Like many people, you’ve owned a variety of vacuums throughout your life, including upright, stick and canister vacs. Since these are all portable vacuum cleaners, you have to go through the hassle of taking them out, unraveling the power cord and lifting them when necessary.
However, a different type of vacuum cleaner is changing the way people vacuum, and it’s called a central vacuum system.
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What Is a Central Vacuum System?
Unlike portable vacuums that you move from room to room, central vacuum systems are stationary and consist of the main vacuum unit, a hose, and multiple outlets.
Typically, the unit is installed in the home’s garage or basement. To vacuum your house, you simply connect the hose to an outlet and stretch the hose to the area you need to clean.
Best for the Garage: Bissell Garage Pro Wet/Dry Vacuum Complete Wall-Mounting System
From water to dirt, the Bissell Garage Pro can handle it all. This central vacuum system is designed to lift dry messes and wet spills.
It boasts a 12-amp motor that can suction stubborn debris, and the 32-foot-long hose gives you plenty of maneuverability. Plus, you have the option of turning the vacuum into a blower for leaf removal and other surface-clearing chores.
The tank on the Garage Pro is equipped with Bissell’s own clog-preventing helix system that consists of integrated ribs, which push debris to the bottom of the bagless canister.
Since it holds a maximum of 4 gallons, you won’t need to empty the tank frequently. Thanks to the tank’s translucent material and the full-water indicator, you’ll always know when the tank needs to be cleaned.
When you buy this wet-dry vacuum, you get seven attachments that include brushes, extension wands and more. The wall-mounting kit helps you save floor space in the garage, and the accessory bag has multiple pockets for storage as well as a handle for carrying or hanging.
How Do Central Vacuum Cleaners Work?
When people think of vacuum cleaners, a certain image pops into their minds. Many people think of large, noisy upright devices that require plenty of time and manual effort to clean floors effectively. For an easier way to keep living spaces clean, however, central vacuum systems are a great alternative to traditional floor cleaning appliances.
These systems are incredibly convenient and intuitive, as they allow you to remove debris and dirt from your floors with ease easily. Central Vacuum Systems can be installed into existing homes and new constructions alike, and include a whole host of benefits aside from just clean living spaces. These quiet and revolutionary devices can increase a home’s value and also act as a selling point to prospective buyers.
Read on to learn more about how central vacuum systems function and the benefits of adding them to your home.
Central vacuum cleaners are built-in, semi-permanent fixtures that – much like their traditional counterparts – remove unwanted dirt and debris from your home’s interiors. Inlet valves are subtle fixtures that are installed throughout the home and conveniently attach to hoses or other accessories that suction up dirt from interior rooms.
This dirt then travels through a series of tubes that run within the walls and is collected into a receptacle that is usually hidden away in a basement or utility room along with the permanent power unit.
Homeowners greatly benefit from having a central vacuum system installed within their living spaces. This built-in feature virtually eliminates the need to own one or more heavy, expensive upright vacuum cleaners.
Rather than lugging heavy appliances from room to room or up and down stairs, a centralized cleaning system allows homeowners to have a vacuum cleaner installed within the walls of each room. Only a versatile, lightweight hose is needed to rid each room of unwanted dust and dirt.
In addition to being incredibly convenient, there are many health benefits of opting for a central vacuum system rather than a traditional vacuum cleaner. Because the system’s exhaust is expelled outside of the home, there is no way that excess dust or allergen causing particles can be released back into your home’s living spaces. For households containing members with severe allergies or an extreme sensitivity to dust or airborne bacteria, eliminating this concern can prove invaluable.
Central vacuum systems have gained accolades from health organizations including the American Lung Association for their respiratory benefits. In addition, the National Association of Homebuilders recognizes the inclusion of a central cleaning system within their National Green Building Standards.
There are several important components present within any type of central vacuum system. A powerful motor and filter are contained within the unit’s power unit, which is typically installed within a basement or other utility area within the home.
This power unit ensures that the system maintains a powerful suction so that the user always receives a thorough and satisfactory clean when using the system. Attached to the power unit and filter are a series of PVC pipes, which travel throughout the walls and connect to the rooms within the home.
These pipes are attached to inlet valves, which are installed into each room, and transport dirt and debris to the power unit where it is properly filtered.
Within each room, a subtle inlet valve allows homeowners to utilize their central vacuum system as needed. Lightweight and flexible hoses attach to these inlets and allow you to direct suction to necessary places and areas within the room.
While these hoses are usually separate accessories that are stored elsewhere, special “Hide-A-Hose” units are also available, which retract into the inlets and eliminate the need to fetch hoses from storage.
No matter which hose system is installed, separate vacuum brushes and other cleaning accessories then attach to the end of the hose to provides you with sufficient cleaning. These brushes or attachments are very similar to the types of attachments that you find on a traditional vacuum cleaner. Both electric brushes and air-driven brushes are available.
Air-driven brushes rely on internal suction to rotate belts and brushes, while electric brushes utilize a separate, internal motor to spin brushes and bristles, allowing a maximum level of suction to focus on removing the debris. Specialized brushes are also available, which are designed specifically to clean upholstery, blinds, hard flooring and other unique surfaces.
