Can central vacuums be installed in existing homes?
Yes, in almost all cases. Very rarely we will run into a house that just can't be done one way to the other. We don't begin the installation until we are sure it can be completed, so there will be no damage to your house, and you will not be out any money.
How long is the hose?
The optimal length is 30 or 35 feet. Longer than that, the hose can become cumbersome, and shorter than that it becomes inconvenient, because you would have to unplug and replug the hose repeatedly. With a 30-35' hose, you can usually clean 2 or 3 rooms (or about 750 sq. ft.) at a time before moving the hose to the next inlet. When we place inlets, we make sure you can reach all corners and surfaces easily, while taking furniture placement into account. One of the worst mistakes an installer can make is to force you to stretch the hose to its limit to reach a corner.
What materials are safe to vacuum up?
Most types of household dirt and debris are fine to vacuum up. Liquids should never be sucked up, however. Other items to be avoided: nails, large pieces of glass, long pine needles, hot ashes, and sheetrock dust.
What happens if there is a clog in the pipe?
Clogs in a central vac system are actually quite rare-- when a system is installed properly. The walls of the vacuum pipe are very smooth, and typically the narrowest point in the system is at the end of the hose. There are installation considerations that prevent clogs, like avoiding tight turns, careful placement of "T" fittings, etc. If a clog does occur, we will talk you through a couple of simple techniques over the phone, and if that doesn't solve the problem, we will come to your house and fix the clog.
Where do you recommend installing the power unit?
The power unit can be installed in either the garage or the basement-- in most cases we leave it to your preference. Sometimes we have a stronger recommendation, and among the considerations would be: 1) whether or not the system will be exhausted to the outside, 2) the best location for maximizing the power and efficiency of the system, 3) the proximity of bedrooms to the power unit location.
How expensive is a system?
The price varies with the size of the home, but the range for a do-it-yourself system is roughly $800 to $1600, and the range for an installed system is roughly $1100 to $2300 (homes between 3 and 8 inlets).