Whole house vacuum systems

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  • Whole house vacuum systems
  • Premier Icon michaelbowden
    Subscriber

    My Mum and Dad put one in their new bulid. They seem very happy with it.

    Premier Icon cheese@4p
    Subscriber

    I am curious as to what it is.
    Please can someone explain?

    TooTall
    Member

    They always struck me as excessive for the job. Also, leaving all that mucky and dirt-infested pipes in your voids doesn’t seem too hygenic.

    Liftman
    Member

    I am curious as to what it is.
    Please can someone explain?

    Central vac system, vacum main unit in the garage or utility room and piped to outlets throughout the house, then you have a hose assembley that you just plug into the outlet which switches the hoover on, popular in America

    We had one in a house we rented whilst living in Holland. They are really good. Unit and bag were in the attic. System activated automatically when you slotted the hoses in.

    Forgot it was there most of the time until we needed to empty it, but the bag was huge – unit as a whole was about the size of a standard hot water tank. System was really powerful and easy to use.

    It was quite a small place though. If you have a lot of large rooms, you’d either need lots of hose or lots of inlets.

    Would be very difficult to retrofit due to the plumbing involved I’d imagine, so doing it on a new build makes sense. The place we rented was a converted 17th C barn which had been completely gutted.

    Also, leaving all that mucky and dirt-infested pipes in your voids doesn’t seem too hygenic.

    The one we had continued to run for a short time after you disconnected the hose. Presumably to “clear the tubes” so to speak.. put it this way, I wouldn’t want to reverse the polarity on the thing!

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Wow never heard of that before. Not sure I understand the point though?

    If I understand correctly, instead of a relatively small portable vacuum cleaner you have a mass of pipes and an enormous motor and bag in the loft, plus reels of cable??

    What happens when you accidentally hoover up that essential bolt, diamond engagement ring or favourite pet? 😀

    While I’m at it….

    These seem to have got cheaper and seem affordable on a new build (where you don’t pay the VAT).

    Anyone ever had one?

    instead of a small portable vacuum cleaner

    a remarkably heavy object that drags around behind you bashing into things and knocking the paint of doors and skirting boards, dragging an electric cable behind it.

    you have a mass of pipes and an enormous motor and bag in the loft,

    Depends on your house layout BUT potentially a pipe that runs centrally from top to bottom with an outlet on each floor (maybe with a couple of spurs)
    Motor and bag I saw wasn’t that large.

    plus reels of cable??

    a relatively light hose.

    At least that seems to be the sales pitch. No weight to pull around, noise is removed from where you’re cleaning – as is the dust and air. Vac’s used to chuck a reasonable about of fine dust back out into the room your cleaning (though they’re much better these days).

    My questions are –
    – do they work (ie do you get a decent amount of suction
    – do they break?
    – is dragging the hose around (they seem to sell them in lengths from about 7m up to about 15m) just as heavy, awkward and destructive as dragging a vacuum cleaner around.

    mattjevans
    Member

    My wifes dyson works in the whole house and doesnt require pulling the walls apart if anything goes wrong

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    I dont have one (and frankly never really considered one in the barn when we built it) but I can recommend these guys http://cvcdirect.co.uk/index.html who started out in central vacuum cleaners (hence their name) but also do MHRV (mechanical heat recovery systems). A guy there was really helpful helping me specify and plan one of their ITHO ventilation systems.

    I suppose it does smack of a solution to a problem that never existed, but I guess the main advantage is that you have masses more power than you would with a portable vacuum and less stuff to lug around while you’re hoovering. The cylinder on these things is huge.

    You don’t have any cable. Just lots of flexy hose running up through the voids in the wall. And lightweight hose with a brush attachment for when you are doing the vacuuming. If I remember correctly the hose was about 3.5″ diameter so you’d have to be going some or seriously “experimenting” to get anything stuck up there.

    You can still get to the bag if you hoover up anything vital.

    Can imagine it would be a complete PITA to fix if you did get a blockage or a hose wore out though. Depends on the layout of the house though – ours was all running up through a central pillar with discreet access panels on each floor.

    Best thing, if you are clumsy oaf in the kitcken like me is the automatic dustpan feature :-):

    packer
    Member

    What sort of cost are these things for a small/simple system?

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    here you go sprocket:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/150679037156

    I am slightly embarrassed to say that I have one of these in the kitchen. In my defence it’s a stone-floored, 60′ x 15′ ft room, and we have two young boys who cant keep their cheerios in their mouths or bowls. 😳

    It does make it easy to do a quick brush up. And for £15 it didnt break the bank…

    Just remembered – ours had an exterior outlet to the outside (bit like the one on a kitchen or bathroom extractor) so any dust generated by the system went outside rather than back into the house so presumably less dust is also an advantage.

    mt
    Member

    Just suck it an see.

    igmc

    Premier Icon nano
    Subscriber

    Beam systems are very good. Only needed one part replacing in nearly 30 years at my old mans place.

    New motor at £85. Not bad

    jfletch
    Member

    – is dragging the hose around (they seem to sell them in lengths from about 7m up to about 15m) just as heavy, awkward and destructive as dragging a vacuum cleaner around.

    This shirely?

    Our little Dyson is not really much bigger than a hose attachment on its own, has a ball so its easy not to bash things and I’d imagine an electric cable is a lot easier to drag about than a hose thats wide enough for all the gunk that gets sucked up.

