How do central vacuum systems function?
Unlike traditional vacuum cleaners that have to be carried from one room to the other, central vacuum systems send dirt, pet hair debris via tubing installed in the walls. Instead of carrying the entire unit, you simply carry around a power brush unit plus a lightweight hose. Unlike traditional vacuum cleaners that have to be plugged into pre-determined electrical outlets, the central vacuum system can be plugged into any convenient inlet.
To install the central vacuum system, you start by designating an area where it will be installed. You can install it in the garage, basement, utility room or any other room where it’s out of the way. The next step involves installing inlet valves throughout the house. These valves connect to the central unit via tubing. The number of inlets will be determined by your preference and needs. However, the recommended number of inlets is one per 600 square feet.
Central vacuum systems are designed to be less noisy but more powerful than portal vacuums. They also reduce the recirculation of dirt, dust and allergens into your home’s air. The vacuum system sucks in the allergens and exhausts it outside your home.
Cost of installation
The average cost of installation is about $1,500 for a 2,400 square foot home. The cost will increase depending on the number of suction ports and the extra features you want. While the cost is high compared to your portable vacuum cleaner, you get 30-40 years of great service. You don’t have to keep changing filters, and you also don’t have to contend with dusty smells or insane noise levels.
Although the central vacuum system best suited for newly constructed homes, they can also be installed in existing homes. As long as your home has a wall, it can be retrofitted to fit a vacuum system.
Our Top Picks
1. Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum System - Ideal for large spaces
The Prolux CV12000 is arguably the best central vacuum system available today as it cleans your floors and removes allergens from the air. Unlike regular vacuums, the Prolux CV12000 is installed in your building either as a semi-permanent or permanent fixture. It’s designed to be part of the building as opposed to a mobile device that can clean specific areas of the house.
While the installation specifics often vary depending on the home, those who have installed it say that difficulty ranges from easy to moderate. However, before you can install the Prolux system, you have to buy additional elbows and inlet hoses. If this is your first central vacuum system, you will also have to buy cleaning heads and hoses.
The CV12000 generates 150 CFM of power that can clean up to 12,000 square feet. It can be installed in any space size, but it works best with spaces that are larger than 2000 square feet. The CV12000 uses the Amtek 2 motor which is said to be one of the strongest and finest motors available today. Very few vacuums can clean at 150 cubic feet per minute. Also, the vacuum has a ten-year warranty.
The unit has a 30-foot electric hose that’s fitted with a switch that allows you to alternate between speeds and turn off the central vacuum unit or the power nozzle. It also comes with an electric power nozzle which can be adjusted to clean different types of carpets.
Instead of a bagged system, the CV12000 uses a filtration system which comprises of a 3-stage filtration system. The air is passed through a micro pre-filter, a washable filter and a HEPA filter. Among the three filters, the HEPA filter is the most important as it removes allergens, bacteria, fine dust and germs from the air. The HEPA filter is removable, which is the recommended option, especially if your home doesn’t have any allergens.
The CV12000 is made of steel, which is incredibly strong and can endure almost anything. You get a 10-year warranty that covers the motor and a 25-year warranty that covers the body. If you buy the CV12000, you are assured that it will last for long.
- Powerful suction
- Extensive warranty
- Ideal for large spaces
- The 3-stage filtration system
- 2-stage motor
- Changing the filters is difficult
- Clogs easily thus filters have to be cleaned or changed frequently
2. OVO Powerful Central Vacuum System - highly efficient
The OVO central vacuum system is ideal for large spaces that need a lot of vacuuming. It comes with a 2-stage 700 Watt motor which translates to approximately 140 CFM. It’s almost as powerful as the CV12000 vacuum system. However, it can only cover about 9000 square feet, unlike the CV12000, which covers 12,000 square feet.
Aside from the main power unit, filtration is the second most critical component of any central vacuum system. With this in mind, the OVO has designed its filtration system to be highly efficient. It also uses disposable filtration bags to purify the air. This ensures that the air escaping the unit is clean.
It employs the use of a cyclonic filtration system which comprises of filter bags and a series of filters. This cyclonic system takes in everything you have vacuumed and passes it through the filters twice. The OVO central vacuum system comes with the patented Soft-Start technology, which is said to improve the life expectancy of the motor by up to 20%.
- Built-in LED readout to notify you when the unit needs emptying
- 3-second delay on the shutdown mechanism facilitates for more efficient vacuuming
- Covers over 9000 square feet of space
- 35 l dirt receptacle
- Features patented technology that extends the motor’s life span by about 20%
- Bottom load mechanism
- Requires regular service
3. PP500 PurePower Central Vacuum System - Ideal for small homes
Suck up allergens, dirt and dust from your upholstery, floors, and other surfaces using the PP500 Central Vacuum system. It is set up from the conventional vacuums. With this unit, you are guaranteed deeper cleaning and reliability.
