Monday, February 10, 2014

Central Vacuum Systems

We have a Nutone range hood and need to replace/repair some parts. I was looking over the Nutone website and I came across a reference to "central vacuum systems". A quick web search (with images) caused jaw drop. 

In case you haven't caught on already (or have caught on but are thinking, "No Way! They got people to install this in their home?") , this involves installing a powerful vacuum motor in the house and then running a system of vacuum ducts into different rooms terminating at vacuum outlets. You then attach a hose to the outlet and vacuum the rooms.

Of course, you could do this. Is it genius? I think it's genius that you can get people to install yet another set of ducts in the walls of their home. Another set of ducts that can clog up, needs maintenance and, when things go wrong, as they will, dry wall cutting and replacement and repainting.

What are the benefits of doing this? Well, you could install an amazingly powerful vacuum motor that you couldn't otherwise use on a portable vacuum (but would you want to?). You don't have to lug that heavy vacuum around anymore. And potentially, you are insulated from the motor noise.

The downsides? Well, you got yet ANOTHER set of outlets in your walls now. And you need some kind of switch at every outlet (I'm sure the vacuum motor is not on all the time) so you need to run more wiring from your rooms to a central location - yet more stuff to go wrong. And everytime you vacuum a room this POWERFUL motor ramps up - even more electricity being eaten. And what happens when everyone decides to vacuum at the same time.

I know, I know, 20 years later I'll be put on the same pile as those guys who laughed at electricity being piped around in homes, or who laughed at modern plumbing  ...

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