    Premier Icon sweaman2
    Subscriber

    Had on in a house we rented in the USA – hated it. The suction just didn’t seem as good as a dyson. The “snake” as it came to be known was even more of pain to store / use than a conventional cleaner. Ended up actually buying a normal one to use instead. Personally will never have another.

    I have one of these in the kitchen

    Was it hidden?

    If I wanted an alternative to a normal vacuum cleaner I reckon I’d start looking at Roomba’s or something similar rather than a big system that needs to be built into the house.

    messiah
    Member

    Next door neighbour fitted one when they gutted the house. I’ve no idea who installed it or if it works well but I could ask their cleaner as it is she who uses it twice a week 😆

    It’s our cleaner who has destroyed our current skirting boards and doors. A *lot* of paint transferred to the hoover casing.

    Beam are now owned and marketed as Electrolux

    jp-t853
    Member

    They work very well and can be reto fitted to houses although this is best done with the unit in the attic. The problem with putting the unit in the attic is that occassionally vacuums motors set on fire and by the time you know about it there will be a lot of damage done.

    Having the vac unit in the garage is great as it takes the dust out of the living areas.

    Blockages do not occur as the main ducting pipework is typically 50mm and the junction in to the wall is 32mm. The pipework will never wear out either.

    The best bit is that they are nearly silent so you don’t upset the kids when they are watching telly.

    Premier Icon Stoner
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    deadlydarcy – Member

    Was it hidden?

    Functional, inexpensive and discrete. What’s not to like? 😉

    Premier Icon jambalaya
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    We had central vac in the states 20 years ago – personally I thought it was a gimmic with a massive amount to go wrong.

    A normal vacuum works fine

    @simmons – you just had a bad cleaner, you should have fired him/her more quickly.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    I suppose it does smack of a solution to a problem that never existed, but I guess the main advantage is that you have masses more power than you would with a portable vacuum and less stuff to lug around while you’re hoovering.

    @Sproketjockey – my take is you need more masses power because the vacuum motor is so far away from the hose, it’s usable power that matters, ie at the pick-up. To me the selling point of central vac is you don’t have the vacuum to drag/push around.

    I’m a fan of simple and a £100 Henry does the job, you can replace it many times over for the cost of central vac and you are getting a new motor and the benefit of any technology improvements anytime you want. With central vac how do you clean the car ? IMO you need a normal vacuum too een if you had central vac.

    PS Don’t you just love STW, a rant on hoovering !

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    They won’t be any more powerful than a Dyson (other hoovers are available) as the limit of suck is 1013mb atmospheric pressure (mean sea level). Also, for carpets, a motorised brush bar thing is pretty useful and most of the house systems don’t have integrated power for a brush on the end of the hose.

    TooTall
    Member

    It’s our cleaner who has destroyed our current skirting boards and doors.

    First world problem.

    Get a vac with anti-bumping bits on it. Or take the re-painting costs out of her wages. That’ll sort her.

    jota180
    Member

    Oh the [strike]ironing[/strike] hoovering

    johndoh
    Member

    Vacuuming!!!!!!

    BurnBob
    Member

    Parents have the system installed in their house which was a new build 5 years ago. Works a treat. 2 outlets on each floor with a long hose which you plug in which then fires up the motor. The central unit is stored in the garage. It’s a bit strange at first as someone could be hoovering whilst you watch the telly cos its almost silent. Their one has a neat feature in the kitchen where you sweep everything towards a bit on the kickbord and then kick a switch and everything gets sucked up! Gimmicky at first but still going strong. Theirs came with a maintenance contract so a company services it each year.

    a £100 Henry does the job

    But really not very well. Katie has one as a workshop vac. The Miele Cat&Dog cylinder we have for the house is in a different class to the extent that it rarely gets used on full power.

    motorised brush bar thing

    The Miele’s air powered one seems to work well enough.

    That said, the Miele has a 2200w motor which seems much more powerful than the ‘whole house’ stuff.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    It’s our cleaner who has destroyed our current skirting boards and doors.

    Either your paint is poorly applied, or your cleaner is very clumsy.

    Either your paint is poorly applied, or your cleaner is very clumsy.

    Both – wasn’t stripped back to bare wood and she is exceptionally clumsy. BUT also exceptionally honest. We won’t be keeping her when we move.

    Premier Icon hot_fiat
    Subscriber

    Have stayed in loads of hotels both in Europe and the US with central vac systems. Not one was in use. They all had reverted to Henrys or vax.

    Isn’t there some fluid transfer law that links the length of a tube and the power required to generate a specific flow at various points along that tube generally involves factors of ^2? < Scratches head and adopts that ‘brain fused’ look while trying to recall thermo lecture from nigh on 20 years ago>

    marcus7
    Member

    I’ve installed industrial units (erbo) using Jacob flanged pipe and never had an issue… probably overkill for a house but they pretty much bomb proof and other than replacing the dust bags are maintenance free. I’d guess the main advantage is that it can all be a bit more heavy duty as weight is not an issue and thus won’t wear out.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    Isn’t there some fluid transfer law that links the length of a tube and the power required to generate a specific flow at various points along that tube generally involves factors of ^2?

    You mean the Hagen-Poiseuille equations, so beloved of my postgrad examiners?

    Flow is proportional to the pressure drop along a tube, and 1/length, so if the maximum negative pressure generated is the same for a portable hoover and a central one, the suction flow will be much lower for the central one due to the much longer tubing length.

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