A very common central vacuum repair is the replacement of the power unit’s motor. In some cases, the vacuum motor may begin to lose suction over time as the unit ages. In other instances, dirt or debris has managed to enter the motor chamber and caused the unit to fail suddenly. Whatever the situation, replacing a central vacuum motor is both straightforward and easily handled without a professional (as long as you don’t mind getting dirty.)
Replacing Your Central Vacuum Motor – Step 1
The first step may surprise you, but it’s important to start here. The first thing you must address before replacing your central vacuum power unit is whether or not it’s worth it. There are several key questions you should ask before starting down the road of a central vacuum motor replacement.
Is It Worth Replacing A Central Vacuum Motor?
1) How dirty are you willing to get?
Yes, replacing your central vacuum motor is a true DIY project. But it’s important to mention that it will be a dirty job. To access your existing motor and replace it with a new one, you’ll need to get into the inner workings of the power unit. This will be slightly gross. Dirt, dust, and God knows what else will have accumulated within the motor chamber over the life of the power unit. In honesty, this is a really good time to clean it all out. But this may be more than you bargained for, so it’s worth mentioning up front.
2) What about a warranty?
If you’re replacing your central vacuum motor, odds are your warranty – if you had one – has already expired. So it’s important to ask yourself just how much time, money, and energy you’re willing to put into a power unit that is no longer under any kind of coverage. Will you be changing this motor only to have something else break next month? New power units can come with warranties between 5-10 years. If you’re the kind of person who wants to play the long odds and not opt for the short fix, simply buying a new power unit would be the best call.
3) Are you ready to enter the 21st century of central vacuums?
If you’re replacing the motor in a dated power unit, you really NEED to shop around first because central vacuum systems have developed right alongside the rest of the electronics world. For example, new Electrolux models feature an LED screen and an internal computer system that monitors the power unit’s efficiency.
Perhaps most notable in the realm of central vacuum cleaners is the addition of True Cyclonic Filtration. True Cyclonc was a real game-changer because it brought us near-perfect suction. No loss of suction and zero exhausted particles (when installed properly to the exterior.) If your current unit is bagged or filtered, you’d really be blowing an opportunity for a healthier home by not researching an updated power unit first.
4) Do you wish you were more Green?
Thanks to greater importance being placed on energy efficiency and green initiatives, new central vacuum power units can save you money and help you be environmentally conscious. Most new models will run better while using less electricity than your dated unit. Less electricity use = more money in your pocket.
5) Do you need more suction?
(shown to actual scale)
It’s true that updating your unit’s motor will give it a fresh boost of power. However, your existing central vacuum will have limits, even with a new motor. If the system you currently have provides disapointing suction, why install a $200 motor in it? It’s time to buy a more powerful unit. When in doubt, “the more power, the better.”
Just take a look at the images above. If you’re replacing your NuTone unit with a motor half the size of one of the newer cyclonic models, doesn’t that have you second guessing what you’re missing out on?
6) Is it a wise investment?
Replacing your central vacuum motor is a DIY project, so you may feel like it’s a “free” option. However, many customers are surprised to learn the expense of a new motor. New central vacuum motors cost between $100 – $300. Often changing your motor requires changing the filter or carbon brush, adding an additional $100. You could spend $400 replacing the motor on your old, dated central vacuum! In this case, the choice is really a no-brainer. Take, for example, this Imperium CV260: It features a three-year warranty, 540 Air Watts, at an incredibly efficient 10.1 Amps. All this for around $300! You really need to run the numbers before installing a new motor. The math usually doesn’t work.
7) What’s the condition of the rest of your system?
When I asked our support team what was the #1 reason people opted to replace their central vacuum power unit instead of the motor, they said it was the added expense of updating tools and accessories. Almost always, if the motor has gone bad, the floor tools and cleaning accessories are equally dated. When a customer begins to add up the costs of also replacing the carpet powerhead, hose, or accessory kit, it almost ALWAYS makes sense to simply buy a new central vacuum kit. Buying as a kit saves you money, and can be significantly less money than buying a replacement motor and mix-matched tools.
Replacing Your Central Vacuum Motor – Step 2
If you still decide to replace your central vacuum motor, your first step is to find the correct replacement motor. This is incredibly easy using this Central Vacuum Motor Finder tool. You simply choose your central vacuum power unit brand and model from the drop-down menus and you’re automatically taken to the correct replacement motor page for your vacuum.
Replacing Your Central Vacuum Motor – Step 3
Once you’ve found, ordered, and received your central vacuum power unit replacement motor, the real work begins! While central vacuum motors differ in some ways, replacing them is pretty uniform across brands and models.
- Remove the lid or access door – Most units have two or three screws that hold the lid or door in place. Simply unscrew the lid from the power unit body and remove it. Some models will feature springs, filters, or foam around the motor. Remove those items too. If helpful, take a photo to help remember how it was assembled.
- Detach the existing motor – Most motors feature three or four wires attached to the power unit’s relay. We suggest our novice DIY customers use their phone to take a picture of the existing wiring before disconnecting. Then, when it comes time to connect the new motor, you can easily replicate the original.
- Connect the new motor – It’s as simple as dropping the new motor in and duplicating the same wiring. Attach the ground wire and additional wires as before.
- Replace any padding and screw on the lid/door – Connect any springs and replace any foam or filters as they were. Finally, screw the lid back into place…and you’re done!
Check out this video demonstrating how to replace your central vacuum motor: