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Central Vacuum Repair Cost Guide

A central vacuum is an incredibly convenient built-in home addition that allows users to easily vacuum every room without the need to carry a cumbersome corded vacuum from place to place. Central vacuums operate from a single, out-of-the-way location via ducts behind the walls that lead to inlets throughout the home. These inlets attach to vacuum hoses and operate the same way as a traditional portable vacuum does. However, while this system itself is convenient, its complex nature and many components result in potential for damage and repairs. Common problems range from simple clogs to more complicated mechanical and electrical malfunctions.

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National Repair Central Vacuum Costs

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by ImproveNet members.

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Average reported cost

based on 120 cost profiles


Minimum cost


Maximum cost

Most homeowners spent between:




National Repair Central Vacuum Costs
Average reported cost $243
Number of Cost Profiles 120 cost profiles
Minimum reported cost $55
Maximum reported cost $900
Most homeowners spent between: $122 to $201

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Table of Contents

  1. Central Vacuum Repair Cost
  2. Common Repairs Needed for Central Vacuums
  3. Common Solutions for Central Vacuum Repairs
  4. Dangers of Not Fixing Central Vacuum
  5. Repair or Replace Central Vacuum
  6. DIY Central Vacuum Repair
  7. Find A Pro

Central Vacuum Repair Cost

Repairing a clogged central vacuum isn’t such a big expense, ranging from $50 to $100 for a professional to complete on average, or less if homeowners do it themselves. On the other end of the scale, fixing a broken motor or an electrical short circuit is much more complicated. It costs homeowners anywhere from $15 to $60 per hour on average for labor, along with any parts needed to complete the repair. In other words, the average costs users pay for central vacuum repairs can be a bit misleading because the type of problems can range from minor DIY declogging or bag replacement to complex mechanical and electrical work. In addition, replacement parts can affect the cost of central vacuum repairs significantly, costing just a few dollars up to hundreds or even thousands for a completely new unit.

Common Repairs Needed for Central Vacuums

Common Repairs Needed for Central Vacuums

While the types of repairs you can expect to need for your central vacuums vary based on the age, quality and size of the unit, there are a few common issues worth noting for every central vac.


While proper professional installation is the best way to prevent clogs in the hose, pipes and filter of a central vacuum, sometimes, excessive buildup such as pet hair or a stray object can cause a problem with the suction of the unit. Depending on where the clog is located, this may affect the performance of some or all inlets throughout the home, reducing or eliminating suction capabilities.

Electrical Failure

As the unit ages, electrical failure at individual inlets or at the main unit may take place. In these cases, the vacuum will not turn on or may start and stop suddenly. In addition, repairs or damage throughout the home may cause a short circuit within or reduced voltage to the central vac unit.

Leaking Pipes

Again, proper installation should virtually eliminate this problem. However, work around the home, especially in and around walls, can affect the connections of the PVC pipes that make up the built-in system. Damage to an inlet itself also falls under this category in which the main unit itself continues to have good suction but some, or all, inlets don’t.

Broken Motor

If the unit doesn’t start and electrical issues have been addressed, the problem may be the motor. A broken motor is most likely the result of advanced unit age and/or overuse.

Common Solutions for Central Vacuum Repairs

Common Solutions for Central Vacuum Repairs

For each of the most common issues central vacuum units have, there are common repairs that homeowners should note. Furthermore, while most of these solutions should be left to HVAC professionals, there are some interventions that homeowners can take to understand the extent of the problem before calling for help.


Basic clogs to the pipes or hose can be remedied at home through the use of a portable shop vac attached to one of the unit's inlets. The reverse suction may be able to dislodge any buildup of hair and other normal debris.

More advanced clogs, and those at the base unit itself, are better addressed by a professional. This way, the unit can be properly dismantled and cleaned without additional damage.

Electrical Failure

A professional electrician and/or HVAC professional should address most electrical problems with central vacuums. The one fix homeowners can try is to reset the fuse connected to the central vac. Other more advanced repairs may include reconnecting and replacing wires, replacing fuses or, in extreme cases, rewiring the entire unit.

Leaking Pipes

Repairing leaking central vac pipes may be as simple as replacing an inlet cover or as complex as replacing some or all of the pipes connecting the inlets to the main unit. These are repairs best left to HVAC professionals and other contractors who can complete them with minimal damage to exterior walls.

Broken Motor

A broken central vac motor may be repairable, or you may need to replace the motor or the unit entirely. Regardless, the delicate nature of motor repair is best left to professionals. Plus, allowing pros to handle this repair often maintains the unit’s manufacturer's warranty.

Dangers of Not Fixing Central Vacuum

Dangers of Not Fixing Central Vacuum

While some central vacuum issues are easy to ignore, such as reduced suction or a frequent short circuit, allowing these issues to persist can lead to much more complicated and expensive damage. Clogs can get bigger and electrical problems can lead to long-term damage that ultimately may require users to completely replace the central vac unit rather than just a small part. Troubleshooting issues with your central vac, performing routine maintenance such as replacing bags and filters and contacting a pro for more serious concerns is all part of responsible central vacuum ownership.

Repair or Replace Central Vacuum

Of course, as central vacuum units age, there will come a point at which owners have no choice but to replace their units entirely. The good news is that replacing the main unit isn’t as expensive as the initial installation because the foundation for the vacuum, including pipes and inlets, is already present. In general, new central vac units usually cost anywhere from $300 to $2,000, depending on their size, power and features.

Repair or Replace Central Vacuum

DIY Central Vacuum Repair

Trying to repair your central vacuum unit or any of its component parts can be incredibly dangerous and costly. Not only is there a lot of electrical work associated with central vacuum cleaners, but the location of the pipes behind walls also makes them hard to access without proper tools or breaking down the walls completely, leading to more work and greater expenses to repair the drywall. Furthermore, attempting DIY repair on any component of the central vac unit itself may void the manufacturer's warranty or any service contracts or agreements you have with the original installer.

However, there are a few minor repairs and maintenance projects that owners can undertake themselves. This includes replacing the central unit's filter — which should happen every 6 to 12 months — emptying and/or replacing its bag or canister and resetting the main fuse to the vacuum in the event of a power surge.

Find A Pro

Any electrical, mechanical or more complicated issue with a central vacuum system is best left to HVAC and central vacuum pros who can easily and effectively fix the issue without causing further damage to your home or central vacuum. Head on over to our free HVAC lead generator now and get in touch with qualified professionals in your area to help with all your central vacuum repair needs.

Last updated on Sep 6, 2016

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