Saturday, March 25, 2017

Central Vacuum

While our house was under construction, our vacuum cleaner gave up in the midst of cleaning the apartment.  It never did a great job.  Suddenly, it just made a lot of noise and unpleasant smells.  Tired of buying vacuum cleaners that don’t work well and break in a couple years, I went about researching higher quality vacuums.  Having learned a little about indoor air quality, I also wanted one that wouldn’t spew particulates into the room.

I concluded that the best solution would be a central vacuum.  The price tag is many times that of the ones we usually buy at the local store.  There are some high-end portable units that claim to be a big improvement, but the price tag on those is in the same ballpark as a central vacuum.  The manufacturers of both the high end portable units and the central vacuums advertised that their products would do a superior job of cleaning and would last many years.  I found those claims easier to believe for a central vacuum.  One feature that no portable unit could match is exhausting the fine dirt out of the house with no possibility of spewing it back into the indoor air.  Even after I was convinced that a central vacuum would be superior, it took awhile to get comfortable with the idea of spending that much on a vacuum.  Our house was at the ideal stage of construction for installing a central vacuum.  The house was framed but no drywall was installed.  Since that wouldn’t be true for much longer, we decided to pull the trigger.

One feature that we debated was the hide-a-hose system.  With this system, hoses are stored in the tubes so you don’t have to carry a bulky hose from a closet to the room you want to vacuum.  We decided that not having to carry the hose around and coil it back up afterwards didn’t justify the extra cost.

One undeniable drawback of the central vacuum is that it was absolutely useless for cleaning the apartment in the meantime.  Fortunately, my parents had an extra unit sitting around.  Apparently, some people buy new vacuums before the old one fills the home with smoke.

After living with it for a few months, we are happy with the choice.  Mainly, we are thrilled that it does a very good job picking up the pet hair and other stuff from our floors.  Convenience is pretty much a wash compared to a portable.  You still need to get something out of a closet, carry it to the dirty room, and plug it in (although you plug in a hose instead of a cord).

This is the central unit, which is installed in the basement.

This shows the tube to one of the wall ports before drywall installation.
Here is what the wall ports look like after the walls are finished.
Under the laundry room sink, we have a Vroom unit.  This has a relatively short hose coiled up in the unit which can be pulled out quickly for little messes without getting the hose out of the closet.  When we decided to put this unit in the laundry room, we planned to have the cat litter in that room.  We ended up putting the litter box elsewhere and we don't use this unit as often as we anticipated.
In the kitchen, we have a dustpan unit.  When we sweep, the pile of dust is sucked into the central vacuum system.  We have discovered that we rarely sweep with a broom anymore.  Vacuuming is easier.