Vacuum to Wet-Vac





Introduction: Vacuum to Wet-Vac

I came up with this when I was house sitting for my parents and the basement started to flood. The original was made with a 5 gallon bucket. I have made two since and found that culligan style water jugs work better. I don't have one currently constructed, I am bored at work and piece this together with MS Paint. hehehe. But you should get the basic idea. This is my first Instructable, I've been reading instructables everyday, and I've been dying to post something. Hope this helps some of you out.

I use this same concept to piggy back 3 shop vacs together to get more suction once. My boss brought his boat out of the water this year with-out pumping out the septic tank. Of course we didn't want to ruin a shop-vac bu pumping sh** into it, and we were told that one shop vac didn't have enough pull. It worked great unfortunately we didn't get any pictures. Happy Sucking!!

Step 1: Materials

The marterials you need include:

1) Vacuum with a hose
2) 5 gallon water jug (Can be a bucket, but this requires more cutting and sealing)
3) Utility Knife (or equivilent)
4) Length of hose, or vacuum tubing
5) Duct Tape

Step 2: Prep

Use your knife to cut a hole in the side of the jug for the hose to be attached to. Make this as close to the outside diameter of the hose as possible. Don't make it too close to the hole that the vacuum will be sucking through, or you will get water in your vacuum, give it at least 6 inches (15-16cm). Put 2-3 wraps of duct tape around the end of the hose so that it fits snugly and plug it into the hole. Now seal this joint the best that you can with more duct tape.

Step 3: Final

Give your vacuum hose enough wraps of duct tape to fit tightly into the main spout of the jug. Plug it into the spout, again, seal this joint with more tape.

That's It start sucking down some water.



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    24 Discussions

    I love this site. I was looking for a way to rig my own wet filter on my shopvac. Now I'll just do something like this. Thanks!!

    I followed this exactly and it works awesome. I have a shop-vac but don't like how I have to take the thing apart, and then let everything dry out for a few days afterwards.

    This is so nice, easy, quick and works with our more powerful vacuum to clean up spills and stains.

    Thanks for the instructable!

    2 replies

    You use the household vacuum cleaner and let your spouse discover that it's saturated with water and rusting inside? Hahaha!

    Regardless of whether the vacuum cleaner is a household unit or a shop vacuum, they need to be disassembled and dried out when used as a wet vac.

    Why use the "good one"? People throw away vacuums all the time, for a broken belt, or when they find out how much the filters cost. Pet owners DESTROY vacuums and throw them away even when the motors are still good. You can source these motors for Instructables projects, and you can clean out the cat-dander vacuums enough to serve as power-heads for a shop vac like this.

    That's pretty cool. If you find an older vacuum with the detachable hose and crevice tool, you could cut down the crevice tool (or wand extension) and epoxy it to a water jug, so that you could instantly connect or disconnect the vacuum hose.

    You might warn people to use a GFCI protected outlet for this, and make sure that the user has a way to shut off the vacuum or disconnect hose before the jug overfills.

    1 reply

    You can use a 25 or 30 litre home brew or chemical drum with the tap fitted for easy empty. But very smart idea in the first place simple, modifiable and obviously workable. The bigger or stronger the vac power the bigger your water catcher can be. For example a 1.5 hp vac motor can handle a 40 litre tank.

    We needed a solution to clean the dirt out of our pond and this works like a bomb BUT the jug fills up too quickly - HELP! Do you think it would work to drill a small hole at the bottom and hook up a hose through which the water could drain?

    2 replies

    probably not, since there will be a vacuum pulling in all directions, it would then just leak air pressure, taking away from your suction.  I would suggest some kind of plug, which you could turn off the vacuum, pull the plug, and 2 minutes later your ready to go again.

    I might use this but in reverse to shoot water, I have got one of those bubble mats(reversed vacuum cleaner)

    We use the same setup with a metal container for cleaning out the woodbuning heater in the livingroom. No more messy stuff al over the place :)

    We use that princple in my lab all the time. If you want to have larger capacity or make sure you never accidentally suck in water into your vacuum cleaner you can hook the water bottles in series. caveat: This will only work wellif your seals are tight otherwise you are going to loose suction...and that would suck..or not;) your friendly neighborhood Microbiologist


    11 years ago

    Nothing wrong to point out-The idea's PERFECT!

    Simplicity's allways the best choice.

    A very good alternative to a Water jug, in this and other Projects, is the Jerrycan type 20 Liters plus Detergent Bottles the Restaurants and Hotels, etc., use.

    They get rid of those frequently, and these suckers have a screw-on lid, just like Jerrycans!
    So go bother your local Hotel Restaurant, get a lot of these beauties for free...
    And the guys will THANK you for it!


    11 years ago

    The same concept is used to snag the heavier wood chips and metal bits before they damage the impeller in a shop dust-collection system. It works great! I've used a similar setup to make a prefilter for my friend's pool vacuum. The cover failed in the spring and he ended up with gobs of leaf debris on the bottom of the pool, which was clogging his filter so fast he could only run it a few minutes between cleanings, each of which caused the pump to lose its prime, and it was going to take forever to clean the pool. So we rigged some chicken wire and window screen into the middle of a 5-gallon bucket with some fittings cut into the top, and effectively quintupled the filter area. It'd run a lot longer before clogging, and opening the bucket to dump the gunk could be done without depriming the pump, Very handy technique! You can accomplish some of Dan's heavy-solids removal without chopping two holes in your container: Put a "combination tee/wye" fitting on top of the water jug, so that lighter material passes straight over but heavier stuff falls in. It's not as good as the two-hole route but you can use unmodified jugs for it, and if you set up several in series, you can even remove one for emptying (just cover its port) without shutting down the vacuum.

    1 reply

    Better yet, get a PVC T fitting that fits snugly over the bottle top, and a pipe that fits loosely into the neck. Get an adapter for the two sizes of pipe, cut/sand out the inner rim so that the smaller pipe can go straight through the T junction into the bottle. Attach the vacuum to the open T fitting, and the hose to the smaller pipe. (Good luck getting all those fittings to work). That will accomplish both not needing to modify the bottles and safely protecting the vacuum from pretty much everything.