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Central Vacuum Installation Cost

Central Vacuum Installation Cost

National average
$2,500
(2,000-square-foot retrofit home with filtered system)
Low: $1,500

(2,000-square-foot new construction home with filtered system)

High: $3,500

(2,000-square-foot retrofit home with retractable hoses and cyclone system)

Cost to install a central vacuum system varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from House Cleaning Services in your city.

The average cost of installing a central vacuum system is $2,500.

In this guide

Pros and cons
Cyclonic vs filtered
Power brush
Style
Surface
Installation
Labor
Maintenance
Portable vs central vacuum
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to install a central vacuum system?

Central or whole house vacuums are a convenient and effective way of cleaning your home. Central vacuums are large units, typically located in a basement or garage, that have a system of in-wall pipes. To use the system, simply plug your hose into one of the outlets, automatically turning on the suction.

They can be installed in new or existing homes, and a typical retrofit installation in a 2,000-square-foot home costs around $2,500 in total.

Pros and cons

Central vacuum systems have a lot of advantages for homeowners. In order to have a single motor drive the entire system, it must be extremely large and powerful, which means that you have better suction and cleaning power. And because this large motor must be kept in the basement or garage, using the system tends to be very quiet indoors. Due to the larger amounts of suction and where the motor is kept, it also tends to reduce the amount of allergens in the air, improving air quality. The hose itself is fairly lightweight and easier to maneuver than a typical vacuum.

However, the system is expensive, particularly when retrofitting it into an existing home. Because the suction is so extreme, it may suck up things not intended to fit in the hose, which can cause blockages and damage. Maintenance for the system can sometimes be difficult and expensive as well, depending on the type of motor.

Cyclonic vs filtered

There are essentially two central vacuum motors to consider - cyclonic and filtered. Cyclonic motors are filterless and bagless and use powerful suction to spin the debris in a cyclone, dropping the particles down into a container. There are no filters to change, but the dust needs to go somewhere. Some are designed to vent outside, but others may collect the dust inside, where it can coat the motor and reduce suction. For this reason, cyclonic motors typically need more maintenance and cleaning.

Filtered motors may be bagged or bagless and use a combination of paper and cloth filters to reduce the amount of dust. This keeps the motor clean but means that you need to stay on top of filter changes and purchase more filters over time. If you use a bagged option, you also need to empty the bag every 6 months and purchase new bags, costing about $10 per year. Filters range in cost from $10 to $50 and vary depending on the size of the unit.

Power brush

The brush at the end of your vacuum hose also has two options. It can be powered by suction alone or by electricity. Suction brushes have more flexibility regarding where you can install the outlet but can lose power if the suction becomes lowered due to needed maintenance, meaning the brush will not turn as quickly. Electric-powered brushes plug into a nearby outlet via a “pig tail.” These brushes cost more and use more electricity, but it provides consistent power and use. An electric-powered brush may have better results on some surfaces than a suction-powered brush but costs about $200 more.

Style

There are two hose styles to consider when purchasing your central vacuum. The first style has a detachable hose where you take the hose with you into each room and plug it into the outlet. The second style has a retractable hose. In this case, you open the outlet and pull out the hose, which retracts back into the wall when not in use.

Most systems use the standard hose, which is less expensive and easier to replace if damaged. A retractable system costs about $1,000 more on average but has the benefit of not needing to pull the hose with you or find a place to store it when not in use.

Surface

Just like a regular vacuum cleaner, a central vacuum can be used to clean different surfaces in and around your home. This includes carpeting, hardwood, tile, upholstery, curtains, blinds, and even ceiling fans. For this reason, you need attachments to clean the different surfaces, just as you would with a standard vacuum cleaner. Most systems come with attachments included. Switch them out when you change surfaces for the best results.

Installation

Installation of a central vacuum sounds complicated but is actually fairly simple. Install the motor and collection system in a basement or garage. From there, run PVC pipes to each outlet in the system. Because the hose reaches about 30 to 35 feet, you need to place the various outlets so that there is a slight overlap in areas.

This process is easiest in new construction before the walls are framed. However, in a retrofit, the pipes are usually run into the attic or through closets, then dropped down through the walls to the outlet, so the only hole cut in the wall is at the outlet. The biggest issue is simply making sure there are no existing pipes or wires where the vacuum pipe needs to be. The entire process takes 1 to 2 days to complete, depending on the size of the home and whether this is new construction or a retrofit.

Labor

Labor costs vary depending on the system. For new construction of a 2,000-square-foot home using a filtered system, expect the labor portion to be between $200 and $500 of the $2,500 total. For a retrofit, the labor costs usually double to between $400 and $1,000 for the same project, making the total closer to $3,000. These costs vary depending on the size of your home, how many outlets you need, and the layout of the walls.

