How to choose the right central vacuum?

To choose a good central vacuum (central sweeper), you must consider several factors including: the power of the vacuum cleaner, the filtration system (with or without bags), decibels, type of installation, accessories, etc. . But also of its places of manufacture and the parts that compose it.

In fact, a central vacuum can be reduced to motor(s), circuit(s) and filtration system(s). The composition is therefore very simple and therefore very reliable in general.

How much does a central vacuum cost?

The cost of a central vacuum power unit ranges from $300 to over $1,500. Entry-level models, at $300 or $400, are likely to be noisier and therefore less durable. In addition, their filtration system is in most cases less efficient than medium or high-end devices. A central vacuum can be residential and even commercial.
However, relying solely on price is not a good thing to do. An expensive device is not necessarily synonymous with power or quality.
Central vacuums are more and more compact and just as efficient as larger models. It is an adaptation over time to meet the demand for enclosed spaces and the maximization of space as in condos for example.

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What is the power needed?

Most good central vacuums have a 500 to 760 airwatt motor. This power can even approach 1400 airwatts. The power of a central vacuum can be expressed in airwatts, in suction power (H2O) and even in CFM (CFM).
Two factors must be considered to measure the power you will need:
1. The number of sockets needed:
It varies depending on the length of the ducts that connect your vacuum cleaner to the socket. You must plan one outlet per 1,200 sq. ft . per floor.
2. The type of casings: retractable or standard (non-retractable).
A retractable hose outlet requires, on average, three times more ducts than a standard hose outlet, and enough power (at least 600 airwatts) to allow vacuuming the entire length of the duct without it blocking and the retraction speed is within the standards.
A retractable system allows you to handle only the length of hose you need, because it is stored directly in the pipes in the walls and ceilings. This way, you gain storage space and you don't have to carry the hose from one floor to another when vacuuming.
Can a conventional installation receive a retractable hose?
No. This is a completely different type of installation. Although it is simple to install, the installation of a retractable assembly requires the installation of long radius PVC elbows and certain technical specifications.
Power required N ber sockets for standard hoses (non- retractable) N ber retractable hose outlets
500 to 600 airwatts 1 to 2 outlets so*
600 to 650 airwatts 2 to 4 outlets 1 socket
More than 650 airwatts Up to 8 outlets 2 or 3 outlets
*An outlet with retractable hoses requires a power of at least 600 airwatts.
For any installation requiring more than 8 outlets with standard hoses or 3 outlets with retractable hoses, it is advisable to seek the advice of a professional to know the power required.

How is the vacuum cleaner installed?

Whether your house is under construction or already built, you can equip it with a central vacuum. The installation includes the installation of the socket and the PVC conduits that connect it to the vacuum cleaner, as well as the connection of the device. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you may be tempted to undertake the installation yourself. However, this is not recommended.
Who to entrust this task to?
To the specialized retailer from whom you buy the vacuum cleaner or to a contractor holding an RBQ license and civil liability insurance.

Installation cost

1. Sockets for standard hoses (non-retractable): $150 to $200 per catch.
Added to this cost is the cost of accessories (brushes, brooms, etc.), which are not included with standard hose outlets.
2. Inlets for retractable hoses: approximately $1,000 per outlet, including hard floor accessories. In the field, several types of combinations already pre-designed such as combos allow you to save money by buying a central vacuum and two retractable sets, for example.
It is best to install your device when your house is under construction, or during renovations. Thus, you will have fewer constraints as to the choice of the location of the sockets.

What are the different filtration systems?

In terms of efficiency, the four filtration systems that exist on the market are equivalent. But here is what sets them apart.
• With filter (without bag): The dust accumulates in a tank that you have to empty about one to three times a year. You are therefore in direct contact with the dust, which is not the case with the models with a bag. When emptying the tank, be sure to clean the filter thoroughly. Because if fine dust particles accumulate there, they could clog the vacuum cleaner's motor and affect its performance. A filter lasts about five years (depending on frequency of use) and costs an average of $80.
• Filter with disposable bag: If you're allergic to dust, or if you live in a condo (where the vacuum is likely to be housed in a closet rather than the basement), you'll prefer a bagged vacuum that traps residue. Opt for a device that uses cloth bags, as they hold dust better than paper ones. You will pay around $25-$40 for 3 bags. Their price varies according to their size and thickness (thicker bags filter better and are more expensive). Each will last between 6 and 10 months, depending on the amount of dust vacuumed.
• Hybrid: “Hybrid” type vacuum cleaners also have a filter, but you can use them with or without a bag. You just need to install one – usually fabric – if you don't want to be in contact with dust. And if you have no more in reserve, you can let the dust fall directly into the tank by simply removing the bag.
• Without filter and without bag: Don't want to clean a filter? Cyclonic vacuum cleaners use centrifugal force to pull dust from the air and expel it outside the home. If you choose this type of unit, add about $400 to the cost of your purchase, as you will need to have an exhaust duct installed. And don't think the chore of cleaning will disappear completely: the vacuum cleaner includes a small grid that needs to be dusted once or twice a year. The biggest disadvantage of this type of system: the exhaust duct emits noise and the dust is discharged outside, which your neighbors might not appreciate.

Note that an exterior exit is mandatory in Novoclimat homes.

Good to know: if you plan to install the vacuum cleaner in a high traffic area, or in a closet, you will want it to avoid dust. Same thing if a member of your family suffers from allergies.
You will also find on the market vacuum cleaners equipped with a permanent filter. However, the latter must be cleaned, like all other types of filters.
Finally, most hybrid devices have a self-cleaning filter (also called a weighing filter). The advantage? This changes position depending on whether the appliance is working or not, which helps clear dust and prevents clogging. The term "self-cleaning" is misleading, however, since you have to clean it three or four times a year to avoid a loss of suction capacity. To maximize the life of the device, it is recommended to change this type of filter every 5 to 7 years.

Here is an explanatory capsule summarizing central vacuum filters:

noise of the vacuum cleaner

In a small house or condo, it's impossible to hide the vacuum in the basement or garage. Noise then becomes an important purchase criterion. The quietest on the market emit between 68 and 70 dBA, the equivalent of normal ambient noise on a busy street.

What is the lifespan and warranty?

A typical manufacturer's warranty covers the vacuum's housing for life, motor and electrical components for 5-10 years, and accessories for 1-5 years. If you notice over the years that your vacuum cleaner makes an unusual noise or sucks less well, it may need a tune-up. You can contact a specialist retailer, who will send a technician to your home. The latter will check and clean your device. The cost of a tune-up? Between $80 and $200, excluding the technician's travel expenses. If your vacuum's motor fails after the warranty expires, it could cost you $180 to $500 to replace it.

What are the accessories of a central vacuum?

Several accessories are available to adapt your central vacuum to your needs.

The basic set generally includes a 30 ft (9 m) flexible hose, a handle (telescopic or not), a floor brush, a dusting brush, a couch brush, a hose holder and a tool corner. The price of such a set ranges from $159 to $250. If you want to add a rotating brush called a "turbobrush" (useful if you have a lot of carpet), count between $49 and $250 extra.

Finally, if several rooms in your home have high-pile carpets, opt instead for a set of accessories including an electric carpet brush. Such a set is worth between $350 and $600.

Don't like to take out the vacuum hose after every meal to pick up crumbs under the table? You can install an automatic dust pan at the bottom of cabinets or a wall. The advantage: all you have to do is sweep the door open with a press of your foot and let the dust be sucked up. It will cost you around $50 for the dustpan, and $150-200 for installation.

Here is a capsule explaining the different central vacuum accessories:

Source: Protect yourself magazine