Ease of use
The PP500 has a 6-foot power cord that is convenient to use. It also comes to a self-cleaning system which is programmed to pulse periodically as a way of preventing clogging. This system allows for continuous cleaning without having to stop to change or clean the filter.
Large collection bag
Unlike newer models, you don’t get to view the dirt as it the PP500 vacuum system has a bagged design. The disposable bag can hold up to 6 gallons, which should be enough for all your cleaning needs. It also doesn’t require frequent emptying as it comes with a disposable bag whose emptying interval is six months.
Using a vacuum is guaranteed to cause some disturbance. However, with the PP500, you are guaranteed some peace. It features a thru-flow motor which, when combined with the high-performance materials, help suppress the noise. This allows you to complete cleaning sessions without causing noise disturbance.
- Ideal for small homes
- Comes with a six-foot power cord
- Silent motor
- Easy to install
- The power unit is small and compact
- Long-lasting filter
- Filters often clog especially when wet debris is sucked in
- Requires additional expenses to buy additional accessories for a fully functioning system
4. Electrolux 4B-H403 Vacuum - High capacity dirt bin
Like most central vacuum systems, the Electrolux vacuum is shaped like a canister and weighs about 22.8 pounds. For a central vacuum, the 4B-H403 is lightweight, which makes it easy to install and setup. It also means that its maximum area coverage will be lower than that of larger vacuum systems. As a result, the 4B-HR03 vacuum can only cover 3000 square feet. This means that it’s best suited for homes with less than 3000 square feet of area.
Airflow & suction
With its 500 air watts airflow, the Electrolux Honeywell can move air at a rate of 120 CFM. Even with such an impressive airflow, the vacuum system manages to remain quieter than a portable vacuum cleaner. It runs quietly with a sound output of about 65 decibels.
The Electrolux vacuum is best suited for the average-sized home. It measures 33 inches by 11 inches, which means it doesn’t take up much space in your basement or garage. It comes with a debris bin that can hold up to 4 gallons of dust, dirt and debris. You can monitor the bin’s level through the viewing window. Fortunately, the bin can go for more than three months before it needs to be emptied.
Motor & other features
It comes with a 13.7 amp motor that uses flow-through technology to ensure it remains cool. The comprehensive protection system also helps reduce malfunctions. In addition to this, the unit is built using durable steel for extended longevity. It also has a mounting bracket that is used to anchor the vacuum to the wall.
Inside the vacuum, is a permanent H10 filter that can trap up to 99.97% of the particles on your floors. It can also clean 85% of the allergens that are as small as 0.1 microns.
- Durable steel construction
- High capacity dirt bin
- Has a 5-year warranty
- There have been complaints about the motor overheating
- The suction is weak compared to its competitors
5. Imperium CV300 Central Vacuum - Durable construction
The CV300 offers versatility, performance and value for money. It boasts of 740 air watts which is enough to clean 7500 square feet. It’s arguably the best central vacuum system for residential spaces. It’s popular among households with pets as it vacuums the house without exhausting pet fur or smells back into your house.
The CV300 comes with a 15-amp motor that generates 740 air watts of power. It has a suction power of 138 CFM and can pick up large debris with ease. It only requires a single outlet for every 700 square feet and is compatible with most central vacuum hoses.
It comes with a single micro-lined filter bag that can hold up to 6.25 gallons of dirt. Once it’s full, it will take about 2-3 minutes to change it. The micro-lining helps reduce odors; however, you need to buy the Maxflow HEPA bags if you want to filter out allergens.
The entire vacuum is made using galvanized steel, which is a type of material that is designed to be rust-free, corrosion-resistant and non-degradable. This ensures that the unit will last for long and can withstand virtually anything. The installation process is quite easy and takes about 2-3 hours.
- 740 air watts is impressive
- Incredibly quiet
- 6.25 dirt bin capacity
- 138 CFM
- Durable construction
- Requires a bag
- A thru motor isn’t as effective as a bypass
Choosing the best central vacuum system
The quality of central vacuum systems varies depending on price, brand and features. You can read the best central vacuum consumer reports to get a better understanding of how they work. In addition to the reports, be on the lookout for these features:
How much power do you need? Your choice will be highly influenced by your lifestyle and the size of the house. For example, if you live in a 5-bedroom house with pets and some of the occupants have respiratory ailments or allergies, you’ll need a central vacuum system with sufficient power. You want a vacuum system that vacuums the dirt off surfaces and removes allergens from the air.
