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How to Unclog a Built-in Vacuum Cleaner

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Rhonda in California is dealing with a built-in vacuum cleaner that doesn’t quite suck so good. What’s going on?

    RHONDA: I’ve tried everything. I got my blower out to blow through the hole to try and unclog it. It’s not working. The house is fairly large. I’ve narrowed it down to the bottom downstairs where the actual unit is towards the unit. But to like snake it out or something, it’s just too windy when you first go through. I didn’t know if you had any tips how to unclog it.

    TOM: Do you have any clue as to where the clog is?

    RHONDA: It’s probably on the bottom floor about halfway through the house. The unit’s on like the west end so this is more towards the east end of the house.

    TOM: Hmm. Well, I would try to zone these central vac lines so you can attack them one at a time. The key here is that even though where the exhaust port is where the hole is on the wall, that’s not where you to insert the snake. You have to get in before that so you can push towards that hole. It’s probably going to be at a turn. Do you have any idea what actually is the obstruction? Did somebody like suck a toy into it or something like that?

    RHONDA: Probably. Probably. (all chuckle)

    TOM: Good chance, huh?

    RHONDA: Yeah, very good chance.

    TOM: You’ve got to actually get before the elbow and try to get it out there like with a snake or something like that. You’re not going to be able to do it from like the exit port where you actually hook up the vacuum. You follow me?

    RHONDA: Yeah, and the problem is to do it from the actual unit it’s so sharp corners.

    TOM: Right. My point is you can’t do it from the unit because, you see, that’s where you want it to come out. You’ve got to do it…

    RHONDA: Oh, I see. OK.

    TOM: … on the back side of that. You want to push towards the unit. You don’t want to go in because then you’re just going to make it tighter and tighter and tighter. So what you have to try to do is understand how each one of those lines goes through the house; try to isolate them as if they’re all separate zone, then start as far away from the unit and push toward it until you loosen the thing up.

    RHONDA: OK, I was going the opposite way.

    TOM: Yep. Yeah, you were going backwards.


    TOM: OK?

    RHONDA: Great. Thank you so much.

    TOM: Alright, good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    Good news, she has a built-in vacuum system. Bad news, she sucked a toy into it. (chuckling)

    LESLIE: Yeah, and even better news is one of her kids is going to be super happy to get whatever it is stuck in there back. (Tom laughs)

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