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CostHelper > Appliances  > Central Vacuum

Central Vacuum Cost


How Much Does a Central Vacuum Cost?

 
low costDIY Installation: $500-$1,000average costNew Home Construction: $1,200-$2,000high costRetrofitting an Existing Home: $1,500-$2,500
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Also called a whole house vacuum, central vacuums are generally five times more powerful than the average portable model. A central vacuum system typically has a stationary vacuum unit permanently installed in a garage, basement, utility room or other remote area of the house. A series of plastic pipes in the walls connects this stationary vacuum to several wall- or floor-mounted inlet valves (similar to electric outlets) throughout the house. A 25'-50' hose plugs into the inlets to vacuum each area.ThisOldHouse.com provides an overview of central vacuums systems[1] .

Typical costs:

  • With professional installation, a central vacuum system can cost $800-$4,000, but averages about $1,200-$2,000 for new home construction (or as part of a remodeling project where the walls are already torn open) and $1,500-$2,500 for retrofitting an existing house. Actual costs depend on local rates as well as the size of the house and the number of inlets (typically one inlet for every 600-800 square feet, with an average 1,600-2,000 square foot home needing three inlets). Vacorama.com[2] estimates the cost of professional installation costs $100-$250 per inlet, depending on local rates and the design and construction of the house.
  • With do-it-yourself installation, a central vacuum system for an average home might cost $500-$1,000 or more, depending on the size and brand of the vacuum unit and the number of inlets. Better Homes & Gardens explains how to install[3] a central vacuum system.
Related articles: Robotic Vacuum, Electrician, Handyman

What should be included:
  • A company representative will typically suggest where to place the motor and canister unit, and where to install inlets. To see if the proposed inlets will work well, take a string or rope the length of the desired vacuum hose (typically 30'), tape it to the wall where the inlet would be and walk around to see if any spots are out of reach. Inlets that are "direct connect" are wired into the power supply; non-powered inlets must be within 6' of an electrical outlet.
  • To avoid clogs inside the walls, the pipes should always be larger in diameter than the vacuum hose (typically 2"-diameter pipes with a 1-1/4"-diameter hose).
  • Central vacuums use one of three methods for collecting dirt and dust: cyclonic models spin the air in the canister so the dirt falls to the bottom and the dust is vented outside; an inverted filter at the top of the canister snags dust but allows dirt to drop down; or everything is sucked into a disposable bag, similar to a portable vacuum.
Additional costs:
  • Canisters need to be emptied or vacuum bags replaced once every three to six months. Vacuum bags can cost $5-$50 for a three-pack, depending on make and model, but average about $10-$20.
  • A cloth "sock" for the vacuum hose (to prevent scratching furniture or flooring) can cost $10-$30, depending on length. Attachments like a floor brush, crevice tool or electrically-powered cleaning head for carpets typically need to be replaced every 5-8 years, and can cost $150-$500 depending on how many different floors or surfaces are vacuumed.
  • If the motor is too loud, adding a muffler can cost $10-$25. The motor brushes may need to be replaced about every 10 years, with two-pack costing $5-$25. Motors last up to 20 years; a replacement can cost $100-$700 or more depending on brand and model, but averages about $200-$400.
  • An automatic dustpan (also called a vacpan, a kitchen sweep or a vacuum dustpan) that turns on with a toe switch and sucks up anything swept toward adds it about $200-$300 to the total system cost.
  • Certain brands of central vacuums can use the Hide-A-Hose system, which installs a retractable hose in each inlet (the vacuum's suction pulls the hose into the pipes when no longer needed). This can increase the total cost by $350-$500 or more per Hide-A-Hose inlet.
Shopping for a central vacuum:
  • The motor is typically loud, so the motor and canister (typically a single unit) should be installed away from or below the main living and sleeping areas. It's also important that the motor be powerful enough to provide strong suction to the most distant inlets. AskTheBulder.com charts general sizing guidelines[4] and CentralVacuumStores.com explains the factors to consider[5] when choosing a central vacuum.
  • Major manufacturers include Beam[6] , MD[7] , NuTone[8] , Vacuflo[9] and VacuMaid[10] . Most manufacturers' websites offer installation tips and a way to search for local dealers.
  • Central vacuums are also available through online retailers like Amazon[11] and CentralVacuumStores.com[12] . Components and accessories are available at home improvement centers like Home Depot[13] and Lowe's[14] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1206959,00.html
  2.  www.vacorama.com/how_to_install_a_central_vacuum.html
  3.  www.bhg.com/home-improvement/storage/bathroom/how-to-install-a-central-vacuum-system/
  4.  www.askthebuilder.com/central-vacuum-sizing-guidelines/
  5.  www.centralvacuumstores.com/cvs/how.php
  6.  www.beamvac.com/usa/beam_systems/
  7.  builtinvacuum.com/products_home.html
  8.  www.nutone.com/products/product-line/central-vacuum-systems
  9.  www.vacuflo.com/products
  10.  www.vacumaid.com/
  11.  www.amazon.com/s/nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=central+vacuum&x=0&y=0
  12.  www.centralvacuumstores.com/
  13.  www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Search?keyword=central+vacuum&langId=-1&sto...
  14.  www.lowes.com/SearchCatalogDisplay?Ntt=central+vacuum&langId=-1&storeId=10151&catalogId...
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