When compared to portable vacuums, central vacuum systems have up to 10 times more suction power. Central vacuum systems tend to have voluminous motors compared to their portable counterparts. Opt for a canister that is large enough to clean your entire house. For example, if your house is medium-sized (5000-10000 square feet), buy a medium-sized canister.
Be sure to check the configuration of the filtration system. Your choice will depend on whether you want disposable or permanent filters. The latter tends to be self-cleaning while the former has to be changed after a few uses.
Does the product come with a warranty? Is the manufacturer trustworthy and reliable? You want to buy your central vacuum system from a reliable company that stands by its product. Typically, most manufacturers will offer a warranty ranging from 5-10 years. However, some offer warranties that span for up to 25 years.
Bagged vs Bagless
Over the last few years, central vacuum systems have changed from bagless to bagged. However, the change didn’t last for long as manufacturers switched back to bagless. Between the two, which one is better? It depends since there are benefits that you can only enjoy when using bagged. For example, when using a bagless system, you don’t have to buy replacement bags. It is simpler to empty and maintains peak suction even when then the chamber is full.
Alternatively, a bagged system has the option of venting outside, and the filter doesn’t require regular maintenance, unlike those in the bagless system. Besides a bagged system prolongs the motor’s life.
There is designed with filters and tends to be more effective at filtering dirt particles. Unlike the previous two options, a filtered unit doesn’t deposit dirt into the dirt canister. The downside of this system is that it requires regular filter replacement and cleaning.
The recommended length of a central vacuum hose is 30 foot. However, it would be more convenient to work with 50 to 60-foot hoses as they require fewer inlets. The downside of these long hoses is that you have to worry about storage. The solution to the storage issue is using retractable hose systems as they allow you to pull back the hose into a special box or the tubing. The downside of using retractable units is that they are expensive.
Reasons why you ought to buy a whole house vacuum system
Portable vacuum cleaners tend to be smelly, heavy and are often not that good at cleaning carpets. To eliminate these doubts, you can install a central vacuum system. Most homeowners do not know what a central vacuum system is and how it works. There are often a misconception about the central vacuums, especially the installation. Below are the reasons why you should install a central vacuum system:
1. Minimal vacuum noise
Watching television or making a call is difficult, especially when someone is vacuuming in the next room. It’s virtually impossible to concentrate on anything, especially if the person is using a portable vacuum. Fortunately, with the central vacuum system, you don’t have to deal with the noise. This is because the source of noise is located out of sight, probably somewhere in the basement or garage. Very little noise comes from the actual vacuuming so you can continue vacuuming without disturbing the other occupants.
2. Cleaner Air
Having used a central vacuum system for a few days, you will notice a reduction in allergens in your air. It’s said that central vacuum systems are more effective at cleaning the air than their portable counterparts. This phenomenon is attributed to its ability to extract dust, debris and dirt from the air, which is then pumped to the main unit in the basement or garage. The air is then exhausted outside instead of being recycled. This means that you get clean, fresh air every time you activated the central vacuum system.
3. Ease of use
If it was possible, we could all avoid doing house chores. It’s the most annoying part of the day but a central vacuum system, you can make your work easier. You don’t have to carry around an upright vacuum or a heavy canister as you clean the house. Central vacuums also come with accessories that make it easy to clean areas that traditional vacuums can’t clean. There isn’t a vacuum that is as effective at cleaning a house as the central vacuum system.
Central vacuums come with an extensive selection of accessories that make it easy to access areas that are often overlooked. They have long hoses plus an assortment of tools that make it possible to clean your garage, RVs, boats and vehicles. Unlike using a brush, the central vacuum system does stir up dirt, and it’s less troublesome. It’s also noted that men prefer using a central vacuum system over portable vacuums as it’s similar to using a power tool.
5. Powerful Deep Cleaning
Motors fitted in central vacuum systems tend to be three times stronger than motors found in portable vacuums. And since the main power unit is often stored in the basement or garage, it remains cool for longer, allowing it to offer strong suction for longer. Thanks to the strong suction, you can now remove even the most stubborn dirt and grit that will age your carpet.
5. A smart investment
Purchasing house appliances is considered as a way of investing in your home. And one of the smartest decision you can make is to install a central vacuum system. This will not only allow you to save money, but it will also add substantial value to your property. They also offer better suction than portable vacuums and last longer. Some can last for more than three decades. They typically go for about ten years before you have to replace the major accessories and parts.
For years, there have been several misconceptions about central vacuum systems with the main one being that are only suited for newly constructed houses. It’s good to note that your house can be retrofitted to install a central vacuum system. And it does not involve tearing down an entire wall. Now that the misconception is out of the way, you can proceed to buy the Prolux CV12000 or the OVO central vacuum. Pick any of these vacuum systems and enjoy cleaner and quieter homes.