What to watch out for, when buying central vacuum?
Each good project starts with making the right choice. The Right choice - what does it mean when it comes to central vaccums? What to watch out for and how to evaluate, if the system will be the right fit for our home?
As always, there are basically two ways: it's either good or cheap. Anything that claims it can be both good and cheap is just a fairytale, one that propably won't end in "and they lived happily ever after". In realiy, quality has it's price, because in the long run it actually saves money: by it's durability, warranty period (e.g. Aspilusa Tornado is coveredy by 10-year warranty), and comfort of use.
You have only one heart. Sometimes two.
The heart of central vacuum is it's engine. The longer and more efficiently it works, the longer we can be sure of flawless work of the whole system. Cheapest units are usually equiped with flow engines, which are silent and can be quite powerful, but with very short lifespan. These are the most often malfunctioning units, though they have also an advantage: they're much smaller from more complex units. In case of flow engines there isn't such thing as long-term efficient usage without malfunctions. These issues come from the design of the engine itself: air from the dirt container is sucked in by the filter, then it goes through the engine and is exhaled by it's chamber. In a nutshell: direct cooling of the engine is done with dirty, although somewhat filtered, air. Looks like asking for trouble, right?
When choosing a central vacuum it's worth remembering, that the system will cost about 100% more than traditional solutions. Person like that usually values quality and comfort without malfunctioning.
Other type of engine design are pass engines. They look similar to the flow engines, but they utilize more advanced fan cooling. Dirty air in these engines isn't directed right the engine, but exhaled by holes placed around the turbine. These engines are also quite silent, and aforementioned turbines can effortlessly work much longer than in flow engines.
The most advanced design are tengencial bypass turbines, equiped with side air-duct pump. These engines are least malfunctioning, with fan-cooled commutator and side turbine that allows exhaling all of the air directly outside the unit.
There's one more very important criteria when choosing the engine: turbine's number of steps. It's a very simple rule: the more the better (just like in triple-turbine Aspilusa models: IZZY 400, TORNADO 400, AQUA MATIC 400). Other important factors are: dynamics of a given engine model, filter systems and control boards, whose quality lessens possibility of atmospheric and voltage discharge.
Filtration systems are important enough factor to write a few paragraphs about them, although types of those systems aren't really complicated - it's usually either of those three: cyclone, reversed bag or water cyclone. The higher quality of filtering means also the higher price of the whole system.
Standard cyclonic vacuums are the most popular, equiped with variety of filter types. Usually, filters that are hardest to empty are the ones installed inside the dirt container; they also clog the engine relatively quickly. Cyclonic water vacuum is the one that requires the least maintenance (e.g. Aspilusa Aqua Matic wet & dry). Basically it's maintenance-free, doesn't require emptying and cleaning - it's constantly clean, empty and ready to use.
An example of real power: IZZY 600 is an unit equiped with two engines of highest efficiency and combined power of 3600W. That creates negative pressure of 33kPA, flow of 400 m³/h; designed for simultaneous work in two places at once.
Needs of the buyer decide which filter system and engine is going to be used. If price is the most important, you can buy the cheapest devices, but keeping in mind they'll need to be replaced relatively soon. If you look for intuitive, easy use, high power, no malfunctions and long lifespan - you'll have to come to terms with higher price range for more advanced technology.
Choosing a vacuum for a specific building.
There's a few methods of calculating minimal parameters of a given vacuum. The most accurate is calculation based on dimensions of the longest pipeline of the system. First, we need to measure the length of the pipeline: from the throw-in to the last point. Next, count all the bends and t-connectors and add hose length to it. Each 90° bend is additional 2 mb of the system. Safety bend is 2,2 mb, t-connectors and 45° bends are 1,2 mb. With two separate pipelines in the same building, while estimating power, it's good to count them toghether as one length.
Example: pipeline length after calculations - 18 mb + 7 bends (14 mb) + 9 mb hose with 1 mb telescope give us 35 mb on the whole system. Meanwhile some brands, even the smallest units, recommend 25 mb of the system length even to 300m2 spaces! 25 mb are very short systems, that usually are used in small, single-floor homes. At 250-300 m2 a 1800/1900 W unit is needed, or even double-engine unit.
If you expect high efficiency in a larger space, then you should consider purchase of double-engine unit. If unit of your choice has water cyclone (that keeps dirt container always clean and empty, so vacuum always has the same power as it was always new), it's worth considering a less powerful engine. The dirt simply won't lower it's power. On the other hand - engine can't ever be too powerful, it can only be too weak.
With Hide A Hose intallations it's worth remembering, that to keep the hose clean, and always easy to draw in, and from the inlet a high power and negative pressure are required, which are created by the turbine. Otherwise hose can easily get clogged. Choosing this soultion you shouldn't even consider vacuums lower than 1900/1800 W of power, and in case of hose being longer than 12 mb it's worth considering buyind a two-engine unit. And one important notice: hoses from this system cannot be installed into a standard systems, even if you mount there Hide A Hose inlet.