Maintenance

Central vacuums are fairly low-maintenance, requiring service about once every 6 months on average. For filtered vacuums, you need to change a paper filter every 6 months and a cloth filter every 6 years. For cyclonic vacuums, have them cleaned annually. If you notice a loss of suction, you may also want to have them periodically serviced. Otherwise, the units are fairly low-maintenance and work reliably.

Portable vs central vacuum

Most people are familiar with portable vacuums, which you carry or move from room to room with you. They are small, loud, and need to be emptied after each use. However, they are fairly inexpensive and can be used in any home.

Central vacuums are much larger and quiet when operated. They only need to be emptied every six months or so, and the hose is all that needs to travel from room to room, so they tend to be lighter. They also have greater suction power that is 3 to 5 times better than a portable and have a much longer life span. Because central vacuums are located far away from the room you are vacuuming, they also create better air quality. This is because a portable vacuum expends some dust and finer particles back into the air as it pulls the debris through. In some cases, they may also make a home more attractive at the time of resale. However, they cost significantly more than a portable vacuum and must be properly installed inside the home.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Longer hose

The average hose for a central vacuum is around 30 feet, although some brands carry 35-foot hoses. Longer hoses exist and cost around $100 each.

Cabinets to store hoses

If you opt for a standard 30-foot hose instead of the retractable option, you need a place to store it when not in use. Options include racks and cabinets that range in cost from $50 to $300 on average.

Extra large collection units

The size of your vacuum is directly tied to the size of your home. It is usual to purchase a vacuum that covers twice the total square feet of your home for the best results. However, you can purchase units that also have extra-large collection units, which cost roughly $500 more on average.

Vacpan kick sweeps

Some central vacuums have an attachment that lets you eliminate the need for a dust pan, allowing you to simply vacuum up what your broom collects. These attachments cost around $100 on average.

Pet grooming brushes and combs

Some vacuums have a set of attachments for grooming your pets. These start at around $50 and go up, depending on the set you choose.

Additional considerations and costs

  • The number of outlets you need to install in your home varies depending on the layout, size of the home, number of floors, and the reach of the hose. Most people find they need at least 4 outlets to be effective, but homes with many rooms and poor layouts need more.
  • Adding a central vacuum to a retrofit situation requires more work and, therefore, costs more than installing it in new construction.
  • Adding a central vacuum to a home gives you points for LEED certification, a Health House certification, or the National Green Building Standard. Check your local building ordinances for more info.
  • Never use your central vacuum to clean toxic materials such as asbestos 1. These materials must be cleaned using specialized equipment and filters.
  • A good-quality central vacuum is designed to last for decades with only regular maintenance and the replacement of brushes once per decade.
  • Some central vacuum designs increase the resale value of a home by making the property more attractive to buyers. However, the relative low cost of the system will not dramatically increase the resale cost of the home.

FAQ

  • Does a central vacuum add value to a home?

Central vacuums do not add a significant dollar amount to a home’s value, but they increase its salability by making it more attractive to buyers.

  • How long does a central vacuum last?

When well-maintained, a central vacuum can last indefinitely. 

  • How much does a ducted vacuum system cost?

Costs range from about $1,200 to $3,000 depending on system type, installation, and size. ​

  • How does a ducted vacuum work?

A large vacuum is installed in the basement or garage and connected via PVC pipes to strategically placed outlets. Plugging the hose into an outlet activates the vacuum, which begins to provide suction through the pipes to the hose.​

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Asbestos: A group of fire-resistant silicate minerals found in construction materials including paint, particularly in older homes. When the asbestos deteriorates, particles can become airborne and this is a serious health hazard.

Cost to install a central vacuum system varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Central vacuum cleaner with a hose plugged into an outlet and next to a flowery carpet

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Arlington, TX
+6%
Athens, GA
-9%
Avondale, AZ
-2%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Cary, NC
-5%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Conroe, TX
+21%
Denver, CO
+1%
Eugene, OR
-11%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fremont, CA
+35%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Galveston, TX
+38%
Greensboro, NC
-9%
Gresham, OR
+8%
Haymarket, VA
-9%
Hemet, CA
-6%
Henderson, NV
+10%
Hicksville, NY
+31%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Knoxville, TN
+10%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lewisville, TX
+17%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Meridian, ID
-11%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Moreno Valley, CA
-6%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Palm Coast, FL
-32%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Portland, OR
+11%
Richardson, TX
+11%
Roanoke, VA
-18%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
Salt Lake City, UT
-6%
San Antonio, TX
-4%
Scottsdale, AZ
-1%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Stilwell, KS
+9%
Tampa, FL
-2%
Trenton, NJ
+28%
Tucson, AZ
-19%
Vancouver, WA
-12%
Labor cost in your zip code
Last modified:   
Methodology and sources