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What is a Central Vacuum?

A central vacuum is a whole hose vacuum unit, which provides suction to various wall inlets through a system of piping and wiring. A central vacuum is typically triggered by attaching an electric hose into one of the wall inlets. Central vacuums have been around for decades, and have gained much popularity since the 1990s. The progress and innovative that has taken place up to today is pretty impressive, and central vacuums today range in several distinct features, like being a bagged or bagless model, featuring an LED display screen, and whether they include useful components like a muffler or utility valve.

Aside from the central vacuum unit itself, other important components are the hose and various vacuum attachments. Vacuum attachments range from simple brushes, for cleaning hardwood floors, to full-featured electric power nozzles, which feature a rotating brushroll and adjustable height settings for effective cleaning of various carpets.

There are two types of central vacuum hoses: a non-electric vacuum hose and electric vacuum hose. The electric vacuum hose is typically 30 or 35 feet, and the non-electric hose can be as long 50 feet. The major difference between these two hoses is the type of attachments that are compatible. With the electric hose, users can use electric carpet cleaning attachments, great for cleaning carpets. The non-electric hoses tend to be longer and work for cleaning hardwood floors, and sometimes low-pile carpets, depending on the attachment.

Your piping system will have to be set up a certain way, depending if you want to use an electric or non-electric hose. Electric hoses require higher voltage "super" inlet valves.

Benefits of Central Vacuum Systems
Central vacuums have been popular home appliances for decades. Many homeowners prefer them to regular canister or upright vacuums as they eschew the need of lugging around a heavy or cumbersome appliance up and down stairs. That's the benefit of a central vacuum, you have access to it from several places in your home, making whole house and cleaning individual areas more convenient.

Furthermore, there are health benefits in addition to practical benefits. Due to their centralized design, all dust and debris that you vacuum is kept in one central location, making it a good choice for homeowners with family members that suffer from allergies or asthma.

Additionally, many central vacuum owners also find that they are saving money in the long run by owning a central vacuum, because they typically last much longer than residential canisters or uprights and thus do not have to be replaced as often. Obviously, the cost to set up and install a central vacuum is much more expensive than most standalone vacuum cleaners, but most central vacuum owners find that they think it is worth it in the long run, and because many central vacuums are bagless and use a permanent filter, they end up paying for much of the initial set up cost after a while.

Where to Start
We recommend complete central vacuum builder's packages for new home constructions, as these kits include all of the necessary installation materials, in addition to the central vacuum unit itself, and hose/attachment kits. Take a look at our Central Vacuum Installation Guide if you want assistance setting up your vacuum system.

Central Vacuum Innovations
Aside from the basic central vacuum hose, which is generally kept on a hose hanger, central vacuum owners are also able to choose convenient, auto-retracting central vacuum hoses, like the Cana-Vac Doc IT hose systems. Additionally, there are external mufflers, such as the ActiVac II Universal Central Vacuum Exhaust HEPA Filter, which can be added to any central vacuum unit, new or old, and acts as both an effective filter and muffler that cuts down on noise.
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