The first consumer publications on central vacuums
came out in 2004, which means all machines were tested in
2003. This particular publication was generally not accepted
in the central vacuum industry as accurate. There was a very
small amount of vacuums tested at this time, therefore
limiting the results they could of had. A lot of variables
such as filtration type, bag or bagless style, quietness,
etc. were left out of the equation. This means any vacuums
that were featured in this publication were not compared to
all the other central vacuums on the market and can be
misleading. This industry changes rapidly with stronger,
more quieter vacuum units and with more advanced technology
going into central vacuums, consumer report magazines simply
can't keep up with the changes. Our staff continuously
attends vacuum conventions and seminars to make sure we are
aware of all the latest advances in the central vacuum
industry. The question is, do you want to make your
investment based on something a writer for a magazine wrote
or from the advice from a central vacuum expert? With over
30 years of experience, we eat and breath this business.
Although the different consumer magazines can be a good
guide to purchasing a good central vacuum, many individual
needs are not taken into consideration. For example, if you
have a child that suffers from asthma you may need a certain
filtration. Another example would be the sound level of a
central vacuum. You may need to install the unit in a
interior closet, requiring a quiet unit. They also do not
talk about the units track record of service or repairs.
These are just some examples of individual needs that make a
in depth comparison chart a better guide when purchasing a
We were approached in the
fall of 2009 by two popular and leading consumer
magazines because of our unbiased, comprehensive and
truthful knowledge of the central vacuum industry. They
wanted the most of complete overview of the central
vacuum industry so they could form their own opinion
based on thousands of hours of research. They actually
purchased the majority of the vacuums they tested. Seven
of the 13 units that were purchased from us were to be
tested for future publications. They
choose our site to
buy that day, and when we got that phone call we felt
like we were on cloud 9.
There are 10 universal
factors that go into these ratings. These factors are power,
warranty, quietness, convenience, longevity, durability,
maintenance, state-of-the-art materials, number of service
calls and best dollar value.
hear sales people
make many claims such as..
Efficiency At All Times, No Loss of Power, No
Filters To Clean,
Always Constant, No Bags To Buy,
Always Cleaning With Full
Selecting the Right System
When choosing a built-in central
vacuum system, the process begins with the power unit. Power units
vary in size, motors, separation techniques and filtration methods.
All these elements directly affect the overall performance and
cleaning power of any central vacuum system.
In order to evaluate and compare the
different manufactured power units in the marketplace, it is
important to know and understand the industry's standards by which
they are measured and assessed.
Amps represent the amount of electrical current consumed by the
motor during use.
This implies that the more electricity the motor uses, the more
powerful it is. However, this is not necessarily true. A motor that
uses more electrical current does not always mean the current is
being used more efficiently. Amps has nothing to do with the power
of a central vacuum. Period.
Horsepower measures the power of a motor. (Central vacuums
are not rated in horsepower)
Horsepower can vary according to voltages, motor loads and
temperature variances, and is not an accurate measure of how well a
vacuum system will pick up dirt.
Airwatts is a combination
of water lift (suction) and CFM (airflow). This is the
truest measure of cleaning power. 97% of all central vacuum
manufactures measure the power of their units by Airwatts.
Maximum Airwatts is recognized by the American Society of
Testing and Materials (ASTM) as the best way to measure the
actual cleaning power of a central vacuum system. Other
misleading terms such as Airflow, CFM's and Waterlift are
not a true measurement of power, but rather part of an
equation that equals Airwatts.
Airwatts is the
only recognized testing method as set forth by the American Society
of Testing and Materials. F558-98 Standard Test Method for
Measuring Air Performance Characteristics of Vacuum Cleaners that
tests the actual (suction) cleaning power of a central vacuum.
measures the suction strength of a central vacuum motor.
Essentially, it tells how much "pull" or "lift" power the
motor has. This measurement is always taken at its maximum
value, the 0" inch orifice (sealed vacuum) where suction is
at it's greatest. Since this measurement is taken from the
0" orifice, it is very misleading. This measurement does not
take into account piping, hoses or accessories etc., thus
giving a false measurement of power. Often referred to as
Inches or Waterlift or Vacuum, Suction is vital to overall
system performance since it is the "pull power" that
maintains Airflow though the complex network of vacuum pipe,
hose and accessories. While Airflow is necessary for a
vacuum cleaner to work, suction creates the lift and
velocity of air which sweeps dirt away.
