How to Choose a Central Vacuum System

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Central vacuum systems first came about in the early 20th century and are still a common choice today. They are desirable because you don't have to haul a heavy vacuum up and down stairs. A hose and the appropriate attachment are all you need. Bags do not need to be changed as often, and the systems have good suction with plenty of attachments. These systems are easier to install in new homes but can be installed in older homes, especially if the home has crawl spaces or easy access to the basement.

  • Consider the size of your home and narrow down the vacuum search to systems that will easily accommodate the amount of square feet you need to vacuum. This measurement is called the "waterlift" in central vacuum systems. Systems are categorized by their waterlift. For example, a house that is 2,500 square feet will need a system with a 105 to 120 waterlift.

  • Look at the attachments that come with the system and compare them to your needs. If you have pets or children, you may need more attachments, such as those designed to pick up pet hair. If you have a lot of hardwood floors, you will need a bare floor attachment.

  • Ask about the warranty and servicing that comes with the system. You do not want to buy a vacuum system that is hard to repair if it breaks down or if you can't get your money back when you have serious problems. Find out if the company has a service center near you.

  • Compare reviews of the systems you are interested in. Look at both consumer reviews, professional reviews and ratings. Energy ratings and performance ratings are available for different systems. Consumer Reports is a good place to start. Many stores that sell online also have sections for consumers to write feedback.

  • Look at the systems that appeal to you and compare how much they cost. This is usually the deciding factor. Generally, the more expensive the system is, the better it is, although prices vary from region to region.

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