Central vacuum systems utilize special filters and filtration systems to ensure that air is separated from dirt and debris after suction. How this is done can vary greatly between systems, making it important to choose a system with your preferred type. A centralized cleaning system that contains a cyclonic System utilizes cyclonic separation to capture 98% of dust within a receptacle and subsequently expels the rest through the vacuum’s exterior exhaust.
As the name suggests, filtered systems contain a removable filter which catches the dirt and debris. Bagged systems which send dirt into an attached bag for easy disposal are also available.
All of these different filtration systems have pros and cons that should be considered before deciding which one is the best fit for your home. While a cyclonic filtration system is the most effective and powerful, it also requires homeowners to manually empty the dust receptacle, which can be unfavorable for those who are extremely sensitive to dust.
Filtered systems and bagged systems are easier to clean. However, they require more frequent cleaning and maintenance for the central vacuum system to work at an effective level.
Central vacuum systems make cleaning your home easier than ever before. Rather than traditional vacuum cleaners that require lugging heavy appliances around your home, these convenient units essentially ensure every room has a vacuum cleaner installed within its walls.
Not only is it more convenient than the traditional methods, but these quiet and easy-to-use systems also remove dirt and debris from your floors and surfaces without any exhaust being sent back into the air you breathe. Although they require initial installation, the benefits of these convenient systems are countless.
Great Pick: Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Unit System
If you have a large home, suffer from allergies or simply want a central vacuum with all the bells and whistles, the Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum Unit System is for you.
Its 2-stage Ametek motor is mighty enough to generate 150 cubic feet per minute of airflow in homes as large as 12,000 square feet, and the motor is backed by a 10-year warranty.
To protect the high-quality motor inside of the vacuum unit, the casing is made of powder-coated steel and covered under warranty for 25 years. The 5-gallon bagless tank has a window on the side that allows you to monitor the dirt level, and it contains a reusable HEPA filter and a washable micron pre-filter to reduce dust emissions.
Prolux includes a bracket for wall mounting as well as a 30-foot hose, which is controlled by a fingertip dual-speed switch. For carpet vacuuming, you get an adjustable-height power nozzle that’s equipped with LED lights. You can also use the crevice nozzle and brush attachments for home and auto detailing.
What Are the Benefits of Owning a Central Vacuum System?
In terms of performance, there are many advantages over using a central vacuum system as opposed to a portable vacuum cleaner. Since central vacuums are not located in the same room where you’re vacuuming, you aren’t exposed to ear-damaging noise.
If you’re far enough away from the central unit, you may not hear any noise at all.
Central vacuum systems also produce more powerful suction because they have a larger, strong motor than those used for portable vacuums. Plus, they last years longer than their portable counterparts.
There is no heavy lifting or cumbersome maneuvering – The only thing you have to carry is a lightweight hose. As soon as you connect the hose to an outlet, a wire in the outlet powers on the main unit, so you don’t have to deal with buttons or switches.
Are Central Vacuums Safe for Asthma and Allergy Sufferers?
Dust and fine dirt are two major triggers of asthma and allergy symptoms. Many portable vacuums emit dust into the room.
Even vacuum cleaners with a HEPA filter release these lung-irritating particles into the air when you change the bag or empty the canister.
However, central vacuums do not recirculate dirt and dust throughout the room in which you’re vacuuming. Instead, these contaminants are sent straight to the unit through a series of tubes in the wall. In some configurations, dirt and dust are exhausted outside of the house.
Is Installation Labor Intensive?
When a central vacuum system is installed in a new house, a lot of the tedious work that must be done in an existing house can be skipped because it can be installed while an electrician is wiring the home. In already-built homes, the unit is hung in the garage or basement and inlets are put on each wall. Then, tubing like PVC is run through the wall to each inlet.
Usually, a professional can get the job done in a day. However, those with moderate DIY and construction skills will need a helper to install the system within the same time frame.
Do Central Vacuums Clog Easily?
Due to their strong motors and wide tubing, central vacuums are less likely to clog than standard vacuums. When they do clog, the obstruction is sometimes close enough to the hose’s opening that you can remove it with your fingers.
For clogs that are out of your reach, you can press on the hose to feel for the clog. When you find it, kneading the hose often breaks down and loosens the clog.
To remove more stubborn clogs, you can snake a garden hose through the home to get rid of the clog.
Does the Vacuum’s Suction Waver Further From the Unit?
The longer the hose and the greater the distance the inlet is from the unit, the less powerful the suction and airflow. However, the difference in suction is minimal, and you won’t notice a reduction in performance.
Again, the large motor in a central vacuum system is responsible for the vacuum’s unwavering suction.
Is the Filter Hard to Replace?
Most central vacuums contain a filter that traps airborne particles. Like filter inside of portable vacuums, the filters used in central vacuums must be replaced about once every few months.
Luckily, they’re a breeze to change. Simply take off the unit’s lid, pull out the old filter and insert the new one.
Should I Buy a Bagged or Bagless Central Vacuum Unit?
