The Central Vac


I installed this Vacu Maid system in 1996, and it was challenging since this was a retrofit to my home. I installed two outlets per floor (3 floors), and was able to hide the entire installation in closets and existing chases in my home. The installation was a good experience since it allowed me to prepare for the later work where I would be wiring Cat 5 and RG-6U to every corner of the house.

Compared to a regular filter vacuum, this cleans better, quieter, and all dirt is ejected from the house. The system is lighter and more maneuverable. Since it has no substantial filter, there is no obstruction to the unit's power. 

I decided to spring for two sets of electric powered sweepers. I also bought the turbine powered stair sweeper. It is a hand held turbine brush. Great for cars as well. The air turbine units are more prone to clogging (all dirt needs to pass thru the vanes of the turbine), and reduces power a little. 

Some pointers for installation:

Project Log

sweeper motor
Replacement motor.  Click for full size.
  • December 2012 - Inspection of the small turbine powered sweeper shows turbine blades show some damage from years of use.
  • January 2013 - Bought another used Sweep n Groom head on Ebay for $25+15, and this has the clear plastic front for an internal headlight.  Due to frequent bumps and vibration, the lights I have had blow out quickly.  I added a mod to put 6 bright white LEDs to replace the filament bulb.  They are powered by a tiny 12V switching power supply rated for 300mA.  Three lights are in series, and two strings of these put in parallel.  I then use a 10 ohm resistor in series with all this.  Total current is 100mA (two parallel strings).
blown bulb in sweeper with LED mod
  • March 15 2021 - 25 year mark.  Added a vacuum gauge right at the motor unit.  It was purchased from for about $11.  It was added by drilling a 7/16" hole that I widened a bit and then threaded the gauge into the hole.  With no air flow, the developed maximum vacuum is -8.5 inHg (about 116 inches of water or -4.2 psi).  I had just cleaned the canister and filter a day before.  With one of the hoses attached to top floor outlet, the vacuum level was -4.5 inHg.  So if in the future, the motor runs with less power (due to a filter obstruction), I may be able to tell by a lower vacuum.
vacuum gauge

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