Thread Number: 34248  /  Tag: Brand New Vacuum Cleaners
Central Vac vs Portable Vac
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Post# 371105   4/20/2017 at 06:33 (429 days old) by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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Would love to hear your views on a Central vacuum system. Pros and cons vs a Portable vac. 😊

Post# 371110 , Reply# 1   4/20/2017 at 07:54 (429 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
I like mine.

Some think they clog, but as the hose enters the wall, the piping is wider. You can make them clog, if you try to use them as a shop vac, or suck up socks, etc.
Still, mine has a detachable elbow before the power unit so I can clean it out.
It is quiet, strong, requires no bags, and only an occasional emptying and brushing off of the polyester filter.
One can be had for the price of a Kirby, etc., and can be retrofitted into most homes. The can be installed in a closet, basement, or garage. You don't need the more costly high voltage valves for a power head either.
Hoses come in non electric, the 24 volt power unit total control type, electric with a pig tail for a powerhead that plugs into a wall outlet, total control or not, as well as the inclusive high voltage connection. The hose doesn't really tangle, because the handle end swivels.
The hose does get caught up on corners occasionally, but no worse than a corded vacuum. A full length hose sock is available to protect furniture and wall trim.
For stair case cleaning, it is the best because you don't have to stand the vac up on a step. Also for cleaning above kitchen cabinets and the cob webs in ceiling corners, etc.
Maybe the Canavac brand from Canada is available in the UK now. I know Beam is. They offer several two and three stage models with various attachment packages. Their power nozzles are like Wesselwerk, but most CV hoses and kits are interchangeable with other brands. Electrolux is the exception because some of their hose and wand ends are oval shaped.

Post# 371111 , Reply# 2   4/20/2017 at 08:13 (429 days old) by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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Thanks Mike. I've just been looking at MD central vacs. They are available in the UK.

I've also seen a hide a hose system which looks good but I don't think the hose is electrified.

Did you fit your system yourself?

Post# 371121 , Reply# 3   4/20/2017 at 09:42 (429 days old) by n0oxy (Saint Louis Missouri, United States)        
central vacuum and hide a hose

The hide a hose system does not use electric hoses, if you wanted an electric power nozzle, you could purchase the Volt nozzle, it's also sold as the hide a hose CX 1000. I think the charger will work with 220 volts since it's a switching power supply, you would just need an adapter to convert the plug.
I like central vacuums, they are more powerful than portable vacuums, they are also quieter since you are not carrying the motor with you while you are cleaning. If you really want a powerful vacuum, get a central vacuum unit and attach the hose directly to it without using pipes, works extremely well. Or, if you want to install a central vacuum with pipes, I would say go for it, you should have good results.

Post# 371122 , Reply# 4   4/20/2017 at 09:49 (429 days old) by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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Can you connect the eletrified hose directly to the power unit? You don't need to use pipes and inlet valves?

Post# 371125 , Reply# 5   4/20/2017 at 10:13 (429 days old) by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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You would need a very long hose to reach the upstairs floor?

Post# 371130 , Reply# 6   4/20/2017 at 11:09 (429 days old) by Kirbysthebest (Wichita, KS)        

For multi-level homes you usually install an additional outlet to service that floor.

Many homes can suffice with one outlet per level. My Uncle's house has one on each end of the house, as it is quite large on both floors. An additional is in the garage for car cleanout. They also have a vac-u-pan, dust pan in the kitchen where you sweep your sweepings against the baseboard under the cabinet and step on the switch and everything is sucked away.

BTW--My Aunt was always tripping over the hose, and broke her arm twice. They now just use portable vacuums.

Post# 371131 , Reply# 7   4/20/2017 at 11:13 (429 days old) by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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Whoops. 😁

Post# 371135 , Reply# 8   4/20/2017 at 12:47 (429 days old) by n0oxy (Saint Louis Missouri, United States)        
electric hose

I actually have several central vacuum units in my apartment, a few have a built in utility valve, for the other ones, you just attach a utility valve to the intake. The electric hose I have has a cord that plugs in to an outlet to provide power for a power nozzle. Hose is 35 feet long.

