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How much does a central vaccuum system cost?

On average nationwide, it costs between $1,200 - $4,200 to install a central vacuum system. The total price will depend on whether you're installing a new one or retrofitting an old system, the type of system you choose, and whether you need any additional inlets or electrical work.

Whether you plan to install a central vacuum system while building a new home or office, or want one in an existing space, it's not exactly a do-it-yourself kind of project. For this, it's helpful to hire a professional to install a central vacuum. Before you do, get an estimate on how much the unit and labor costs will be with this breakdown.

What's in this cost guide?

What are the benefits of installing a central vacuum system?

Central vacuum cleaners, also known as built-in or ducted vacuum cleaners, make vacuuming a home, business, or commercial space more efficient and help improve the overall air quality.

A central vacuum power unit can be installed in an attic or basement as a built-in appliance. Piping runs from the central vacuum to inlet ports installed in the walls. Vacuum hoses can be either retractable ones that store in the wall or attachments that hook at the inlet ports for vacuuming as needed. Dust and debris are efficiently pulled out of the house or office space, through the pipes and into the unit.

Contractors can install a central vacuum system during new construction or retrofit an existing space with the appliance.

What impacts the cost of installing a central vacuum system?

Several factors impact the installation cost of a central vacuum system. The biggest factor is whether or not you're adding a vacuum unit to a new home or an existing one, but the system type and other features, like additional inlets, can also bring your overall price up or down.

New installation or retrofit

Installing a central vacuum system while constructing a new home will be less than retrofitting one into an established house. In new construction, you won't have to get behind existing walls to set the vacuum pipes and electrical wiring. With an existing home, additional work is required to do this.

Here are typical central vacuum installation costs for 1,800- to 3,000-square-foot homes:

Project description Cost to install in a new home Cost to retrofit an existing home
Central vacuum installation with separate hose attachment at four inlet ports; includes labor costs $1,200–$2,800 $1,500–$3,100
Central vacuum installation with retractable hose stored in the walls, two inlets, and all labor costs $2,400–$3,900 $2,700–$4,200

It is also possible to install a mix of retractable and traditional attached hoses, especially in multistory homes.

Central vacuum system type

Complete central vacuum kits, including the central unit, brushes, inlet valves, hoses, etc. range from $400 to $1,500 if you purchase it from a supplier. This does not include installation.

Motor type, air watts, filtering options, and brand name all affect the cost of a central vacuum unit. Electrolux, a Swedish appliance brand, is one of the most popular central vac brands. The more expensive the unit, the more costly the overall installation will be.

The type of system and level of power your space needs will depend on your home's square footage as well as the amount and kind of traffic it sees. Pet hair, kid mess, and dust factor can require a more powerful system to keep your air quality high. To determine the suction strength needed, double the square footage of the home and select a central power unit rated for that amount of space.

Automatic dustpans

Expect to pay $250–$500 for an automatic dustpan, or a suction-floor pan that sucks away dirt upon activation. This add-on feature is not included in every vacuum, so expect to pay a little extra to include it in your home.

Extra inlets

In general, the more vacuum inlet ports you install, the greater the overall cost. Adding more vacuum inlets can increase the labor and materials required.

Higher costs are especially likely in homes being retrofitted because the walls will have to be cut open for the port insertion and electrical wiring to be run to each location.

Keep in mind that more inlets (places to attach a hose) are not always better because the more inlets diminish the vacuum's suction power. Fewer inlets with longer hoses to reach into multiple rooms may be a better way to go.

Additional electrical work

Some installation companies have licensed electricians on staff and include electrical work in their overall price. If not, a professional electrician will need to come in separately to safely install the wiring for the system.

Each vacuum inlet needs to be wired with a minimum 110 volt to trigger the suction when needed. The total cost for central vacuum electrical work depends on the number of inlets that need to be wired and the square footage of the house.

How much will additional electrical work for your central vacuum cost? Here are two examples of electrical costs in addition to the vacuum price and installation:

  • One inlet port installed in an existing, single-story home through a wall opposite the new vacuum unit: $300, including electrical parts and labor
  • Six inlet ports wired back to the central breaker in a new construction home of 6,800 square feet: $1,300, including electrical parts and labor.

How to hire a pro to install your vacuum system

Adding a central vac to your home isn't a do-it-yourself project, so you'll want an experienced professional to help. Before you hire a contractor to install your central vacuum:

  • Ask for a free quote. This should include a breakdown of everything the quote includes, such as the price of the central vacuum, installation, additional electrical work, and potential add-ons.
  • Discuss what setup is right for you. They'll be able to help you figure out everything from how many vacuum inlets you need, to what system to select: be it a hide-a-hose or some other popular system on the market.
  • Read reviews. This isn't a project you'd want to re-do, so make sure to read reviews from others who have hired the contractors you're considering.

If you're ready to kick off installation of your vacuum, find an experienced contractor near you on Thumbtack.

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