Many people enjoy the conveniences of today's modern home with its central heating and air conditioning, indoor plumbing, extensive electrical, phone and cable TV systems, etc. The vacuum cleaner industry offers to the modern homeowner the special conveniences, performance and durability of the Central Vacuum System. Since the main power unit is mounted outside of the normal living area, cleaning is done at a greatly reduced sound level. This is much less disturbing to family members who may be visiting with friends, watching TV, listening to the radio or taking a nap while the cleaning is being done. Since the dust and dirt are removed completely from the room, better air quality in the home is achieved, enabling healthier living. The power nozzle reaches nicely under furniture and is easier to use than the upright type of vacuum cleaner while it does a great job of deep cleaning carpets. Not having a canister unit tagging along at your heels is a freeing experience as well. The long 30' hose is super for easily and safely cleaning your stairs and hard to reach areas. Since the main unit hangs safely on the wall and is better constructed, the life span is greatly extended compared to the typical portable vacuum cleaner.
Central vacuum systems are often highly recommended by allergists since the main air flow is typically exhausted outside the house, preventing the recirculation of fine dust and allergens within the home. The cutting edge of vacuum cleaner technology is in the area of high filtration. While a number of portable vacuums are now boasting super high filtration which meets the HEPA (99.97% at 0.3 µm) specifications, the central vacuum system prevents 100% of all sizes of dust particles from recirculating into you room when the exhaust air is vented outside your home. While many systems filter so well that an installation does not need to be vented outside if it isn't convenient, most are vented outside to reduce the amount of dust in the home.
A central vacuum system consists of a basement or garage mounted main power unit, 2" PVC tubing connecting the wall mounted hose inlets to the main power unit, a 30' hose and various cleaning attachments. Many systems include a special nozzle with a motor or turbine driven revolving brush roll for deep cleaning carpets.
The main unit is a stationary type of canister vacuum cleaner which is usually mounted in the basement or garage. Being stationary, these units usually have larger and more powerful motors than those that can be used in the portable vacuum cleaners. In order to create good air flow through the system, these units are designed to produce strong suction with a minimum of internal resistance to the air flow. To help reach these goals, some units use large 3-fan (stage) motors while others use two smaller motors either connected in series or parallel. When two motors are connected in parallel, the internal resistance is reduced substantially, increasing the air flow. When they are connected in series, the total suction is increased substantially, again increasing the air flow. Motors connected in series tend to have higher failure rates, especially the one pulling the air from the exhaust of the other one. All central system motors have at least two fans and most use bypass cooling for better performance and durability.
While some central systems use disposable paper bags to collect the dirt, most use dirt containers which are simply emptied when full. Some use a cyclonic chamber combined with a large area filter or only a cyclonic chamber is used to separate the dust particles from the air flow. Systems which use only a cyclonic chamber as a filtration system should always be vented outside due to the larger amounts of fine dust particles that pass through them. Some of these dust particles are deposited in the suction fans, requiring more maintenance over the life span of the unit.
To distinguish between the two types of carpet cleaning nozzles, they are often referred to as a motor driven power nozzle and an air driven turbine nozzle. When using a power nozzle, the electric motor actually adds power to the cleaning system. A turbine nozzle should not be confused with a motorized power nozzle. When a turbine is used instead of an electric motor, the power to drive the brush roll is actually removed from the air flow, reducing the velocity of the air flow through the system. Both types of nozzles incorporate a revolving brush roll similar to that used in the upright type of vacuum cleaner to deep clean the carpets. The better ones use a non-slip cog or gear type of belt for better power transfer from the motor or turbine to the brush roll.
Hayden Manufacturing Co. Ltd is the industry leader in manufacturing the wall inlets as well as the various elbows, tees, etc. that are used in central vacuum installations. Many system manufacturers actually use and sell their products. Hayden's SuperValve hose inlet has become very popular in recent years. Most inlets have low voltage contacts which mate with the hose to enable the user to switch the main power unit on and off from the hose end in their hand. The SuperValve goes a giant step beyond the others by also incorporating a receptacle to supply the household voltage via the hose to the power nozzle. The hose has internal wiring for both the low voltage for control and the household voltage for the power nozzle. When used with the SuperValve inlet, the simple step of inserting the hose into the wall inlet instantly makes all the connects you need for using your system. The older way of doing this is to insert the hose and than plug the 6' cord attached to it into a standard electrical outlet. Since many system manufacturers use Hayden's SuperValve with their systems, be sure to ask about it when having a system installed in your home.
The design and quality of the 30' hoses used with central vacuum systems vary considerably. One of the best is made by Hayden and used on their systems like the Hayden SuperPack. It uses heavy duty construction for the hose and hose ends. Should the hose tear with use, it is repairable at both ends, possibly saving the user substantial amounts of money over the life of the unit. Like many other hoses, the main unit and power nozzle can be controlled by finger tip switches on the hose end. Hoses are available for use with their SuperValve or the earlier types of hose inlets. By switching off the motor in the power nozzle, it can be used to quickly clean bare floors without switching to the bare floor brush.
The cost of installing a central vacuum system is often much less than you may think. Typically the number of hose inlets needed is not very high since the 30' hose will reach quite far. A good rule to follow when determining how many inlets will be needed is one for every 700 square feet of living area per floor. Installations are easier and less expensive when done as the house is being built but can also be done in most existing houses. We suggest that, if building a new house, have the hose inlets and PVC piping installed before the drywall is installed. Then when you are ready to add the main power unit and attachment kit the cost will be easier on your budget.
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