Post# 371137 , Reply# 9   4/20/2017 at 13:02 (429 days old) by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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Well try not to fall over it like Harley's aunt did :)

Post# 371153 , Reply# 10   4/20/2017 at 17:05 (429 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        

I did install mine. I don't know if any newer models can accomadate an electric hose directly at the power unit.
Installing inlet valves on a second floor requires a hole saw and drilling through the sole plate in the ceiling between walls. Many new construction homes can come prepped for a CV system. All the pipes and 24/120 volt valves are there.
It does save having to cut into the walls and patch them afterward.
I live in a single story house. I put the unit in the garage, and the 35 foot hose reaches all rooms and ceiling corners with an extension wand from the great room wall in the center of the house.
The first hose I had 23 years ago was an MD total control hose. Kids are hard on things, and the hose finally tore at the handle swivel and was unrepairable. I replaced it with a Canavac gas pump style total control hose.

Post# 371163 , Reply# 11   4/20/2017 at 20:36 (428 days old) by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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What I like about central vacuums better than portable is first off, I find them more easier to use like vacuuming the stairs for example. Another thing is that they are more quieter to use (If you are just vacuuming inside the house instead of out in the garage). I also like how it can be emptied either once or twice a year (Depending on the usage). They are very powerful because they use bigger motors and some models can be put with two motors in the unit which is unbelievable (You can actually have either two or three people vacuuming with those two motor central vacuums at once). And I like the warranties that they offer.

Also depending on the filtration that you would like, some models like the Simplicity for example can be used as either bagged or bagless.

Post# 371178 , Reply# 12   4/21/2017 at 02:33 (428 days old) by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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I like the fact that a Central Vac is powerful and exhausts the dust outside the home so it's great for allergy sufferers and it has a huge bag that doesn't need changing often.

It's the 35ft hose i'm not sure about.

Post# 371183 , Reply# 13   4/21/2017 at 06:56 (428 days old) by Kirbysthebest (Wichita, KS)        
There is debate about CVs

And allergy sufferers. Though you would think by exhausting outside so say should the allergies. When taking into account the air infiltration, or outside air coming into the house to replace that which was just exhausted. Your gains are negligible in the cleaner air department.

Post# 371185 , Reply# 14   4/21/2017 at 07:17 (428 days old) by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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I did think about that. The bag in the power unit will trap a lot of allergens but some will escape. I guess it depends which way the wind is blowing at the time. The answer my friend is blowing in the wind 😁

Post# 371190 , Reply# 15   4/21/2017 at 09:05 (428 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
I suffer from allergies

and that's why I got my CV system. I noticed a difference almost within the first week. Hepa filters are great, but they don't exhaust odors from pet dander and hair which breed bacteria.
Outside air enters your house every time you open a door anyway.
We've had two large dogs and I was allergic to both of their dander, but the system helped. I also noticed less house dust.
I'm also allergic to most air freshener scents, and Febreeze makes me asthmatic.
I'll take fresh air from outside anyday, besides the hvac media filter on the air handler cleans it once it's in the house.
I was able to stop using my inhaler.

Post# 371196 , Reply# 16   4/21/2017 at 10:49 (428 days old) by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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Yes using a good filtration vacuum cleaner such as Miele plus an air purifier I use a Blueair which are excellent. This combination will definitely help allergy sufferers.

Post# 371205 , Reply# 17   4/21/2017 at 13:06 (428 days old) by dysonman1 (undisclosed)        

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I love my Central Vacuum. It's a Vacuflo cyclonic, and all Vacuflo cyclonics are vented outside.

I have a hide-a-hose, sixty feet long, and a Volt power nozzle. I have a Vroom under the kitchen since, and two Wally-Flex units (laundry room and over workbench).

All the dirt I suck up leaves where I am at that moment, never to return. I can't hear the machine run (it's in the garage). If a moth or bug enters the house, I suck it up and send it to the separator. If the cat has a hair ball and throws up, just suck it up. Three damp Viva paper towels to clean the inside of the hose and I'm good to go.

I clean my front porch and back balcony with it. Rocks and leaves don't make any difference to it. It's nothing like using a portable vacuum

Best of all is there's NO SMELL of last week's dirt. True, the Vacuflo exhausts about 2% of the fine dust it pick up, but who cares? It's vented outside.

Mine is a dual motor unit, I can use two hoses if I want (the hide-a-hose, plus a hose for the three electravalves if I wish to use two hoses at once). Sounds strange, but we actually did clean with two hoses at once to get the house cleaned before Thanksgiving dinner in record time.

