What Is A Central Vacuum System?

SERIES: If Only People Knew…

Recently, Central Vacuum Stores’ owner, Renee Ambrose, was on the phone with her daughter-in-law, Lindsay, talking about the central vacuum system Renee’s son was installing in their new home. Newly married and a first-time homeowner, Lindsay was very excited about the prospect of a new system. She mentioned that she had shared her excitement with friends and family and was surprised by the number of people who didn’t know what a central vacuum system was. She said, “If only people knew how great they were, everyone would want one!” That phrase really got Renee thinking.

“If only people knew…”

With that as our motivation, we’re launching a new campaign to educate folks about all we wished they knew about a central vacuum system. We’ll be addressing some of our most frequently asked questions and simplifying some basic facts. First up is the most primary topic: What is a central vacuum system?

What is a central vacuum system?

Here’s Ryan discussing the basics of a central vacuum system:

The Power Unit

CV300 Portrait Landscape.jpgA central vacuum system consists of a mounted power unit, like the one pictured here. The power unit is installed in a discreet, remote location within your home or office such as a basement, garage, utility room, mudroom, or laundry room.

The power unit is the vacuum. It houses an extra powerful motor – sometimes 10x’s more powerful than a standard vacuum motor. It will also feature the type of filtration you choose, be it bagged, cyclonic, or filtered. The power unit will be plugged into an electrical source.

The Pipes


From the power unit, standard piping will be run throughout your home ending in a few, strategically placed inlets. The piping can be run through attics, underneath floors, or within walls, depending on your installation. The pipes will carry everything you vacuum back to the power unit.

Installing central vacuum piping during construction is certainly the easiest route. However, installing in an existing home is more than possible. In fact, we have lots of DIY material for just that. So if you already own a home and want a central vacuum system, it’s totally doable!

The Hose

When it comes time to vacuum, you simply plug a hose into the inlet. Inlets are placed in areas that will service multiple rooms. A typical home will only need a few inlets, so you’ll just move the hose a couple of times in order to vacuum your whole house.

The hose can attach to numerous types of power heads and attachments. Some floor tools will be designed for hard surfaces, some for carpeting, and some for specialty projects like car detailing or upholstery. When it comes time to purchase your attachments, there are many kits from which to choose designed for specific homes. Attachment options make central vacuum systems incredibly versatile.

What’s So Great About Central Vacuum Systems?

  • They’re the best way to vacuum. Period.
    • Because the power unit (the vacuum) is installed remotely, the dust and dirt you vacuum up are completely removed from your living space. See, with a regular vacuum cleaner, the air is filtered through the bag or dirt canister but ultimately has to be exhausted back into the air. You may already notice this effect if your vacuum cleaner has an odor to it each time you run it. That odor is the air (and fine dust, allergen, and dirt particles) being blown back into the room. Yuck. A central vacuum system eliminates this.
  • They’re practically vital for homeowners with allergies.
    • Because of the above-mentioned exhaust factor, anyone who struggles with allergies, asthma, or any kind of breathing difficulty MUST remove dust and allergens from their home. More importantly, they can’t afford to have it spewed into their face while vacuuming with a regular vacuum.
  • They’re one-stop cleaning tools.
    • You have a vacuum hose and the rest is endless. Connect an extendable wand to reach the ceiling, another attachment for the drapes, a brush for the hard wood floors, a power tool for the carpeting, an outdoor brush for the garage workbench, a crevice tool to clean the car seats… the list goes on and on.

Where Do I Go From Here?

Now that you know what a central vacuum system is, the natural progression is to question how one is installed. Thankfully, that’s our next post in this Series. But to give you a sneak peek…

Yes, you can install a system in your existing home.

Yes, central vacuum systems can be installed DIY – AND WE CAN HELP!

Yes, central vacuum systems have been shown to increase the value of your home at an average of $2,000!


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