Central or whole house vacuums are a convenient and effective way of cleaning your home. Central vacuums are large units, typically located in a basement or garage, with a system of in-wall pipes. To use the system, simply plug your hose into one of the outlets, automatically turning on the suction. Like a regular vacuum cleaner, a central vacuum can be used to clean different surfaces in and around your home. This includes carpeting, hardwood, tile, upholstery, curtains, blinds, and even ceiling fans. A central vacuum can last four times as long as a portable vacuum and features more power, adding value and convenience to your home.
The national average cost to install a central vacuum system is between $800 and $3,500. Most people pay around $2,000 to install a central vacuum filter system in a 2,000 sq.ft. retrofit home. At the low end of the spectrum, you can expect to pay around $600 to install a central vacuum cyclonic system in a 2,000 sq.ft. new construction home. At the high end, you can pay up to $4,050 to install a central vacuum filter system in a 2,000 sq.ft. retrofit home with retractable hoses, a hose cabinet.
|Central Vacuum Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$2,000|
The type of central vacuum system you select for your home directly influences the cost ranging from $200 to $2,000. There are essentially two central vacuum motors to consider: cyclonic and filtered. These two types of systems are basically the same in operation but differ in their filtering technology. The chart below highlights the two different types of central vacuum systems and their respective costs, followed by subsections giving a brief explanation of each type.
|Central Vacuum Type||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Cyclonic||$200 - $2,000|
|Filter||$400 - $2,000|
Cyclonic motors are filterless and bagless and use powerful suction to spin the debris in a cyclone, dropping the particles down into a container. There are no filters to change, but the dust needs to go somewhere. Some are designed to vent outside. Others collect the dust inside, where it can coat the motor and reduce suction. For this reason, cyclonic motors typically need more maintenance and cleaning. The average cost of a cyclonic central vacuum system is between $200 and $2,000.
Filtered motors may be bagged or bagless and use a combination of paper and cloth filters to reduce dust. This keeps the motor clean but means that you need to stay on top of filter changes and purchase more filters over time. If you use a bagged option, you also need to empty the bag every six months and purchase new bags. Filters have to be replaced every three to twelve months depending on the size of the unit. The average cost of a filtered central vacuum system is between $400 and $2,000.
The central vacuum system is made up of multiple different parts. Each part ranges in price between $8 and $2,000. Each part plays an integral role in the proper functioning of the system. The majority of these parts come with the system when purchased but can also be purchased on their own as a replacement or additional parts. The chart below lists each of these major parts of the central vacuum system with their respective cost, followed by a subsection explaining each part and the options for each.
|Part||Cost per Unit (Materials Only)|
|Tubing||$8 - 30|
|Outlet||$10 - $25|
|Attachments||$10 - $100|
|Hose||$50 - $250|
|Power Brush||$100 - $500|
|Power Unit||$200 - $2,000|
The vacuum tubing or pipe is a big part of the installation process, which helps move the debris you clean up. There are two major options for pipe choices for installing the central vacuum unit: flexible hose and vacuum tubing. A flexible hose can be used instead of fittings and elbows in the system. The advantage of these is they reduce the complexity of installation. Pieces can be cut off the flexible tube any time the installation requires a bend. Flexible hose tubes run between $8 and $30, depending on the length. Vacuum tubing is specifically designed for the central vacuum system. This tube maintains a wall thickness to allow for maximum airflow through the system and minimizes the potential for clogs. In addition, it matches exactly with the hub of the fittings, creating no potential gaps or crevices.
A central vacuum outlet is a door or port that allows a 1.5" standard diameter hose to fit into its receptacle to connect to the piping of a central vacuum system. When the hose is inserted into the outlet, it activates the system to turn on. Most outlets consist of standard, universal sizes. They come in different colors and dimensions to suit the decor of your home. An outlet is readily available at any local hardware store and ranges between $10 and $25.
Many different attachments on the market can be very useful for a central vacuum system. Standard attachments can be used to clean different surfaces such as hardwood floors, tiles, and carpets. They can be attached to the end of the hose and are universal among systems. Some common attachments include a dusting brush, floor brush, crevice tool, rug and floor combo tool, and many more. Most systems come with many of these attachments included. Central vacuum attachments can be purchased on their own. The cost you pay depends on the attachment, ranging anywhere from $10 to $100.
Two hose styles may be considered for your central vacuum unit. The first style is a detachable hose where you take the hose with you into each room and plug it into the outlet. The second style is a retractable hose. In this case, you open the outlet and pull out the hose, which retracts into the wall when not in use. Most systems use the standard hose, which is less expensive and easier to replace if damaged. The average hose for a central vacuum is around 30 feet, although some brands carry 35-foot hoses. The cost for a central vacuum hose is $50 to $250, depending on the length.
The brush at the end of your vacuum hose has two options. It can be powered by suction alone or by electricity. Suction brushes have more flexibility regarding where you can install the outlet. However, they lose power if the suction becomes lower due to needed maintenance, meaning the brush will not turn as quickly. These brushes run from $100 to $500. Electric-powered brushes plug into a nearby outlet via a “pig tail.” These brushes cost around $200 and use more electricity but provide consistent power and use.