Since my model is a commercial machine, it holds six months worth of dirt, dog hair, fur balls, dryer lint, rocks, grass, leaves, dog sick, everything. No bag, so I just empty it into the trash can before the trash man comes. No cost, no loss of suction, no loss of airflow, and constant 130 inches of water lift to clean my house. My machine is almost 40 years old now, and on the original motors.

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Post# 371208 , Reply# 18   4/21/2017 at 13:29 (428 days old) by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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You have a great system there Tom!

I do like the Hide a Hose system. The Volt looks like the ideal partner. Combining the power of the central vac with the direct air motor in the Volt plus the cyclonic action with no loss of suction/airflow.

Sounds great to me!

The only drawback would be the emptying of the Power Unit. I'd imagine a very big dust cloud similar to a Sahara desert sand storm :)

Post# 371229 , Reply# 19   4/22/2017 at 02:46 (427 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Dust Storm---that's why I DON'T like bagless central machines-will take BAGGED everytime!!!My Mom used to have a bagless NuTone-hated dumping the thing-had to take a shower after.Good the central unit Tom has is holding up-at the vac shop here they get many DEAD units-mostly 'Lux-the dust kills their motors.

Post# 371230 , Reply# 20   4/22/2017 at 02:49 (427 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

For the carpets I have---I still like my Kirbys or Royals over the central systems-the centrals do work close with the Volt nozzle.

Post# 371235 , Reply# 21   4/22/2017 at 06:54 (427 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
No dust storm.

I do it out doors over the trash can. better than a smelly bag anyday.

Post# 371238 , Reply# 22   4/22/2017 at 07:28 (427 days old) by Ocscott3085 (DMV)        

I absolutely love our central vacuum with hide a hose. Like Tom, we have a hybrid system with about 9ish standard wall outlets and a centrally located hide a hose outlet on our main level. Unlike most people, we really don't use the vacpan in our kitchen island as often as I thought we would. It's too far back under the toekick to be useful with a swiffer or broom. The Vacuflo Edge attachment kit with its Wessel Werk nozzle does an incredible job on wall to wall carpeting. Most of our house is hardwood floors and wool area rugs so they usually get cleaned with the HAH and Volt combination. Love just being able to pull out the hose, clean quickly and suck it all up back in the wall. I grew up with a central vacuum system and missed it when I bought my first home without it. When we built this home, central vac was a non-negotiable. As other posters have mentioned, I still do use an upright on the carpeting if I'm only doing one room because it can be a little faster.
In regards to bags vs. bagless - I've had both and strongly prefer the bagged option. My parents Silentmaster has the open bag design and my Flo Master has the closed bag. Definitely prefer the closed bag!
I think it's so much faster to clean hard surfaces and above the floors with the central vac than a canister. In my first townhouse my parents let me take their Miele canister which was a powerful machine that did a nice job. I didn't love the short hose but it worked well for my needs. In our new house, I supplemented the central vac system with a Miele Cat and Dog and there's just no comparison - the central vac is just a lot easier to maneuver around the house when cleaning dog hair off the sectional sofa, dusting the table tops, fireplace mantle, dog beds, etc. I ended up selling the Miele Cat and Dog because nobody in the house would use it. However, I did purchase a Miele C1 Homecare Compact canister vacuum for our beach house because it has mainly hardwood floors. I just took it down there last weekend and it did a great job. The hose seemed longer than the stock Olympus hose and also seemed more flexible. We will still keep the Sanitaire upright there for the bedroom carpets but the Miele is fantastic for everything else.

Post# 371242 , Reply# 23   4/22/2017 at 11:00 (427 days old) by dysonman1 (undisclosed)        

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You should have been there the first time I emptied the Vacuflo. OMG. I dumped the 30 gallon full dirt container into an empty trash can in the garage. Talk about a dust storm. I had to go inside and take a shower and wash m hair. It was god-awful.

When we moved to our new house almost two years ago, one of my best friends, Evan Rogers, to whom I sold my vacuum shop when the Vacuum Museum was built, was doing the install of the old Power Unit into the "new to us" home. He had all kinds of trash from the installation, pieces of piping, bags that stuff came in, etc. We tested out the installation by sucking up damp paper towels (the same thing as Tornado Cloths). Since he also put in three ElectraValves, as well as a garage valve and two Wally Flex units, we decided to test the machine out with dirt.