Although both types of central vacuum units offer the same level of performance, there are some pros and cons to bagged and bagless varieties.
While bag changes are quick, bagless central vacuums tend to have a bigger debris capacity, meaning you’ll spend less time dumping their contents. Plus, you don’t have to purchase replacement bags.
On the other hand, bagged central vacuums release less dust when you empty them. In turn, you must be vigilant about changing the filter, and they are slightly more prone to motor clogs.
Central Vacuum System Buyer’s Guide
The idea of a vacuum system that is built into a house is a novel concept to many; however, it’s becoming a growing trend, especially in new construction homes.
If you’re tired of lugging around an upright from room to room, then a central vacuum system is right for you. Before you start shopping around, learn more about the features available on these vacuums.
Central Vacuum Motor
At the heart of every high-quality central vacuum, there is a motor of equal quality. You can get an idea of the motor’s power by looking at its amperage. Additionally, the motor partly determines how much sound the vacuum unit produces. Flow-through motors are usually quieter than others.
Central Vacuum Suction
Often, manufacturers assign a square footage rating to their central vacuum systems. If you are interested in a model without that rating, you can determine the strength of its suction in other ways. A high number of air watts, airflow and water lift indicate strong suction.
Central Vacuum Hose
An inclusive central vacuum system always comes with a hose. The most important aspect to examine is the length of the hose. The longer the hose, the more reach you get from one wall outlet.
Ideally, the hose should be at least 30 feet in length. You also want the hose to be durable, such as one made of crush-proof material.
Central Vacuum Tank
There is a lot to consider when it comes to a central vacuum unit’s tank. Some are bagless while others are designed to hold a disposable bag. If you choose a bagless model, a viewing window helps simplify the tank’s maintenance.
The type you choose is entirely up to your personal preference., but it should be able to at least 4 gallons of dirt. Also, the tank, as well as the rest of the body, should be made of strong material such as steel.
Central Vacuum Filtration
Like any other vacuum, an excellent filtration system reduces the amount of dust that’s released. In bagless models, an effective filter is a must-have. A HEPA filter is the best type, and the addition of a pre-filter ensures the HEPA’s efficiency. Some filtration systems are self-cleaning while others are permanent or disposable.
Obviously, a reusable filter will save you the most money.
Central Vacuum Accessories
What’s a great vacuum cleaner without accessories? In terms of attachments, the more, the merrier. Many central vacuum systems come with dusting brushes, crevice tools, and floor nozzles, and almost all of these vacuums can be hung on the wall with a mount.
The extension wands may be adjustable to make users of all heights comfortable, and some manufacturers also throw in a bag to store the vacuum’s attachments.
Central Vacuum Extra Purposes
Some central vacuums can do more than just suction dry debris. You can find models that also act as blowers, which are great for removing leaves and pine straw from your garage or workshop. There are even central vacuum units that can clean up wet spills.
Central Vacuum Warranty
Central vacuum systems are interwoven into the infrastructure of a home. Therefore, you want a vacuum that’s protected by a long warranty.
This means you may want to pass on those that only offer a 1-year warranty period, but a 2-year warranty is acceptable. A warranty period that lasts 5 years is great, and any period longer than 5 years is phenomenal.
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Our Pick: OVO Large Capacity 700 Airwatts Central Vacuum
Durability is the first word that comes to mind when you think of the OVO central vacuum system. Instead of flimsy plastic components, the Ametek Lamb flow-through motor is constructed from metal through and through.
Soft-start technology means less wear and tear upon startup. The inclusion of two fans prevents temperature spikes and reduces electricity usage, and the central vac’s motor also boasts an auto-shutoff mechanism that engages before the motor overheats.
Producing 140 inches of water lift and 700 air watts, the OVO central vacuum easily meets the needs of areas up to 9,000 square feet. Thanks to a solid gasket, a top-located air intake and a 3-second shutdown delay, blockages are unlikely to occur.
You’ll also appreciate the lengths OVO goes to keep the noise level at or below 65 decibels, including sound-proofing foam and noise-canceling bracket inserts.
Inside the canister vacuum, there is a high-density polypropylene filter. This filter is washable and remains efficient throughout the life of the vacuum. It’s also well-adept at minimizing airborne allergens, boasting a 99.97-percent reduction rate.
Cyclonic suction increases the length of time between filter washes, and a color-coded LED indicator lets you know when it’s time to clean the filter and perform other maintenance tasks.
OVO integrates an additional level of filtration with its disposable filter bags. These three-layered bags stop the spread of dirt and dust. If you choose, you can vacuum without inserting the bag.
Either way, the 9.5-gallon canister is a breeze to empty since it opens from the bottom. The canister’s latches can be installed at any point along the opening, so you can easily dump the debris.
Installation doesn’t require any expertise. If your home already has a hose system, you can tap it into it. The canister vacuum doesn’t need its own outlet or circuit, and the entire unit only weighs 27 pounds. If you’re short on space, the 16 by 13 by 30-inch vacuum fits in tight spots. With its steel body, the canister vac can withstand a little rough handling during installation.
Our Recommended Central Vacuums
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Last update on 2020-10-28 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API