How to Choose a Central Vacuum


Upgrade to the convenience of a central vacuum and say goodbye to dragging that heavy canister behind you from room to room. You'll purchase a central vacuum unit to be mounted within your home -- often in the basement or garage -- a 30-foot hose, some inner-wall conduit and a number of wall hose outlets to accommodate the vacuum hose in different areas of your house. Determine your needs in order to select the best unit for your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Your budget
  • Square footage of your home
  • Blueprint or diagram of your home's layout
  • Masking tape
  • Pencil
  • 30-foot piece of yarn or string
  • Brochures or websites describing two or more prominent brands of central vacuums

Assess Your Needs

  • Look at your home's square footage. If it is 2,500 square feet or fewer, you will need four inlets for the hose.

  • Stretch out your 30-foot segment of yarn or string to represent the length of the vacuum hose. Tape one end to the wall about 6 inches off the floor where the vacuum hose outlet will go. Hold the other end of the string and walk around to determine your ability to reach the corners of the room from that inlet location. If not, move the taped end to a more convenient place. Mark this location with a pencil. Repeat this process in other rooms of your house, careful to determine the reach of the hose between rooms.

  • On a diagram of your floorplan or a blueprint, make a notation with your pencil to correspond with each inlet spot you marked in your home using the string as a guide. This will help your electrician know where to place the inlets as you desire.

  • Refer to the brochures or websites of the major brands manufacturing residential central vacuum systems and compare their base pricing to your budget. Check to make sure the central unit, hose, inlets, powerhead and attachments are included in the price listed. You may wish to read online customer reviews of the models you are considering as well.

  • If there is a vendor nearby, visit the retail store and try out several models on display to see which ones you like that are within your budget. If there isn't a local dealer, ask around at work or among your friends to see if they have a recommendation to share -- they might even let you drop by and try their vacuum.

  • Compare the pricing and features you found from at least two brands and judge which is best for your needs based on your budget and the number of inlets you require to clean your house conveniently.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask about the warranty and repair policies on all the models you consider.
  • Make sure a licensed electrician installs your inlets and central vacuum system.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images Images Jupiterimages/ Images
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