Waterlift is NOT a true measure of suction, however it
is a form of measurement and part of the equation when
measuring Air Watts. This is the most misleading measurement
of suction power. Please note certain companies will inflate
this number to influence a consumer by making the suction
power appear stronger - Wrong!
measures the maximum volume of air the motor is capable of
moving and works in tandem with "Suction". Maximum CFM
ratings occur when the vacuum system if operating without
restrictions to airflow. In normal vacuuming conditions,
hoses, cleaning attachments, bags, filters and accumulated
dust create restrictions to airflow, reducing the CFM.
Airflow can be a bit confusing however, since performance
measurements are taken from the motor and do not factor any
resistance found in a typical central vacuum system.
Filtration, piping, hoses and accessories all restrict and
reduce the amount of actual Airflow a system has. While
Airflow is important to system performance, Suction or the
"pulling of air" maintains the Airflow velocity necessary to
sweep dirt and debris away at the hose end where vacuuming
CFM alone is NOT a good
indicator of vacuum cleaning performance, or a true measure
of suction, however it is a form of measurement and part of
the equation when measuring Air Watts. This is a misleading
measurement of suction power. Please note certain companies
will lower this number in order to inflate the waterlift.
This is done to influence a consumer by making the suction
power appear stronger - Wrong!
What is an airwatt anyway? This is the truest measurement of suction power.
An "airwatt" is derived by
mathematically combining two crucial performance measures for any
vacuum. These are "Waterlift", which measures the power of a vacuum,
and "CFM" - Cubic Feet of Air Moved per Minute. Both measures are
important to the performance of your vacuum. In order to get a full
picture when comparing two vacuum units, it is always advisable to
compare all three parameters.
is the only recognized testing method as set forth by
Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM)* F558-98
Standard Test Method for Measuring
Air Performance Characteristics of Vacuum Cleaners that
tests the actual cleaning power of a vacuum.
HEPA rated media helps remove microscopically small dirt
particles, much more so than conventional filter materials. The very
best filtration in the central vacuum industry. Ideal for allergy
and asthma sufferers, a must-have for every central vacuum.
the right power unit in your home is critical to the overall
performance of a central vacuum system, and insures you the
customer having total satisfaction.
POWER UNIT SELECTION
We recommend the power unit based on the size of a home, the
longest run of tubing and the number of inlet valves. These figures
are estimates, and need to be used in conjunction with the actual
tube layout and valve placement.
RECOMMENDED NUMBER OF INLET VALVES
When determining the number of inlet valves it is important to
provide maximum coverage with a minimum number of inlet valves.
However, there is not a maximum number of valves per unit. As a
general rule of thumb, the approximate number of inlet valves needed
for a home can
be calculated by dividing the total square footage by 600
(if a 30-foot hose is being used).
THE LONGEST RUN OF TUBING
Excessively long tube runs can affect performance. Therefore,
the length of tubing running from the exhaust location to the
furthest inlet valve from the power unit should be no longer than
the recommended amount.
||Built-in systems are
hard to install.
||Built-in systems can
be installed during construction of a new home or can
easily be retrofitted in existing homes! It's extremely
easy to install. Any central vacuum unit may be
installed virtually anywhere in your home: a basement,
garage (preferable), closet pantry, or a crawl space.
Most companies prefer using a bagged system versus
bagless for more hygienic reasons.
||Installation can't be
completed in one day.
||Installation of the
thin wall PVC piping and the PVC fittings, installing
the wall inlet valves, running the low voltage wire to
the valves and mounting the power unit can be
accomplished in most homes in less than one day!
vacuum cleaning systems are a rich person's indulgence.
designing and function continues to bring greater
convenience and superior cleaning results for
considerably less money than might be expected, in many
cases for less than the cost of portables.
Vacuum PVC Pipe vs
Plumbing PVC Pipe
100% of the
companies in America will tell you; never use
regular plumbing pvc
when installing a central vacuum system in your home. Plumbing pvc
inside wall surfaces are too rough and elbows are too tight, and
will provide insufficient air flow. Central vacuum pvc pipe has a
thin wall and will prevent clogging for many years to come. This
thin wall is a schedule 20 gauge as apposed to a schedule 40 gauge.
We will only sell you the highest quality virgin thin wall pvc
tubing (new style easy fit bell ends). NO REGRINDS. We
only use top quality fittings which are made in stainless steel
molds and are 25% heavier than inferior fittings.
of the manufacturers listed on this page are sponsoring, or
affiliated with Think Vacuums or Thinkvacuums.com