A central vacuum power unit is the most expensive part of the system, ranging between $200 and $2,000. The power unit is the driving force of a central vacuum system. It is a permanent fixture, usually installed in the basement or garage as a built-in appliance. The hose attaches to the unit, helping to drive the dirt and debris into the collection container. Many different power units are on the market that range in size, watts, and power. Most power units come with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.
The brand of the central vacuum unit is a huge factor affecting how much you will pay, ranging from $200 to $2,000. When researching central vacuum units, you will notice the multiple brands and manufacturers on the market. All brands vary in price depending on the watts, size, and type. Similar products are competitive between manufacturers. Therefore, it is important to do your research before purchasing the perfect unit for your home. The chart below lists many of the common brands of central vacuum units and their respective cost range, followed by a subsection explaining each.
|Brand||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Imperium||$200 - $800|
|VacuMaid||$200 - $800|
|RhinoVac||$300 - $800|
|Beam||$400 - $2,000|
|Electrolux||$400 - $2,000|
Imperium is a private label brand of central vacuums manufactured by Lindsay Manufacturing, offering cost-effective central vacuum systems to over 20 different countries in Europe, Canada, the United States, and Australia. They offer some of the most affordable central vacuum units on the market but still compare in power and efficiency to other brands. Imperium never stops improving their products and inventing new options, maintaining their leadership in the central vacuum industry. This brand consists of many different units, including cyclonic, bagless, and disposable bag models. Accessory kits and other accessories are also sold by Imperium. Due to their private label, you can expect to pay less for one of these units, averaging in cost between $200 and $800.
VacuMaid central vacuum systems are also manufactured by Lindsay Manufacturing, offering central vacuum systems to over 20 countries. VacuMaid units are a cost-effective choice that offers superior cleaning and power. These units require no bags and never lose power as the canister fills. These central vacuum systems are made of galvanized steel and powder coated for prevention against corrosion and rust. This brand consists of many different models and a complete line of attachment sets. You can expect to pay less for one of these units, averaging in cost between $200 and $800.
Built and designed in Canada, RhinoVac is a central vacuum cleaner company offering economical and compact systems. They are well known for their explicitly designed central vacuums for apartments and condominiums where space is usually an issue. Silence and power define RhinoVacs. Their line of central vacuums differs in their watts, size, and price. They offer a ten-year warranty on all components of the power unit. You can expect to pay between $300 and $800 for a RhinoVac central vacuum system.
Beam central vacuums range in price from $400 to $2,000, depending on the type. Beam is known as the global market leader in all vacuums, sold in more than 50 countries worldwide. Approximately one-third of central vacuum systems are produced from this brand. Their central vacuum systems are engineered using larger motors providing powerful suction for a deep clean. Not only do they feature some of the most powerful central vacuum systems, but they are also known for making them really quiet. Beam vacuums have a self-cleaning filter and large capacity bucket for less hassle of frequent emptying. Customers have the option of choosing a central vacuum from three different series: Alliances series, Serenity series, or Classic series.
Electrolux is one of the leading brands of central vacuums on the market. They are well known for their innovations and for creating new products based on consumer wants. Their central vacuum systems are no exception and live up to their high reputation. Electrolux offers various models of different sizes, power, watts, and sound levels. They offer a ten-year warranty on all parts and labor. You can expect to pay from $400 to $2,000 for an Electrolux central vacuum system.
For the installation of a central vacuum filtered unit in a 2,000 sq.ft. home, expect to pay $400 to $1,500 in labor and $400 to $2,000 in materials, for a total cost of $800 to $3,500. Most homeowners opt to hire a professional for the installation of their central vacuum system. Labor costs vary depending on the type of system. You can expect to pay less for the new construction of a 2,000 sq.ft. home using a filtered system, compared to a retrofit which will typically double in cost.
The first step in installing a central vacuum system is installing the main unit, typically placed in the laundry room, garage, basement, or utility room. Some units are required to be placed against the wall if they need to vent outside. From there, PVC pipes are run to each outlet in the system. Because the hose reaches about 30 to 35 feet, you need various outlets so that there is a slight overlap in areas. This process is easiest in new construction before the walls are framed. However, in a retrofit, the pipes are usually run into the attic or through closets, then dropped down through the walls to the outlet, so the only hole cut in the wall is at the outlet. The biggest issue is making sure there are no existing pipes or wires where the vacuum pipe needs to be. The entire process takes one to two days to complete, depending on the size of the home and whether this is new construction or a retrofit.
Some factors play a large role in the cost of a central vacuum system. These include the total number of outlets needed, the extra accessories, the brand, and whether the system is installed as part of a new construction or retrofitted to an already built home. The more outlets required, the more the system costs. Adding a central vacuum to an existing home requires more work than adding it before the drywall is installed. In new construction, you won’t need to get behind walls to set up the wiring and vacuum pipes. With an existing home, you have to break the drywall to do this. Lastly, extra accessories and additional attachments will also add to the expense.
