Contractor Tips Blog


Indoor Air Quality and Central Vacuum Systems

In general the quality of the air inside most homes is poor as a result of the same air being constantly re-circulated by the heating and cooling systems.  This air often contains moisture, insects, dust mites, pollen, dander, fumes from household products and furnishings, smoke, dirt, cooking fumes and germs.  Often these terms negatively impact asthma and allergy suffers and can trigger symptoms.  While it is possible to improve indoor air quality by modifying the heating and cooling system with special filters and introducing outside air into the homes, studies have shown that a central vacuum system will significantly improve the symptoms in people suffering from allergies and asthma. 

Central vacuum systems are a cost effective system integrated into the structure of the home.  Typically they consist of a series of outlets in the walls of the home that will accommodate a series of specialized cleaning tools.  The outlets, which power the cleaning tools using a built in power source, are connected to a central vacuum unit located in an unused part of the home, by a series of pipes.

The vacuuming process is basically the same as a traditional vacuum, with the remotely located unit collecting the large materials.  However, unlike traditional vacuum cleaners, the air is exhausted to the exterior of the home and not to the interior of the home.  This keeps the smaller airborne particles from continuously being re-circulated.  This provides continuous improvement in the indoor air quality of the home, while also significantly improving the quality of life of those suffering from asthma and allergies!

Posted on behalf of Callaway Home Theater and Automation


Types of Central Vacuum Systems

A central vacuum is a type of home filtration system that improves interior air quality by removing dust, allergens, and waste particles from indoor air. Compared to the portable vacuum cleaners that are used to clean floors and carpets, stationary central vacuum systems keep rooms cleaner; they filter air by depositing dust and dirt in a disposable bag or canister thereby minimizing the amount of dust that re-circulates back into the living area.

There are three types of central vacuum systems:

  1. Paper/cloth bag

Disposable paper bag systems are the most common type of central vacuum unit. Dust and airborne waste (mold spores, pet dander, lint, bacteria, dirt, fabric fibers etc.) are suctioned into the system via outlets located in each room and deposited in a paper or cloth bag housed in a canister. The bag traps and retains the debris so that the canister itself stays clean. This type of system may or may not expel exhaust air outside. Every 1 to 2 years, the full bag is taken out and replaced with little or no exposure to the refuse. With paper/cloth bag systems, replacement bags must be purchased.

  1. Bagless with filter

With bagless central vacuum systems, dust is suctioned in and deposited in a canister. When the system is shut off, the heavier dust drops to the bottom of the canister and the lighter dust is trapped by a permanent filter. The filter prevents the dust from re-circulating back into the house or entering the motor. Exhaust air may or may not be directed outside through a vent. The canister needs to be emptied and cleaned every 3 to 6 months, at which time, excess dust also needs to be washed or shaken off of the filter. Cleaning and emptying the canister involves exposure to the refuse and so this system is not recommended for people with allergies and asthma.

  1. Bagless true cyclonic

With bagless true cyclonic systems, dust and waste are suctioned into the system with tornado-like force where the heavier debris falls down into a canister while the lighter debris goes through the motor and outside. Exhaust air is always vented outside with this type of system. The canister needs to be cleaned regularly―every 2 months― to maintain suction.


Consider a Central Vacuum System For The Good Of Your Health

Home automation offers people a great range of simple and convenient money and time saving benefits, as well as potential security benefits and along with this growing trend more and more folks are turning to central vacuum systems for the amazing benefits they can offer a home owner and their family.

Current research suggests that the air quality in your home is often worse than the quality of the air outside of it! Why is that? Because of the opportunities for mischief present in a home – trapped moisture, pet hairs, insects, output from electrical appliances, the materials used in cleaning products, dirt, mites, and many other things we don’t normally consider. This can be bad news for people who suffer from asthma or allergies.

A central vacuum system offers a real advantage to these families, because unlike ordinary vacuum systems a central vacuum system will not recycle dust and other potential allergy causing particles in the air of your home. The system works by filtering the air in your home through tubing placed behind the walls, and sucking in air through inlets in each room. This air is then expelled outside of your house and doesn’t allow those allergens to stay in the air inside.

Recent studies at the University of California have demonstrated that a central vacuum system can and will provide relief from discomfort and symptoms for asthma and allergy sufferers. What better reason could you have for investing in a central vacuum system? It’s a fully automated process so once you’ve had it installed you can forget about it and just enjoy the clean fresh air inside your home.


Advantages of a Central Vacuum System

A central vacuum cleaning system is a great choice for almost any home.  Modern central vacuum cleaning systems can be installed in most existing homes by a professional installer in less than a day without damaging your walls and they have many advantages over portable vacuum cleaners.

A central vacuum cleaning system is much more powerful than a portable vacuum so it does a far better job of picking up dirt, dust, mites, dander, and other debris.  The size and power of the motor in portable vacuum is necessarily limited to keep the weight of the vacuum down.

A large powerful motor would be too heavy for a portable vacuum cleaner.  A central vacuum cleaner does not have this problem.  The motor for a central vacuum cleaner is permanently installed in one place and can be as large as necessary for powerful vacuum performance.

Central vacuums are much more effective at cleaning due to these powerful motor and also because the exhaust and dust is directed outside the living area.  A portable vacuum works by attempting to capture the dust and dirt in a canister or bag and uses filters to try to limit the amount of dust and dirt exhausted back into the room.  The problem is that there is a limit to the efficiency of these systems and some dust and dirt will simply get stirred up and blown around the room.

A central vacuum does not have this issue.  All of the exhaust and dirt is sent to a central location outside the living area, typically in garage, storage area, or other space.  As a result, the air in your home is much cleaner when you use a central vacuum system.  Allergy sufferers in particular find that their symptoms are much reduced after installation of a central vacuum system.


Consider a Central Vacuum System

Once considered a high end luxury item, central vacuum systems have become more affordable and are now considered a cost effective home cleaning solution.  Prices of good quality portable vacuum cleaners have increased as more and more features have been added.   Meanwhile, the cost of a fully installed central vacuum system has declined.  The result is that the gap between the cost of a central vacuum system and a portable vacuum has decreased to the point where a central vacuum system should be seriously considered when purchasing a vacuum.

The initial cost of an installed central vacuum system will be several times the cost of a good quality portable vacuum cleaner, but a central vacuum will last far longer than any portable vacuum.  Central vacuum systems typically last at least ten to twenty years with minimal maintenance.

During that time, most portable vacuums will have been replaced many times making the total cost of the central vacuum system the same or less than purchasing several portable vacuum.  In addition, the central vacuum system increases the value of your home and provides far superior cleaning.

Central vacuum systems are not just for newly constructed homes.  In fact, most central vacuum systems are installed in existing homes.  An experienced professional vacuum installer can install a complete system in most homes in less than a day without having to destroy walls or any other damage.  Central vacuum systems are specifically designed for ease of installation in existing homes.

Some homeowners have even installed central vacuum systems themselves, but for an effective, powerful system that will look professional and last for years, it’s well worth the cost of professional installation.  Get estimates from two or three reputable central vacuum system contractors and make sure the contractor you choose is experienced and fully licensed and insured.

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