25 Essential Tools You Need to Install Central Vac

Central vacuum has found a niche with systems integrators. Here are 25 tools you need to cover complete CVAC installation, from beginning to end.


Because there's low-voltage wiring that needs to be connected to it, central vacuum system installation has found a niche with systems integrators.

In a nutshell, central vacuum is a power unit, sometimes called the “can,” that creates the suction for the system. It is routinely placed in the garage, basement or utility room where other water or HVAC equipment is housed. 

Next is the hose and attachment set. That is typically 30 feet in length. There are longer sets available. A 30-foot hose in an arc from the outlet will cover 600-700 feet of living space. The outlets are then strategically located throughout the rest of the home. 

There is nothing out of the ordinary tool-wise that integrators need to carry to install CVAC. Each of these tools are typically going to be carried by a custom electronics technician, except perhaps a PVC pipe cutter, but if technicians are running wire in conduit, they will already carry that tool.  

  • ½-inch right angle drill  
  • Reciprocating saw  
  • 2¼-inch self-feeding wood boring bit  
  • 4-inch-long shank    
  • 12- to 18-inch bit extension, ½-inch shank    
  • 2- to 100-foot extension cords, heavy duty  
  • Ladders, 6- and 8-foot  
  • Hammer  
  • Wire cutter/stripper  
  • Tubing cutter; special CVAC pipe cutter  
  • Screwdrivers
  • 33-foot tape measure  
  • Cordless drill    
  • Light for attic and crawlspace installation  
  • Torpedo level  
  • Small flashlight  
  • Pencil  
  • Wire nuts; small blue  
  • PVC glue  
  • 8-inch wire ties  
  • 1-inch roofing nails or screws  
  • ¾-inch No. 8 screws  
  • ¾-inch wire staples  
  • Fine-tooth wood blade (optional)  
  • Wood chisel, ¾ inch (optional)

For retrofit installs, integrators might have to use 9/16-inch bit for easier installation. Do not use hacksaws to cut tubing, but use the tubing cutter specified.

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About the Author

Lisa Montgomery:

Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in adding electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home.

Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books.


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