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Help! My Central Vacuum is Clogged! How to Clear a Blockage in your Central Vacuum


Depending on the level of debris or how often you use your central vacuum, the chances of a blockage are always there. Utilizing our vacuums as the chief dust and dirt picker-upper, they are subject to sucking up a lot of unwanted and sometimes accidental material. 

Most blockages are not caused by your run-of-the-mill dust and small debris pulled from your carpets and floors, they are often accidental in nature. With socks, toys and other articles laying around or hidden under furniture, the truth is, sometimes these large items get sucked up and can cause problems for both you and your vacuum.

How to tell if you have a blockage

There are a few telltale signs that your central vacuum is clogged and they are often in unison with one another. The first would be the obvious loss of suction. If you notice that your unit is not picking up as much dirt and dust as it usually does, place your hand over the nozzle to assess the level of suction. If you notice that the suction is not as strong as usual, your next step is to inspect the unit.

Depending on the whereabouts of your unit, you might not notice the high-pitch wane of a blocked central vacuum. Be sure to leave the vacuum running while inspecting your unit. As you get closer, you’ll undoubtedly notice that it is running at a higher level than usual. If you’ve got a lack of suction paired with a high pitched motor, chances are you’ve got a blockage somewhere along the line.

How to locate and clear a blockage

If your central vacuum system is experiencing a blockage, there’s a few steps you can take to help you locate and clear it. Before you begin troubleshooting, you’ll want to ensure the central vacuum system is turned off to prevent any accidents.

Once the system is off, begin by examining the hose for any visible obstructions. Disconnect the hose from both ends (the wall inlet and the vacuum unit) and inspect it thoroughly. Use a flashlight to look through the hose to identify any clogs if you can. We recommend working your way down the hose, twisting it and pinching it in an effort to locate any possible blockages.

If the hose seems to be in good working order, move to the wall inlet. Sometimes, small objects can get stuck in them, causing a blockage. Use a flashlight to look inside the inlet and remove any debris you find using a long, narrow object like a broomstick or a vacuum hose attachment. If you find something in there, oftentimes you can recruit another vacuum cleaner to suck out any debris that might be blocking the inlet.

If, however,  the hose and wall inlets appear clear, the blockage may be in the vacuum unit itself. Open the unit’s canister or remove the filter to access the interior. Look for any visible obstructions and remove them carefully.

If you’re still unable to locate the blockage visually, you may need to use a plumbing snake or a flexible rod to dislodge it. Insert the snake or rod into the hose or the inlet and gently maneuver it to break up the clog. Be cautious not to damage the interior of the hose or the vacuum system. If your system happens to have a reverse airflow function, you can try using it to dislodge the clog. Simply connect the hose to the exhaust port of the vacuum unit and turn it on to blow air through the system.

If none of the above steps resolve the issue, there might be a blockage in the pipes that run through your walls. This situation may require professional assistance, as accessing and clearing blockages in the pipes can be challenging without specialized equipment.

Once you’ve run through all of the above and believe that you might have cleared the blockage, the next step is to test. Turn on your system, check the suction and the unit for excess noise or strain. If everything is operational, continue with your daily duties. 

If you’re unable to locate or clear the blockage on your own, it may be time to contact a professional central vacuum technician for assistance. We have the expertise and tools necessary to diagnose and resolve the issue efficiently.


We are the local experts for installing central vacuum systems (also called built-in vacuum systems) and performing repairs for residential, offices, commercial in general, warehouses, veterinarian offices, doctor’s offices, hangars, and many more.

We also sell and repair household conventional vacuums. 

Our Central Vacuum Specialties: New Construction, Projects Hide-A-Hose (retractable Vac Hose), Builder Prices, Remodels & Retrofits, Replacement Vacuums, Service & Repair for all major brands including: Cyclovac, Vacuflo, Beam, Nutone, AirVac, Electrolux, and Central vacuum accessories. Contact Us Today at (561) 735-9988!

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