Central vac exhausting in garage. Yay or Nay?

For best air quality central vac manufacturers recommend that it vent to the outside. I don’t know that there is a regulation forbidding it being in the garage since it won’t be exhausting harmful fumes. I’d write it up as not being the best place for it and explain that it would be better if it vented to the outside. You could probably find documentation to support this from the manufacturer. Maybe an online user’s manual.


What is above the garage? That penetration for suction line should be fire blocked.

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Thanks. thats correct. we noted that already.

I rarely see central vacuums, but when I do, they’re always in the garage.

no problem with the location. the concern is the vent. the vents are not outside. It seems acceptable when the central vac has some kind of filtration or air cleaning system but generally manufacturers seem to recommend venting to the outside.

The suction line needs fire seal and the exhaust needs to go to the exterior, especially if it is a cyclonic vacuum.

Would not surprise me if there are local restrictions from the AHJ/Municipality for discharging potentially hazardous airborn particulates to the exterior if not filtered to certain standards beyond the primary filtration in the unit itself.

Exhaust is not hazardous technically. It is the same indoor air being sucked in the first place. If there is technology to completely filter particulate from the suction air then exhaust is same clean air that was sucked in. Another school of thought is avoiding unnecessary depressurization of the home in well sealed envelopes.

It is not the same clean air.

A central vacuum cleaner (also known as built-in or ducted ) is a type of vacuum cleaner appliance, installed into a building as a semi-permanent fixture. Central vacuum systems are designed to remove dirt and debris from homes and buildings, sending dirt particles through tubing installed inside the walls to a collection container in a remote utility space.

With central vacuum systems that exhaust completely out of the home, no dust or allergens can be recirculated through the interior air, as is the case with a traditional vacuum.

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There was a caveat. I did mention if there is technology to filter particulate completely. the resulting air would be the same otherwise it isnt.

finally found an article saying it is fine to vent inside. It mentions improved filtration and cooler running motors.
" The newest and best way to exhaust your central vacuum is through an ActiVac II Exhaust Filter with advanced HEPA and charcoal filtration capabilities. No more breaking another hole through your building. The ActiVac II Exhaust filter installs in just minutes and is easy to maintain thus eliminating the problems mentioned above."

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Hi Michael
All vacuums should vent outside unless it is a mobile/HEPA unit. Particles left behind from dust mites and so on, are not good for the health. No to mention what ever is left in the vac from previous vacuuming. A BIG NAY for that one.
I.A.Q. Strategies

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I agree and that was why I posted so we could have a debate. While there seems to be a consensus it should be vented outside there seems to science and technology that has changed that is changing this notion.

While venting to the outside would seem to be the ideal situation, in reality, I’ve owned several homes with vacuum systems, none were vented to the outside. And the units were in the garage. The garage is also not living space, or typically not well sealed.

There must be a reason that these 11 Manufactures recommend venting to the outside.


For the best indoor air quality, Central Vacuum Stores recommends venting all central vacuum systems outside . … If you are choosing a central vacuum system, you need to remember that true cyclonic units require outside venting , so if this is not an option, you need to buy a bagged or filtered unit.

The garage is “outside” the living space.

Pay close attention to the mention of “bagged or filtered”. https://www.centralvacuumstores.com/t/central-vacuums-install-venting

That is why I put that last paragraph in.

I agree with Frank. I’ve installed many of those. Now they come with HEPA filters.