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Working with Central Vacuum PVC Pipe

Similar to PVC water pipe, only thinner, PVC central vacuum piping is as easy to cut and to connect.

A central vacuum system utilizes a system of plastic pipe to carry dust and debris from the vacuum cleaner through walls and beneath floors to the power unit and canister that collects it.

The PVC pipe is very similar to PVC water pipe—it just has thinner walls, so it’s lighter in weight and easier to cut and handle. Like PVC water pipe, PVC vacuum system pipes and fittings are assembled with PVC cement.

Measuring, cutting, and assembling these pipes is a relatively easy job–the hardest part is usually drilling and cutting holes through wall studs and other framing members (see How to Install a Central Vacuum System).

Step-by-Step Techniques

1Cut PVC pipe to length with a hacksaw or a reciprocating saw equipped with a fine-toothed blade.


cutting central vac PVC pipe©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

Cut PVC pipe to length with a hacksaw or a reciprocating saw equipped with a fine-toothed blade.

2Smooth the rough-cut pipe ends, inside and out, with fine-grit sandpaper.

Smooth the roughly-cut edges with fine sandpaper.






Apply PVC cement to the end of the pipe.




3Apply a 1-inch-wide band of PVC cement around the end of the pipe only—not the fitting.


Push the fitting onto the pipe and position it.


4Immediately push the fitting onto the pipe end, twist it slightly, and hold the joint for about 30 second.





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About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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  1. My Beam CV was losing suction and, after investigating , found the pipe was loose and partially disconnected from the metal floor plate serving my second level. Was this connection supposed to be glued or is it sealed by an o-ring? By pushing it up, the suction returns but it doesn’t stay tight. It was installed two years ago by the store I purchased it from.

    • Normally the pipe is secured beneath the floor and the receptacle is plugged into it. An O-ring seals the joint. Because the receptacle is screwed to the floor, the connection doesn’t typically come apart.

      • Thanks, Don. The pipe isn’t secured to anything. I have it propped up with a piece of wood for the moment. I can’t find any type of o-ring unless it fell off and disappeared. I will glue it together, strap it secure and hope for the best. Thanks again!


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