Built in vacuums are great. They have many advantages over tradition vacuums, in that they are more powerful, require emptying less often, deliver dust AWAY from the main living areas, and the hose is light and easy to use on stairs and in tight corners.
There are some dis-advantages too. Because they need emptying less frequently, they often don’t get emptied at all! And because they are more powerful, some people try to suck up everything from pine cones to toys to small family pets. And that long hose? All it takes is an errant piece of stalk from a Wisk broom to start clogging everything up. These problems often create another big disadvantage, which is when the vacuum does get blocked up, there is often no easy way to clean out the system.
The first task is to determine if the blockage is in the main vacuum canister itself, in the PVC piping, or in the hose or attachment. The first thing to check is the main vacuum canister, usually located in the basement, garage, or utility room. Is the bag full? Empty it to be sure and get the maximum suction. Is the vacuum portion of the unit sealed tight? Are there evident blocks in the PVC pipe that lead into the canister?
Try turning the vacuum on with the manual switch at the canister, and then open the closest hose receptacle to the main unit. If there is strong suction, try plugging in the attachment hose. If there is no suction on the hose, then the hose itself is where your blockage can be found.
Usually, by plugging in the hose, and going down the length of the hose, bending and jiggling it, one will dislodge the debris that is caught. Be sure the hose is plugged in, and the vacuum is on, so the debris will be sucked out as you dislodge it. If this does not work, get a broom handle (or similar thick piece of round wood) and insert it in one end of the hose. Pull the hose together over the stick, then pull it off the other end. Continue doing this to push the stick through the hose.
If your hose is clear and the blockage is not on the first hose receptacle, check each receptacle further away or on the levels above to try to determine where the blockage is. Once you determine where the block is, use a residential size plumbing snake or an electricians fish wire to poke the debris in the PVC piping. Turn on the vacuum unit using the manual ON/OFF switch on the unit – or plug the hose into another outlet to turn the vacuum on.. The suction of the vacuum will help pull away the debris as you poke the blockage. If this is not successful, and if you.have a crawl space, it will make access to most of your system very easy. You will find that the PVC pipe should NOT have been glued together, which usually makes for easy disassembly, however runs up interior walls to higher floors will still be inaccessible.
If the blockage is not in the PVC piping, the hose, or in the canister unit, you will need to contact the manufacturer or distributor to have a technician check out your system.