have worked correctly.

Two joints in the system were never glued together and could come apart causing a great loss of suction. The PVC Plastic pipe was supported by metal straps that would cut into the pipe as it vibrated with use.

Two of the "T"s in the system were installed backwards and would catch hair, carpet fiber and lint, causing a clog. Wire nut connections were to be covered by drywall so their location would be unknown and unserviceable if they failed in the future. Nail guards were missing as the pipe passed through the top plate and sole plate of the walls so the drywallers could put a screw into the pipe, causing a clog that would be impossible to remove. As well as many other mistakes.

I see these problems time and time again as I look at central vacuums in Colorado Springs, Colorado. You can trust me to do top quality work and use top quality materials and techniques to make your system as high performance and trouble free as possible.

Quality materials cost more. A trained, experienced, conscientious professional costs more. Proper design and assembly techniques take longer to perform. These are some of the reasons why my systems cost more than the low bidder.

What my competitors give you for less money is pictured below.


The lower joint on this 90 degree fitting is not glued. You can see blue dye on the upper joint but none on the lower. The pipe can slip out of the fitting, leaving the central vacuum system with no suction. After the drywall is put up you would never be able to find and fix this problem. The system will work fine for a while.

Here you see a "double top plate", two 2X4s at the top of the wall. There is only one nail guard on one of the 2X4s. When the drywallers put screws through the drywall into the wood, a screw can pierce the central vac pipe. The screw will catch carpet fiber and cause a clog which cannot be removed. If a screw is put into the pipe, this system will work fine for a while.


Here you see two wire nuts taped to the central vacuum pipe in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They will be covered by the drywall. If the connection goes bad, no one will know where they are or how to repair the central vacuum. The National Electrical Code requires that all connections must be accessible for repair.

There are wire nuts taped to this central vacuum pipe in the ceiling. Once again, there is only a single nail guard on the double top plate of the wall, so a drywall screw could easily pierce the pipe and cause a clog after a few weeks to a few months. These problems will be hidden behind drywall; hidden and inaccessible.


Using metal strap to support PVC central vacuum pipe can eventually cut into the PVC due to the vibration of the pipe while vacuuming. A hole worn through the pipe will cause a great loss of suction. This will be covered by drywall so it will be very hard to know where the leak is.

All of these pictures are from central vacuum installations, done by my competitors, in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area.

The air flow in the central vacuum pipe above is from left to right. The gray "T" is installed backwards. You can see that it curves from right to left instead of left to right as it should. Carpet fiber will hang up as it is sucked the wrong way around the sharp bend. This will cause a clog. All of this will be covered by drywall; it will be difficult to find and fix the clog when it occurs.

Low bidders have to work quickly, so mistakes are common, and they cannot pay enough to hire highly trained, knowledgeable installers. That's why they are the low bidders. Let Dave do it right the first time.


Looking up at the ceiling, behind the duct work, here is another backward T. The flow is from left to right. The gray T is installed backward; this will catch carpet fiber and cause a clog. There are also wire nuts taped to the pipe with silver duct tape. Both of these problems will be covered with drywall so no one will be able to find the bad connections or cut out the backward T and replace it correctly. In new construction, you only have one chance to do the job correctly. If it isn't, you're guaranteed to have problems with your central vacuum system in Colorado Springs, Colorado and it's too late to fix them.

This mistake is called a "Gravity Drop". The heavy sand rolls along the bottom of the central vacuum pipe from lower left to upper right in this photo. When it comes to this joint, it falls down the "Y" in this pipe to a basement inlet valve. When the owner opens the basement valve to vacuum, there will be several inches of sand in the pipe, and possibly a clog, because of this mistake. Ts and Ys should always come out of the side or the top of the main pipe to avoid this commonly seen problem.


Above is another central vacuum joint not glued that I found while looking over a competitor's work at a home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Another low bidder company forgot to glue a central vacuum pipe joint. When the pipe cools it shrinks and can pull out of the socket. The system may work fine until the family lowers the heat while they are out of Colorado Springs, Colorado for a few days.


I believe this installer used the wrong kind of glue for central vacuum pipe. Standard glue/solvent for central vacuum PVC is either clear or contains blue dye. The black glue shown here may be for ABS pipe, the black pipe that is sometimes used for drain, waste and vent pipes. Using the wrong kind of glue will not give a good bond and may not bond at all. If every joint is made with the wrong glue, the only way to fix it is to cut everything out and start over. Of course, after the drywall is up, no one will know that it is all wrong and will come apart.

This photo shows the use of purple primer to prepare PVC for the glue/solvent. The companies that make the glue say that primer is not needed for 2" pipe and smaller. The primer softens the PVC to help make a good strong joint. However, the glue already contains softening agents and adding primer to small pipe, like central vacuum pipe, can actually get it too soft. When you put primer on the socket, or female part of the joint, it can get so soft that as the pipe is inserted, a roll of PVC is pushed ahead of the edge of the pipe. This creates a ring of PVC inside the joint that will catch carpet fiber, hair and lint, causing a clog. Primer may sound like a good idea but it is a disaster in a central vac system.


The metal strap supporting these pipes is beginning to chafe and wear the pipe. It could eventually wear a hole in the pipe. This installer in Colorado Springs, Colorado ran the wire for the central vacuum between the metal strap and the pipe. The insulation on the wire will get worn off and the wire will short, causing the central vacuum to start and run continuously. This will overheat and ruin the motor.

This company used these "sharp 90" central vac fittings throughout the piping system. Sharp 90s should be used ONLY directly behind each wall valve. Their purpose is to catch anything that will not go around a sharp bend BEFORE it gets into the main piping, so the user can simply pull the object out from the wall valve. All other turns in the system should be a "sweep 90" or a "45" with a gentle turn. If an object passes the sharp 90 at the wall valve it should go all the way to the dirt bucket.

Because there are sharp 90s everywhere in this system it will clog quickly and cannot be repaired without removing the drywall and replacing all the sharp 90s with sweep 90s: However, since all of this is behind the drywall, no one will know why the system is clogged or how to fix it.


Another central vacuum installer in Colorado Springs, Colorado used sharp 90s where they should NOT be used in the central vac piping system. He also used purple primer so there may be rings of PVC inside the sharp 90 fittings, making them even smaller and more likely to clog.

The homeowners have no idea that the "professional" installing their central vacuum does not know what he is doing.

This company ran the wire for the central vacuum between the pipe holder and the pipe. As the pipe vibrates and moves during use, the friction will wear away the insulation on the wire. If the wire shorts, the system will start and run continuously, ruining the motor.

The wire should have been run underneath the tab made to hold the wire on the outside of the pipe holder at the bottom right of the pipe holder.


The company that installed this "Dirt Devil" central vacuum in Colorado Springs, Colorado, used flexible hose to connect the pipe to the power unit instead of taking the time to use the correct pipe and fittings to plumb directly into the power unit. Their plumbing creates such a sharp turn in the hose that it will probably clog often. It is held in place with duct tape, "The choice of amateurs".



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