You are here: Home > Help > How They Work

How Central Vacuums Systems Work To Clean Your Home

A central vacuum system, also known as a whole house vacuum or in short a central vac is a cleaning system that is integrated within a homes internal structure. These cleaning systems utilize a network of inlet valves which are located throughout the home, which are all interconnected through lengths of pipe (similar to a homes internal plumbing). A central vacuum is designed to carry dirt, dust, and other debris that settles in your home out of the living space and into a separate holding container which is commonly known as the power unit.

Essentially there are three parts to a central vacuum system which make the whole unit work as a single cleaning entity. These three parts include the power unit, the inlet valves, and the attachment set which hooks up to these inlet valves. With the integration of these three vital parts you have a system that makes cleaning your home a lot easier and less time consuming than using a typical portable vacuum cleaner.

The power unit is what creates the suction of the central vac system, and is the most vital part of the whole entire operation. The power unit is usually anywhere between 12-15 inches in diameter and up to three feet in height. Within this unit is the motor which creates the vacuum needed in order to creation suction (measured in inches of H2o) and airflow (measured in cubic feet per minute). The mixture between suction and airflow is what creates the need for different models of central vacs for different size homes. Within a larger home you need to compensate for long runs of pipe and increased hose length. This requires that you choose a vacuum with a high airflow rating, rather than a high suction rating. In a typical size home, ranging anywhere from 1500-3000 sq. ft. you would choose a vacuum that has a good mixture of the two different ratings. However, it is essential to be aware that both the Airflow(CFM) & Suction (Inches H2o) work against one another in terms of the overall power of the machine. As one of these readings is increased through manipulation of the various central vacuum motors, the other reading will decrease accordingly. Therefore you should base your buying decision of all of the factors that make up the total whole house vacuum rather than any one single specification.

The inlet valves are located throughout the home and are interconnected by a network of central vacuum pipe back to the main unit. Located normally on an interior wall, they are what you hook your hose up to in order to connect to the system. There is a standard universal valve that is used in 98% of homes, though the outside look of this valve can vary. From time to time you will have companies (such as vacuflo) that use a proprietary valve that is unique to their individual products. As a central vacuum company we do not recommend this due to the limitation you have in terms of replacement products and where you can get those products. With the installation of standard universal valves, you have the option of using replacement attachment sets from any of the large central vac companies that are out there. The attachment set is also a vital part of your system, and includes the hose, electric powernozzle, and all of the other various accessories used in cleaning. When doing your research and consideration of various attachment sets it is important to keep an eye on where they are manufactured. There is a wide range of quality across various brands and a consumer should be aware of what they are purchasing before actually obtaining the product.

Other Information About Central Vacuums

The Difference Between Cyclonic and Filtered Central Vacuums

How To Install a Central Vacuum System

How Much Does a Central Vacuum System Cost?