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Central Vacuum Review: Collection & Filtration

Central Vacuum Review: Collection & Filtration Systems

So you have read about which central vacuum is best and now you are doing your homework to find the best central vacuum for you - great! Below are the various methods of filtration and collection of central vacuum in no particular order. When you need to find which method of collection and filtration a particular model uses just browse our central vacuum power units category page which shows performance specifications and sizing along with the collection/filtration system of each model in the quick-specs section.

Bagless: Permanently Filtered
The most common method of production and one of the most widely used methods of filtration in CVS. This design has a permanently installed cloth filter in the vacuum unit that separates the incoming debris-laden air and collection system (dirty side) from the motor and exhausting air (clean side). Dirty air pulled into the central vacuum power unit is suction ed through the cloth filter. The dirty side of the cloth filter stops particles on the surface, allowing the cleaned air to pass though.

Just like the furnace filter in your home's heating/cooling system, dirt and debris collect on the outside of the filter and the suction motor is protected from damage. This permanent filter is maintained by a mechanical flexing action which is part of the filters design that helps it to shed the filtered debris into the collection bin below for emptying by the user. Some dealers and installers prefer this type of filtration since the limiting design helps to protect the power unit's motor from a person unaware of the vacuum system or how full the collection bin may be. This method is quite simple and very fool proof but the permanent filter limits the performance of this system and there may be additional maintenance required.

The Good.
Simple Design, Available in Many Models, Great Motor Protection.
Not So Good.
Lower Performance, Messy to Empty & Maintain, Filter Retains Odors, Limited Installation Locations.
All Bagless Collection Power Units at Vacdepot.
  Read More About Bagless Permanently Filtered CVS

 

HYBRID Collection Systems
Not sure which is better for your application, bagless or bagged? HYBRID Collection Systems might be right for you. HYBRID systems are built in the same basic design as a permanently filtered vacuum unit with some modifications to the intake system and occasionally a change to the filter media system. A HYBRID system is one which can be used with a sealed disposable bag or as a traditional bagless dump-out collection system. HYBRID systems leave the collection choice up to you and the system can be changed from one collection style to the other as needed. When bagless the HYBRID system functions as any regular permanently filtered power unit with a self cleaning filter to separate the incoming debris from the air. When used in bag mode the HYBRID system provides hygienic collection of vacuumed debris inside a sealed closed top bag. When the bag is full you simply toss it and install a new bag.
The Good.
Simple Design, Excellent Motor Protection, Choice of Collection Systems, Hygienic Maintenance in Bag Mode, Great for many Installation Locations.
Not So Good.
Lower Performance in Bagless Mode, Cost Of Bags (est $15-$20/YR.)
All Hybrid Collection Power Units at Vacdepot
  Read More About HYBRID Collection CVS

 

 
Bagless Cyclonic Systems
Cyclonic Separation is a method of bagless filtration used in early central cleaning systems and is still used by a few manufacturers today. This design applies a spinning motion to the incoming dirty air combined with a conical shape inside the vacuum to force the heavier debris to the outside of the of the air stream where they drop into the collection bin below. A small amount of debris, usually 3% - 6% at peak efficiency and up to 10% or more at a low efficiency cannot be separated from the air stream and is pulled into a second filter. The secondary filter may be either a fiberglass media cartridge filter (a filtered cyclonic system) or a mesh metal screen (a fully cyclonic or "true cyclonic" system). Sometimes described as the most efficient method of central vacuum filtration the cyclonic separation vacuum system is perhaps the method of filtration we hear about most often from customers seeking to replace their old or broken central vacuum. It is also a design many new central vacuum shoppers ask about after seeing demonstrations at home & garden shows. Many times cyclonic vacuums are often erroneously referred to as "filterless".
The Good: Filtered Cyclonic
Great Motor Protection, Excellent Peak System Performance, Venting Not Required.
Not So Good: Filtered Cyclonic
Long Cycle Filter Lowers Performance, Cartridge Filter Retains Odors, Messy Maintenance & Bin Emptying, No Sealed Bag Option, Cost Of Filters (est. $20./yr), Limited Installation Locations.
 
The Good: Fully Cyclonic
Excellent Peak System Performance, No Permanent Filter Odors.
Not So Good: Fully Cyclonic
Higher Maintenance Requirements, Low Motor Protection, Messy Collection Bin Maintenance, No Sealed Bag Option, Exterior venting Required, Limited Installation Locations.
All Cyclonic Collection Power Units at Vacdepot
Read More About Filtered Cyclonic and Fully Cyclonic CVS

 

 
Bag Only Systems
Disposable filter systems use a single disposable bag for both filtration and collection, what is often referred to as a "Bag Only" power unit. The Bag Only system uses a closed top filter fitted onto the intake tube to force all vacuumed debris into the filtration media. While all other functions and features are similar to any other central vacuum filtration method the Bag Only system is more similar to the maintenance of a paper bag portable vacuum. When the Bag Only is full the entire filter and collection system is disposed of in one step. Bag Only systems offer hygienic filtration and collection where the user, the vacuum and the surrounding areas are not contaminated with dust during a normal bag change. With the ability to dispose of both filter and collection system you also rid your vacuum of more odors each time you change the bag, important for those homes with inside pets or where the vacuum power unit may need to be located inside one of the clean rooms of your home. Bag Only systems are one of the preferred filtration method for those who are sensitive to dust, suffer from allergies or have breathing issues including asthma that may be triggered by small particulates in the air.
The Good.
Excellent Performance Short Cycle Filter, Great Motor Protection, Easy & Hygienic to Maintain and Use, Great for Any Installation Location, Great Design For Users w/Allergies or Asthma.
Not So Good.
Extra Cost Of Disposable Bags approx $15-$20/YR., No Secondary Motor Protection, Limited Models Available.
All Bagged Collection Power Units at Vacdepot
Read More About Bag Only CVS

 

Why Central vacuums
It has been clinically proven that a central cleaning system is the most efficient means to rid your home of dirt, dust and allergens. Using a central cleaning system will not only easily maintain your home's neat appearance it will also allow you to maintain a healthy home. Central vacuums are also an excellent choice for green building and provide up to 5 points in the NAHB Green Building Guidelines. Central Cleaning Systems are not only more powerful, but are also many times more quiet and can provide perfect 100% filtration inside your home which can not be achieved using any portable vacuum that exhausts the return air into the same room your are cleaning. Central vacuums are both more versatile and more convenient to use than portable vacuums and unlike any portable vacuum, a Central vacuum System installed in your home will add resale value to your property often double or more the initial cost of the equipment.

The cost of purchasing and installing a central vacuum has fallen dramatically in the last 15 years thanks to increased production efficiency and robust competition that provides central vacuum users with a large selection of filtration methods to choose from. Conversely the cost of a quality portable vacuum has risen in the same period of time with some models now selling for more than the cost of a quality central vacuum installed in your home. Installing a central vacuum in your home is also easier now days with standardized tube and fittings that conform to the Uniform Building Code, and a do-it-yourselfer or handyman can often complete installation in two days for an existing home or less than a day for a new home under construction. We speak with thousand of people each year from all over the country and the question often is What's the best central vacuum? The answer is not a black box of confusing equations that can only be found with a slide rule by a professional installer. Knowledge is the answer and using this new tool you now have the key that can unlock the mystery of Which Central Vacuum is the Best for me.  
An Original Vacdepot Article. © 2014
 

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