PVC tubing behind the walls run into the attic to connect the canister or the central power unit to the vacuum inlet valves strategically located throughout the house on the walls and floors. When it is time to vacuum, the designated cleaner-upper simply carries a lightweight vacuum hose and cleaning attachment to an inlet, inserts the hose into the inlet, connects the appropriate cleaning tool to the other end of the hose, and vacuums the floor. The dirt is sucked through the hose and PVC piping, and into the power unit.
Each vacuum inlet receives power from a low voltage terminal connection to the power unit. Some systems automatically turn on when you plug a vacuum hose into an inlet. Others use an on/off switch at the cleaning handle. This method requires an electrical hose with a direct low voltage connection between the switch and the inlet. Some companies offer systems with wireless on/off controls. The vacuum switches on and off via a radio frequency remote small enough to carry in your pocket.
Central vacs outperform portable upright and canister vacuums in cleaning ability (2 to 5 times more powerful). They can pick up deep down dust, debris, even microscopic particles like pollen, mold, spores, and dust mites. By pulling dust away from the living area, a central vac keeps the indoor air healthier. Unlike conventional vacuum cleaners, the central vacuum system will not re-circulate dust-laden air back into the room. Instead, dirt and dust are drawn to the collection canister in the power unit, well away from the living area. The deep cleaning, allergen-trapping power of the central vac is particularly attractive to allergy sufferers.
The "heart" of the built-in vacuum system is its power unit designed specifically to remove the dirt and noise from the living area of your home. Power units are commonly installed in garages, basements, attics or closets. Types of systems: The many central vac models all do a good job of cleaning the house, but they rely on varying technologies to get the job done. One of the main differences is in the way power units capture vacuumed dirt.
* Bag units collect dirt from vacuumed air by filtering it through a cloth or paper bag. With this high-maintenance system, the bag should be replaced every 2 months. Timely replacement is important; as the bag fills up, the vacuum progressively loses suction.
* Pure “Cyclonic” units spin the dirt at a high velocity much like a tornado, forcing the heavier dust and debris to fall into a removable container inside the power unit. The smaller particles that don’t fall are vented outdoors. When the container is full, usually within 3 to 6 months of regular vacuuming, it is removed and emptied. Unlike bag units, the cyclonic vac does not lose suction as the bucket fills.
* Filtered Cyclonic Units, including the Beam Serenity, Serenity Plus and Beam Classic Systems feature the CleanStream Filtration System, produced exclusively for Beam by the makers of Gore-Tex Fabric. The permanent, self-cleaning filter traps particles as small as 0.3 microns. It sheds captured dust, dirt and allergens into the collection receptacle when the power unit shuts off. It works like new every time and never needs replacing.
Cost for installation: Installing into a new home while under construction (sheet rock not up yet), approximately 2000 square feet, the cost would be approximately $1000-$1400. For an existing home, the same size, cost would be approximately $1400-$2000.
Value Added: A central vacuum system can actually increase the value of your home. It can add as much as $1500 or more to the value of your home.