The Pros and Cons of a Whole House Vacuum Systems (User Review)

Built-in vacuum cleaner systems

Home cleaning technology

Unsure if installing a central vacuum system is worthwhile? Here's one homeowner's experience.

Sandi Klatt always considered her 94-year-old brick Victorian as perfect, but its two flights of stairs made cleaning something difficult. "I tried for years to get a housekeeper," says Klatt. "But as soon as they recognized they'd have to move a vacuum cleaner up and down often; they'd head straight out the door."

Klatt and her husband, Paul, played briefly with the idea of purchasing a vacuum for each floor of their Denver residence, "but the idea of owning three machines was ridiculous." So, they decided to install a whole house vacuum.

How a Whole House Vacuum Works

A whole house vacuum, also referred to as a central vacuum system, is an appliance that absorbs dirt through hidden 2-inch pipes down to a 12-gallon canister in the basement. Rather than maneuvering a massive, noisy, portable vacuum, they easily plug a lightweight, 30-foot hose into selected wall outlets, which automatically starts the vacuum's two motors.

The vacuum system has a 185-cubic-feet-per-minute capacity-two to three times that of a movable, no dust-spreading, exhaust. "We appreciate it," says Paul Klatt, "and I never foresaw saying that about a vacuum cleaner."

How Much Does a Whole House Vacuum Cost?

A whole house vacuum ranges between $1,500 for a system, including installation. In Canada and Scandinavia, most modern houses have installed central vacuums, yet in the country, they remain something strange, in part because of the steep buying price.

Advantages of a Central Vacuum System

  • Maintenance on the Unit is Minimal

Disposing of the paper filter bag once in six months, and changing the motor brushes once in three years is recommended.

  • Has a 6-year Warranty

Central vacuum systems have a longer warranty, whereas most movable ones last a year. Dealing with a larger motor, which is more durable compared to the smaller ones in portable machines, makes central-vacuum systems worth it.

  • They can be Retrofitted to Aged Houses

Most people think central vacuums are only for modern houses, but they can be retrofitted to aged residences, as the Klatt's can verify. With the right experts, where there's a wall, there's a solution.

  • Installation takes a Short Time and doesn't Damage the House

Our team spends one workday fitting about 100 feet of PVC pipe through walls, installing the hose outlet covers, and joining the low-voltage wires that signal the motors when to begin and end. The canister itself takes only 20 minutes to place on the basement wall. The rest is merely plugging its cord into an electric outlet. "I worried about the house being damaged during the installation, apart from one closet wall where the pipe shows, there wasn't any damage at all," says Sandi.

  • Cleaning is Easier and Faster

Central Vacuum Systems for sale

Easy central vacuum installation

Sandi can now easily clean two flights of stairs at a time. Although she's still looking for domestic help, her new housekeeper won't necessarily have to vacuum: "I’m having fun doing it myself,” she says.

Disadvantages of a Central Vacuum System

  • Big motors can Cause Some Unexpected Problems

You have to be cautious because unexpected things will go wrong.

  • Accidental Unit Damage

Moreover, there are many stories of kids trying to clean water out of a toilet, broken pieces that damage the unit. Get an optional wet-vac attachment that stops debris from reaching the pipes.

  • Noise

If you're beside the motor, it can sound like a jet taking off. Their model is designed to be silent; mufflers can be in-cooperated with others if necessary. At the nozzle end, in contrast, noise is minimal in all cases. The Klatts' old vacuum used to send their yellow Lab into a frenzy, but now Sandi can vacuum around a sleeping dog without waking it.

Central Vacuum System Parts: Filter Feeders

In the field of central vacuums, there are three methods of collecting the dirt:

  1. Swirl the air in the canister so that the dirt settles in the bottom and spits it outside the house. They are referred to as the cyclonic types.
  2. Put inverted filters above the canister to suck in the dust but allow dirt to settle.
  3. Suck dirt and dust into a bag, much like a portable vacuum

References and Resources