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Maintain you vacuum and it will last forever. . almost

For the most part Central Vacuum Systems are trouble free and last for years and years. The most common problems are really caused by improper use and lack of common maintenance. The single most important thing a homeowner can do is change the bag before it's over full.

Most central vacuum tanks have bags that hold between 6 and 8 gallons. In a normal house the bag will last 7 to 9 months. If you have pets you can expect to use more bags. As the bag fills the suction and air flow decreases as does the effectiveness of the system. Ideally the bag should be changed when it's about 80% full. If you wait to long you risk of the dirt and debris escaping from the bag and making its way into the electric motor. This will ruin the motor and it can cost hundreds of dollars to repair.

I have always told my customers that bags are cheap and motors are expensive. Change your bags often and your power unit will last almost for ever.

One last tip: After changing the bag, you must replace the pail on the bottom of the tank. Without the pail in place the system is not sealed and no vacuum will be created. 


Tales From The Field

This sections will cover the everyday service related problems that our customers have with their NuTone products.

NuTone radio intercom systems have been in production since the 1950's and typically are very long lasting and trouble free. The most common models for general service are the models made from 1984 through 1996. The models made during that time frame are most commonly the IM3003 and IM4006. These two models were a huge jump forward from the earlier models they replaced.

Since these models were available while a lot of new home construction was taking place, there are tons of them in homes today. Looking at them from an age point of view they range any where from 28 to 16 years old.

The IM3003 is a well built and simple design which has had very few problems over the years. Today the primary problem revolves around the age of the units themselves. All electronic components have a life span based on the total number of hours the unit has been in service. Commonly, the expected life span is 80-100 thousand hours, or right around 12 years.

As electronic components age, they don't work correctly and the circuits they are used in drift and begin to fail. Now, everyone tells me that “we hardly ever use the intercom system” this doesn't matter. As long as the electricity is turned on in your home, the intercom system is racking up hours. A lot of use will cause other parts, like switches and volume controls to wear out, but it does not cause the electronics to fail more quickly.

The most common problem with IM3003 master stations are failing or failed power supply or amplifier circuit boards. What the homeowner will notice is an increased Humm or Buzz at the that master station and from the remote speakers. As the failure increases, the Buzz will get louder and the Radio and Door Chime will stop working. An easy test is to check the FM radio Tuner Readout. If the numbers on the display look like they are counting up and down, instead of displaying a true radio station number, you have a failed power supply,

Fortunately this is a simple repair. By replaced a just a few parts in the master station your IM3003 will work like new again. Cleaning the controls on the remote stations will help eliminate intermittent operation. With just a little effort your system can work almost like new again.

Download a copy of the IM3003 Owners Manual