With a built-in central vacuum system, you do not have to carry around a heavy vacuum cleaner from room to room or up and down stairs. Instead, you can clean using an attachment at the end of a very lightweight hose. To use the system, you start by plugging the hose into any wall or floor receptacle. The vacuum motor pulls air through the hose. All dust and debris travel through the hose to a canister. Paper, coins, or even small toys are retained in the filter while exhausted air is either vented outside or within the space.
An important consideration to purchasing the best central vacuum unit for your home or space is making sure it is sized correctly. You want to ensure that it is sized not only by the size of your home but also by the length of the PVC pipe. It is usual to purchase a vacuum that covers twice the total square feet of your home for optimal performance. However, you can purchase units with extra-large collection units. The most important rating to look for to ensure that your system is sized correctly for the length of the PVC pipe is the “waterlift” rating. This rating refers to the suction power of the pipe and determines how well the unit picks up dirt through the piping. This number varies among different models. Smaller units typically have a waterlift rating of 105 to 120 inches, which can handle up to a 2,500 sq.ft. home.
Central vacuum systems have many advantages for homeowners. To have a single motor drive the entire system, it must be extremely large and powerful, which means that you have better suction and cleaning power. Since this large motor must be kept in the basement or garage, using the system tends to be very quiet indoors. Due to the larger amounts of suction and where the motor is kept, it reduces the allergens in the air, improving air quality. The hose itself is fairly lightweight and easier to maneuver than a typical vacuum. However, the system is expensive, particularly when retrofitting it into an existing home. Because the suction is so extreme, it may suck up things not intended to fit in the hose, causing blockages and damage. Maintenance for the system can sometimes be difficult and expensive, depending on the type of motor.
Central vacuums are fairly low-maintenance, requiring service about once every six months. For filtered vacuums, you need to change a paper filter every six months and a cloth filter every six years. For cyclonic vacuums, have them cleaned annually. If you notice a loss of suction, you may want to have them periodically serviced. Otherwise, the units are fairly low-maintenance and work reliably. Depending on the type of central vacuum system, the filter should be replaced every three months to a year.
Most people are familiar with portable vacuums, which you carry or move from room to room with you. They are small, loud, and need to be emptied after each use. However, they are fairly inexpensive, with a cost between $50 and $200, and can be used in any home. Central vacuums are much larger and expensive, with a price between $200 and $2,000. They are quieter when operated, and only need to be emptied every six months or so. The hose is all that needs to travel from room to room, so they tend to be lighter. They also have greater suction power that is three to five times better than a portable and have a much longer life span. Central vacuums are located far away from the room you are vacuuming, thus improving air quality. On the other hand, a portable vacuum expends dust and fine particles back into the air as it pulls the debris through. In some cases, a central vacuum makes a home more attractive at the time of resale. However, they cost significantly more than a portable vacuum and must be properly installed inside the home.
|Type||Cost per Unit (Materials Only)|
|Portable Vacuum||$50 - $200|
|Central Vacuum||$200 - $2,000|
When installing a central vacuum system, it is a good idea to install a hose cabinet. A hose cabinet is the perfect spot to store a hose when it is not in use. Storing the hose not only keeps the space tidy but also keeps the hose in good condition. If you opt into a standard 30-foot hose instead of the retractable option, it needs to be placed somewhere. The average cost for a hose cabinet ranges from $100 to $300.
Purchasing central vacuum pet brush attachments enhance the way you clean pet hair. These brushes and tools are designed for the cleaning of not only hair but are made for utilizing your vacuum system for grooming your pets. Pet attachments can be used on pet beds, stairs, upholstery, car interiors, floors, and any other surface where pet hair is an issue. Some of the most common attachments include a hoover brush, grooming attachment, pet hair and lint brush, and comb attachment. These start at around $50 and go up, depending on the set you choose.
A central vacuum dustpan, also referred to as a central vacuum sweep inlet, is a useful tool to consider when installing your central vacuum system. These dustpans are designed as an in-home vacuum port installed underneath a kitchen or bathroom cabinet or into a baseboard. They make it easy to collect dirt, crumbs, and debris without lugging around a bulky hose. These automatic dustpans, or vacuum kick sweep, allow you to activate your central vacuum by using the tip of your toes or foot to kick open the port, engaging suction. This allows you to sweep debris into the vacuum port and deposit it right into the vacuum canister with ease. Automatic dustpans for a central vacuum cost $250 to $500.
A central vacuum system is worth the investment if you require exceptional air quality in your home, want to add value to your property, or love the convenience for intensive cleaning.
Installing a central vacuum is fairly easy for a professional to do. Though central vacuum systems are the easiest to install in new construction where tubing installation is easy, they can be retrofitted into existing houses with relative ease.
Central vacuums do not add a significant dollar amount to a home’s value, but they increase its salability by making it more attractive to buyers.
When well-maintained, a central vacuum can last decades.
Costs range from $800 to $3,500, depending on system type, installation, and size.
A large vacuum is installed in the basement or garage and connected via PVC pipes to strategically placed outlets. Plugging the hose into an outlet activates the vacuum, providing suction through the pipes to the hose.