Vacuum Cleaners

All You Need to Know About Buying a Central Vacuum


Thanks to the Internet you can research any topic you think of. So, when it comes to buying a central vacuum system, the first stop is an Internet search. It definitely helps to be better informed and put yourself in a position to make a well-educated decision regarding the type of system that’ll best service the needs of your home.

The Center of Central Vacuum Systems

There are four main types of central vacuum systems:

  1. Bag – for homes when outside venting is not possible or desired. Bags are typically changed 1-2 times a year.
  2. Bagless with Inverted Filter – dirt is funneled in around the filter so that it does not cling to the filter. It needs to be emptied every 3-6 months.
  3. Filtered Cyclonic – small particles are filtered out. Needs to be emptied every 2 months.
  4. All Cyclonic – dirt is tossed about so heavier particles fall to the bottom of the canister and smaller particles are vented outside. Needs to be emptied every 3 months depending upon usage.

Because of convenience and availability, more and more homeowners are starting to retrofit their homes with a central vacuum system. Currently more that 30% of the central vacuum market stems from retrofits as more and more people find out that it’s a doable do-it-yourself (DIY).

The Benefits of Central Vacuum Systems

There are many benefits of installing a central vacuum system – including better air quality in your home. Central vacuum systems are capable of deeper cleaning as well as vacuuming all dust and debris, which is taken outside of your home with a central vacuum system. One of the top selling points is the HEPA filter will stop about 99.97% of all particles from your indoor air. Central vacuum systems are also a way to increase your home’s resale value. Although a central vacuum system costs more than double the average homeowner’s vacuum cleaner, it can also last up to 5 times as long! Also, they have superior performance, which is the entire point – to clean your home via the dirt you can see and the dirt you can’t see (but is definitely there).

Choosing a Central Vacuum System

When shopping for a central vacuum system, the important features to compare are:

  1. Suction or inches of water lift is how high water can be lifted up the tubing; this is an important measurement for suction.
  2. Cubic feet per minute (CFM) measures airflow, which once again is important regarding suction.
  3. The most essential measurement is air watts; it is a calculation derived from CFM and inches of water lift – most central vacuum companies make this number available.
  4. The canister material, which can be either steel or plastic.

To determine how powerful a system you need, the best formula is to take the square footage of your home and double it. Having a more powerful system will help cover you with these power stealing situations:

  • Two story house
  • A large number of wall inlets
  • A lot of angels in the central vacuum tubing
  • Leakage from tubing

A larger system will also provide for any future additions to your home; the cost to upgrade to a more powerful system is typically a couple hundred dollars, and it’s well worth the security in knowing your central vacuum has strong suctioning power.

Central Vacuum System Accessories

When it comes to choosing accessories most central vacuum manufacturers don’t make their own.  For the most part, hoses will fit any central vacuum system, but it’s best to confirm with your dealer or manufacturer to be safe. All Ray’s Vacuum and Sewing can help you with any of these needs.

Hoses can be as long as 50 feet, which is good and bad; it’s good because you don’t need as many wall inlets (fewer inlets means more powerful suction), and bad because you have to figure out where to hang a 50’ hose! However, they make retractable hoses that keep the hose hidden in the walls.

The powerhead is the part of a central vacuum system that actually clears away the dirt and debris. You’ll want to compare each powerhead’s cleaning width; the width generally ranges between 12” and 14”.  You’ll want to look for powerheads that feature a geared or cogged belt that offer a more consistent level of performance, as well as a quick release wand system. This type of system allows you to remove the wand easily and use different tools.

There is definitely a lot of information to consider about central vacuums, and it’ll require you to do your homework. Don’t’ take on your decision alone, visit All Ray’s Vacuum and Sewing to start working smarter rather than harder!