Photo of central vacuum system

How To Choose a Central Vacuum System

It is more likely for a family to consider a central vacuum with larger homes. Compared to a traditional vacuum, the central option has a few advantages over the old. But what is a central vacuum system?

A central vacuum system is a built-in home device that prevents you from hauling around an upright vacuum, canister, or other forms. The wand and hose plug directly into a suction slot built into a wall. You do not need a power cord.

A central vac is a bit unusual for some families but is perfect for those who need to cover a lot of square footage. Below, we will provide you with some tips you need to look for in choosing a central vacuum system.

Ease of Use – How Power Translates To Simplicity With Central Vacuums

A central vac should ideally be easy to install and use. Because they require building into a home, most of your convenience comes from motor power and the location of inlet valves.

Inlet valves are small holes located at the same level as standard outlets. Instead of handling power, they provide a place to put your tubes.

Bear in mind that the stronger your vacuum is, the less you have to fret over issues. This is more of a problem with vacuums when they are the size of a home.

The suction power should be at least 450 air watts but can be as high as 1000. Any number above 600 can handle all standard homes and is a good indicator of strong suction power.

Another way to measure this is through CFM, which you can find more information about on this blog.

This comparatively insane air wattage against standard vacuums comes from the size of your home. So when choosing a central vac, keep in mind your central vacuum motor.

Provided the square feet of your home does not exceed 6000, you should not need a vacuum that exceeds 800 air watts. 

Bagless Central Vac vs Bagged Vacuum Cleaners

Much like with any vacuums, bagged units create more waste while bagless units are a bit dirtier. If you have dust allergies, vacuum cleaners with disposable bags are preferred.

Alternatively, it would help if you looked for vacuums with HEPA filters. The chosen filtration system of your vacuum comes in these forms:

  • Inverted system – The air is brought through a filter with the materials in a collection bucket, enabling the air to exhaust outdoors
  • Cyclonic system – A cyclonic system is essentially spinning, so the heavy particles feed through a filter. You also typically have outside vents.
  • Top emptying – Top emptying models are the most standard, protecting the vacuum fan and pushing smaller particles to HEPA filters.

Top emptying is typically pretty efficient, but the inverted system has solid potential as well.

What is a Good Vacuum Water Lift Rating?

Air watts are a good indicator for suction power. However, those do not refer to water suction power.

The alternative to high air watts refers to water lift. Water lift is crucial because it determines a vacuums ability to force tough materials through it.

Some testers believe it to be a more effective form of testing. You run your test using a water lift gauge, which measures your suction power in Kilopascals (air pressure force).

Good water lift ratings start at 80″ (measuring the inches of water). A balanced CFM should be about 125 or higher. A good vacuum has a combination of balanced airflow (CFM) and suction.

To convert this into air watts, you need to take airflow, multiply it times water lift, and divide that by 8.5. So, somewhere about 1000 air watts based on figures mentioned above.

By focusing on air watts, you can solve both problems, but try and find the CFM and water lift breakdowns to give yourself more information. The higher these numbers generally are, the more dirt and debris you can lift.

Get Good Central Vacuum Accessories

When getting a central vacuum unit, make sure you have the accessories to have a complete clean. Here are a few examples:

  • Vacuum wands – The expandable pole that enables you to clean high-up places. You’ll want one that can ideally reach the top-most area of your wall
  • A crevice tool – Like ordinary vacuums, a crevice tool is necessary for you to clean narrow locations
  • An upholstery tool – Upholstery tools enable you to clean couches and sofas. If you want to clean things that are regularly missed, this tool is excellent.
  • A hard floor brush – A broad brush for cleaning hard floors should substitute your standard vacuum rollers.
  • A dusting brush – A dusting brush lets you remove dust from surfaces and vacuum the dust immediately.
  • Pet grooming brush – A pet grooming brush removes shedding pet hair and immediately disposes of it.

These are a few examples, but easily some of the most important. Make sure your central vacuum accessories are suitable for your needs.

Wrap Up

Buying the right central vacuum cleaners enables you to keep your home clean. With a central power unit, you can easily and quickly clean the inside of your home without lugging a vacuum around.

Be sure your inlet valves are located in convenient spots. You need them to clean dust, dirt, and other debris in all spots in your house.

If you are looking for something that tries and competes with the power of central vacuums, check out our favorite list of upright vacuum cleaners. Thanks for reading!

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