Your central vacuum is a work-horse. You hardly have to think about it until that bucket is full and you send your kids out to empty it three or four times a year. And one of the best things about the units we have been installing for nearly forty years is the little need for maintenance. The unit will just keep on sucking, year after year, as long as you’re not vacuuming Christmas tree needles, hot ashes or soda (but that’s another story). My Beam vacuum is over 25 years old, and it’s as powerful as ever!
Well, there is one service we would recommend once your unit is 10 or 15 years old: replace the brushes in the motor.
The brushes are a set of two spring-loaded pieces of carbon that rest along the armature of the motor and provide the electricity for the motor to run. As the years go by and you run your central vacuum, the brushes begin to wear down. If you’re running your vacuum an hour or two per week, you can expect the brushes to last about ten years.
As they wear down, the springs gently press the carbon along the armature until the carbon runs low. At this point, you run a serious risk of damaging the motor as electric sparks cause grooves and pitting in the armature. You can expect to spend $65 or $75 for replacement brushes and the labor to replace them…or over $200 for a new motor.
A set of worn out brushes, next to the brand-new replacements. Let’s keep that motor runnin’!