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NuTone is Central to my Vacuum Happiness

Pros This system is reliable and using it is easy.
Cons Finding replacement bags can be a problem and base placement is important.
Recommended it? Yes
The Bottom Line:  This unit has been dependable and easy to use. It cleans as well, or better, than many regular vacuum cleaners. NuTone makes a reliable product.
There are definitely many positive things about having a central vacuum system in your home. There are also a few disadvantages. At the time we built our home, about 15 years ago, I considered it somewhat superficial. We were subcontracting the building of our new home and it seemed that we were continually busy adding extra step-ups in our selections. Instead of manufactured cupboards, we had custom cupboards installed. Instead of carpeting in the foyer, we selected higher priced Italian marble tiles. After a few selection upgrades like these, ?Money is no object? didn?t apply. Money was becoming an object.

Enter the subject of a Central Vacuum System. I didn?t even know that such things existed until one of my sister-in-laws asked us about it, and we decided to at least look into it. I certainly didn?t know anyone who had it in his or her home.

In Fact:

My first misconception was that central vacuum systems were only for the rich. It was based on the expense that I assumed would be involved and the fact that no one that I personally knew had one.

The truth was that when a person is building a home it is relatively inexpensive. You have already hired the electrician and plumber and so its installation is easy for them to do, as they build and install walls, light sockets, etc. The system, itself, really didn?t cost us much more than a ?really? expensive vacuum cleaner would have cost. I believe that it was about $1000 dollars at that time.

A Disadvantage I do believe that if you have a system installed in a finished house, it could become an expensive ?extra?. You would have, besides the expense of the unit, a lot of electrical work to be done along with holes in walls (drywall work) and tubing to be installed. If I were to consider buying a system for an existing home, that?s where I would start with a realistic price estimate. Even by today?s expense standards, the unit itself is not prohibitive but labor costs (and I would recommend not trying to install it yourself) may be more than you?re willing to pay or able to afford.

Misconception Two All units and manufacturers are considered equal.

NuTone is a manufacturer that most tradesperson?s I talked to recommended. Other manufacturers offer great products that suck up dirt and dust but I found that most people that install these units recommend NuTone. They are highly respected and have been producing these units for a time period that allows you to know the product is good. Some companies that I could have chosen at the time are no longer in business. It doesn?t matter which dealer you use to purchase the product, NuTone is accessible for help and parts, fifteen years later. Not only that but today?s products are many times interchangeable with products purchased years ago. I love a company that doesn?t retire parts for items that outlast these products.

The unit that we bought has withheld the test of time. It looks as good as new. The unit shows no rust, holes, or broken clips and parts. Quality made products is a reality with NuTone.

One bit of advice when choosing which model to buy. Buy a unit that works with a bigger house, rather than the actual size of your house.

Size of Central Vacuum Units are installed based on the square footage of your home. If you have a choice, I would advise you to buy the unit that is meant for a house at least one size larger than you have. The more sucking power you have with these units, the better quality the unit will provide. Also, there will be more outlet units included and you won?t have any area that isn?t reached with the long tube hosing that is included in your purchase.

And here is the major disadvantage to Central Vacs

We have a unit that is made for homes up to 3000 sq. feet. What wasn?t thought about, by the installer or us, was that we have the minimum of 3000 sq. feet on three different levels. Our unit base is located in our basement. The power of suction reaches a trickle by the time it reaches our upstairs. There are just too many feet of tubing that the unit has to go through to work well in the upstairs level.

My advice would be to place the base unit on the main level. The unit is small enough (most units are about a 12? diameter x 30-32? high) to be placed in a laundry room or utility room. It is placed up high and descends from the ceiling. We have ours in an enclosed cellar area of our finished basement and it takes up little room. It does produce the noise level of a vacuum cleaner when it is being used so next to the baby?s room would probably be a poor choice, but other than that, it?s not in the way if placed in a corner. These units can even be installed in your attached garage (which is the choice I would make now if I had the choice again, because our laundry room is upstairs by the bedrooms.)

The other disadvantage to Central Vacuum Systems is purchasing bags for the base unit. I can only get mine from electrical contracting companies, in this area. I usually order them by the box full to save time running down and buying them often. Compared to vacuum bags, these bags are large sized and last a couple of months each.

So, what do you get when you purchase a Nutone? You get the base unit, a hard plastic case that holds your included attachments (Dusting brush, crevice tool, upholstery tool, and combination floor/rug tool).

The combination floor/rug tool is the one that is used as the vacuuming up head of the vacuum. I leave mine on and only remove it if I wish to do a special job, like use the crevice attachment around my baseboards. There is a raise and lower brush with toe-touch lever on this tool and there is a stiff brush that loosens the stubborn dirt for pick up.

I must add here that I did purchase a new vacuuming head. The original head was only about three inches wide and I wanted a head that acted more like the head of a regular vacuum cleaner. This is optional. I also thought it might help my suction power on the second floor of my house because it has a twin-turbine air driven brush on it. I found it more convenient because it swivels and fits under tables etc. but it only made a minimal difference in pick-up power upstairs.

The unit automatically turns on when you install the hose into the PVC outlet. It also turns itself off when you pull out the tubing. This outlet has a stiff cover on it and present no danger to children. Even if they are able (and most won?t be able) to open the door covering the outlet, they will not get a shock. It?s only when the long flexible tube unit is placed in the outlet that the power is activated. The hose, by the way, is about 30 feet long.

I?ve given you the specifics, but if you are like me, you are having a hard time picturing the way it looks.

To Summarize and Clarify

This vacuum system comes with:

(A) A base unit that is about 12x32? in a cylinder shape. This base is attached to the wall and descends from the ceiling. This base should be located in a room where maximum power from it can be utilized from the vacuuming part of the system. This unit comes in different colors. Mine is a green color but I think that other colors indicate the year it was produced.

(B) PVC tubing is installed in walls, floors and attic space (depending
on your home). This tubing is connected to the base unit and through this tubing is the suction from the base to the hose you use as the vacuum. The hose that you use is plugged into these outlets and automatically turns the unit on and then off when you unplug the hose.

(B) The vacuum itself, is a flexible hose (about 30 feet long) that you plug and unplug as you vacuum from room to room. It is attached to a ?head? that is a hard plastic unit with a hole for suctioning the dirt and a part that attaches to the hose. There are various attachments that are included and will replace the head when in use. The hose can be stored on a hook that you hang in a closet by wrapping it around the brackets. The attachments also have a case to hold and store them.

I have to admit that I love the concept more than the reality. My personal problem with the unit can be avoided, however. By being knowledgeable about the placement of the base, you will not end up like me, having to buy an additional vacuum to use on the third level. If placed on the middle level or the basement of a ranch style home, you will LOVE this system.

This is a very easy way to vacuum. There are no heavy machines to push or move around. The units last much longer than regular vacuums. I definitely recommend that you consider purchasing a central vacuum system because I think that you will love the way it works. You just pick up the hose and go!

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