I have other vacuums in my home that I also use. Some take disposable bags, like my Kirby. We tore apart those bags, and sucked up the dirt into the Central Vac. It took the dirt like a champ, but then we decided to empty the Vacuflo.

Since the trash can was 9/10 full of other trash, emptying the central vac didn't result in a dust cloud. I kind of 'poured' the dirt on top of all the stuff in the trash can, and not even my hands were dirty after. Maybe because the dirt didn't 'hit' the bottom of the trash can.

At a vacuum convention two years ago, many people came over to my home for a Cocktail Party. Half way through, I got the bright idea to have all my guest go outside, and watch the exhaust vent as I sucked up three full vacuum bags of dirt "at once' as fast as I could get the dirt to go into the Hide-A-Hose. Which of course is NOT what the system was designed to handle. It belched all kinds of fine dust outside, many of my friends caught the expulsion on their cell phone cameras. Like demons escaping from hell, the black cloud of dust just shot out the eves of the house, where the exhaust vent was. Everyone came back in laughing, (or was that chocking, I don't remember), and had another drink. Good times. In good fun, they ripped me apart for my 'dust belching' central vac for days. Gotta love your friends.

Post# 371344 , Reply# 24   4/25/2017 at 10:57 (424 days old) by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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Haha sounds like fun Tom. Can I come to your next cocktail party? I'll have a "screaming orgasm" 😁

I'm seriously considering fitting a central vac. We have Modern Day available in the UK.

Wish the Volt was available over here I wouldn't need an electrified hose then.

Not sure how many people have a central vac in the UK but I've yet to see one on my travels 😊

Post# 371724 , Reply# 25   5/3/2017 at 04:07 (416 days old) by myles_v (Fredericksburg, VA)        

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I like my central vacuum quite a bit when I'm really doing a deep clean of the house top to bottom. I typically use it to do the whole house whenever I mop the hard floors, and I use an upright every other day or so for general cleaning.

Like someone said earlier, it's nothing like using a portable. You can suck in anything dry that will fit through the end of the hose. I've sucked up towels, plastic shopping bags, napkins, etc.

Post# 371726 , Reply# 26   5/3/2017 at 06:17 (416 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Towels,plastic bags,shopping bags,napkins???The central vacuum is NOT for trash these CAN and WILL eventually clog your homes vacuum plumbing!!!Don't do it!!Put those in your trash can.Also if these make to the unit-they will fill up your bag or bin quickly.

Post# 371757 , Reply# 27   5/3/2017 at 20:50 (415 days old) by n0oxy (Saint Louis Missouri, United States)        
the volt in Europe

Sebo4me, I bet you could get the volt to work there, Tom could probably say whether or not this would work for sure, but the charger is a switching power supply and those can usually handle voltage ranges of 100 to 240. The only thing you would need is an adapter to convert the U.S. plug to the shape of your outlet. If you want to try to get one, they are great nozzles for sure.

Post# 371763 , Reply# 28   5/4/2017 at 00:54 (415 days old) by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        
Sounds to me....

like there is no downside to a good CV system if you have the time to put it in yourself and/or the $$$ to have it put in.  From what I'm hearing they will last nearly a lifetime.


I know nothing about installing them, but I am a plumber and was horrified at the slap-stick way the CV system was put in for my parents. Granted, air is different than water when it comes to drainage and flow...especially when forced through piping by large motors. Still, I noticed bends/fittings that could have been made easier for air to flow with less restrictions if the installers really understood how bends and fittings work together. Using two 45's, for example, can make all the flow difference in the world compared to a short 90. And a combination flows a lot better than a san tee etc. Maybe it's not critical with motor driven CV's.


It seemed like the fitting used were ABS sanitary plumbing/vent fittings or something very similar. PVC is probably used more back east as in the plumbing trade.



Post# 371767 , Reply# 29   5/4/2017 at 06:21 (415 days old) by sebo4me (Cardiff)        

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Thanks guys for all your help. I am going to fit an MD central vac in the cupboard. I'm looking forward to using it.

Hope I don't drill through a metal pipe or electric cable! This happened to me in the past. The metal and live wire detector I used was as much use a pork chop in a synagogue!

Post# 371826 , Reply# 30   5/6/2017 at 04:05 (413 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

MD is a GREAT choice--hope it works for you-they are quiet and powerful,well made.

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