Although it is very rare, pipe blockage can happen in ducted vacuum systems. You notice that the machine is partially blocked when the suction level has dropped by more than 30%. What can you do when this happen? Can you do it yourself to clear the blockage ? And who do you call to fix the problem if you are not able to do it yourself.
In most cases, clearing pipe blockage is quite easy, and most blockage happened in the first bend which is probably only a couple meters away from the wall inlet. You can tell this if only one inlet is blocked and all the rest are fine. This type of blockage is quite easy to fix, and you most likely can do it yourself. There are a couple methods that you can try to clear this blockage, ie. by reversing the suction, using a plumbing snake or a combination of these two methods.
1. Reversing The Suction
When I say reversing the suction, some people think that there is a button on the unit that you can just press to do this. However this is not the case, because ducted vacuum motor is only designed to suck the air in one direction. Some people might try to use the exhaust air to push the air in the reverse direction, however this is not recommended, because you may overheat the motor .
Ideally you will need another vacuum cleaner to reverse (suck back) the blockages, preferably a strong portable vacuum cleaner. You can also use your built-in ducted vacuum machine to do it, but you will need to take your machine off the wall and bring it close to to inlet, which requires quite an effort to do so. Plus you will need to get the right connection to plug in the hose into the machine.
There are a couple important things to do before you start the unblocking process. First: turn OFF your built-in vacuum cleaner, and second: remove the dust collector from the unit. If you forget to do this, reversing the suction will suck all the dust back into the pipe, which will be catastrophic.
Once you did all that, you can plug your portable vacuum cleaner into the wall inlet and suck back the air. It may take a few minutes for the blockage to clear, and you may also need to create pull and stop actions (blocking and unblocking the air movement) to move the stuff through the pipework, ie. by quickly plugging and unplugging the hose from the wall, or by covering and uncovering the air intake with your palm at the end of the pipework. Usually you will hear rattling noise when the stuff pass through followed by steady stream of air flow and noise level which indicates that you have successfully unblocked the pipe. You can also tell that the blockage is clear from how hard it is to pull the hose from the wall. If it is still quite hard to pull it, it means that the blockage has not clear.
2. Using The Plumbing Snake
Sometimes pipe that has a severe blockage can't be unblocked using reverse suction, you will need a plumbing snake to loosen up the blockage. You can get this tool from any plumbing shop, it is usually used by plumbers to unblock the drain. Insert the plumbing snake into the blocked inlet, rotate the spiral cable as you make you way into the pipework, especially when it hit an elbow or the blocked area. Once loosen, you can suck the debris out using your portable machine. You may need to insert the plumbing snake again and repeat this process a few times to get your ducted vacuum pipe fully unblocked.
Should the blockage persist, you can call our service department on 03 9890 1097, and we will clear the blockage for you.