Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Central North Carolina
My central vacuum unit was saved from the dumpster when my next door neighbor did a major remodel. When I saw him headed for the dumpster with it I yelled "Hey, can I have that?" and he carried it over to my shop. He said "it doesn't work", and I replied "I'll fix it" which I did at the cost of $16 for a new control transformer. Over the next several days all of the piping, inlets, hose, and attachments showed up at my shop. Installation was quite a task, because it was 98 degrees every afternoon that I was installing it, and well over 100 in the shop attic. I spent about $70 for more pipe, fittings, and misc. to put it all together. So I'm using the original 25' hose that was originally used in the home with it. I plug it into an inlet port the same way and have hooks in my shop ceiling that I hang it from when the nozzle end needs to be some distance across the shop, so I don't have the hose causing a trip hazard. The same hose gets used outside for vacuuming the cars and trucks.
My first attempt to use it with a 5 gallon plastic bucket went well, until I partially plugged the end of the hose with a chip of wood. Almost immediately I heard a whump sound from the attic and discovered that my 5 gallon bucket had imploded. This was a bit surprising, because I had been using the Dust Deputy with my shop vac and never had this happen, until I moved the Dust Deputy to the central vac unit. I studied the problem for a while and realized that only the top 1/3 of the bucket had reinforcing ribs all the way around it and the lower 2/3 that had imploded did not. I decided to stack 3 of the same buckets together and this not only tripled the wall thickness, but also gave me reinforcing ribs the full length of the top bucket. My imploding bucket was solved, until my son brought me the 20 gallon metal barrel about 8 months later.
The plastic buckets that I was using came from the Firehouse Subs chain stores. They come to the stores full of dill pickles, and the chain sells the empty buckets for $2 each, which is then donated to the local fire and EMS Services, so a win-win. You get cheap and strong buckets with lids, and the fire and EMS services gets a donation. These buckets are supposed to be significantly stronger than the white, gray, or orange buckets and I think they are, but mostly because of the extra ribs around the upper 1/3 of the bucket. There is a slight down side to using them though. If your vacuum exhaust empties into your shop, it will smell like dill pickles for about the first month of use. I tried many ways to remove the pickle odor and nothing but time in use really worked. Some of the buckets that were left out in the bright Sun did improve faster than the other methods tried though. If you have imploding problems, stack them together like I did (this might help if using the other buckets too, but I didn't try it).
Last edited by CharleyL; 04-26-2019 at 05:18 PM.