Getting a whole house vacuum system installed can be s smart move for a homeowner to make. It can increase your home’s value if you’re planning to sell it, and therefore is a secure investment when it comes home cleaning and maintenance. Because of its increased suction power, you’ll pick up the dirt that can deteriorate a carpet quickly and efficiently.
On the conservative side, a whole house vacuum has twice the power of a standard upright vacuum. However, it can also provide triple the power, depending on the location of the inlets and the floor plan’s design.
Just like getting training for CPR, buying a whole house vacuum can make the difference when it comes to improving your quality of life and the care you’re able to provide to your friends and family.
What should you look for in a whole house vacuum?
Before you embark on a search for a central vacuuming system however, you’ll need to review certain features, primarily the air wattage, filtration, sound, ease of use, and attachments.
Besides the suction power and filtration (explained below), you have to consider the level of noise the system produces.
The Level of Noise
To reduce the noise level, look for a vacuum that features sound-blocking filters and thicker collection tanks to dampen the vibrations. This is especially important if you locate the collection tank close to a bedroom in your basement or a home office.
While the system is not known for producing a lot of noise, especially if the collection tank and motor are located remotely (like in a closet), the machine’s sound can be aggravating if you’re in an area close to the central collection tank.
Ease of Use
A central vacuum system is made so it’s easier to use. This is particularly true if you space the inlets properly. You don’t have to deal with power or extension cords, so you can just attach the hose and start cleaning.
Part of what makes the system easier to use are the cleaning attachments. So, you’ll need to make a buying decision based on these featured add-ons as well.
Crevice nozzles are thin and long cleaning attachments, made to collect debris in crevices or corners hard to reach by conventional means.
An elbow wand is used to grab up spider webs from corners or clean floor-to-ceiling curtains if the top part is hard to reach.
A wet nozzle features a squeegee edge to collect water and other spills.
A brush nozzle--also known as an upholstery attachment--cleans fabrics on furnishings as well as curtains. You can also use the tool to clean your car’s interior.
Hose extensions may be rigid or flexible, and give the cleaner an additional length at the end of the hose.
A powered vacuum head permits you to clean your carpet like an upright vacuum. It links to an upright suction tube. You just need to attach the central vacuum’s hose to the tube and you’re set.
What suction power should the whole house vacuum system have?
Because a whole house vacuum is measured in air watts, you’ll need to make a calculation. Take the airflow in cubic feet per minute (CFM) and multiply that number by the water lift in inches. Then divide the total you get by 8.5.
This equation is expressed as airflow CFM x water lift divided by 8.5 = air wattage.
The water lift references the vacuum’s capacity to pull liquids through the tubing while airflow gauges the amount of air directed through the system.
Amps also influence the overall system’s power. So, the higher the amp rating, the higher the power.
Keep in mind that the farther you place the inlet receptacle from the vacuum’s motor, you’ll also decrease the power. As a result, if your house is larger, you may have less power on a top story than you do on the main floor.
Important Note: When you’re looking at power, the system should rank, powerwise, for up to twice the square footage of your home. Don’t get carried away. Just make sure you have consistent power and suction and you should be okay. That is why this ranking is reasonable.
What about collection systems?
In a whole house vacuum, the collection of dirt and debris works directly with the components used for filtering. Therefore, you have several options – options that include bagged and bagless systems, vertical vacuums, cyclonic models, and inverted systems.
As the name suggests, a bagged system has a disposable bag that collects dust, debris, hair, and fur. When the bag gets full, you’ll need to replace it. Otherwise, your vacuum will not run as well and the motor can burn out.
A bagless system collects dirt and debris, directing the residue in a collection chamber. You’ll have to empty the chamber to avoid the problems you can also experience when you don’t replace a bag.
A vertical whole house system uses a vacuum bag. The debris and air are propelled into an upright collection system that traps dust and dirt into a disposable bag.
Cyclonic central vacuums use centrifugal force to separate clumps of dirt as well as other debris into a collection chamber. Most of these systems are bagless, and use a canister for disposing dirt.
Inverted whole house vacuums resemble vertical vacuum systems, except the air is directed up and over the vacuum’s filter instead of down inside of it. The vacuum uses gravity to keep the filter clean, allowing the debris to drop off of the filter into a canister when the vacuum is switched off.
Which is better – a bagged or bagless system?
You’re better off choosing a bagged whole house vacuum system, as the bag offers an additional layer of protection with respect to filtration. Therefore, these vacuums generally work more efficiently.
This is especially helpful to have if you or a family member has asthma or suffers from allergies. An elderly member who has breathing difficulties – emphysema or a heart condition can benefit as well. The bag supports cleaner indoor air.
Is installation difficult?
Installation for a central vacuum can be difficult. That’s because the tubing needs placement inside the walls, and must run from the motor and collection tank on each floor. Therefore, you may need to have a professional complete the installation.
If you make installation a do-it-yourself project, remember that each floor needs at least one inlet valve. Most floor plans call for an inlet valve for each 750 square feet. Also, each inlet must include a low-voltage coupler, designed to switch the motor on and off. Therefore, you may need to discuss the installation with an electrician first.
Author: Donna Ryan
Author Bio: Donna Ryan is a home improvement writer. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.