Central Vacuums, a modern convenience?
Posted by ashley on Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When I was a child, every day after school I’d come home, pour myself a bowl of cereal and watch an episode of the Jetsons. I loved how they had all those hip, modern conveniences of ‘Living life in the Future!’ Even funnier to me now, the future meant having a home packed full of helpful and handy appliances. Comparing my life to Hanna Barbera’s vision of the future was a passion of mine. Scanning my surroundings, I found that the central vacuum system in our home would be something Jane Jetson would find most convenient.

Our central vacuum system was pretty cool. We had receptacles all over our home making it easy to attach the hose (which was quite long and could reach every nook and cranny) and vacuum without much noise or the hassle of dragging a motorized unit around. I thought it was great. My brother thought it was great too, as he often used it as a torture device for several G.I. Joe men. Opening the flap to the wall receptacle, he would allow them to be sucked into the bowels of our home where the central vacuum motor was hung on a wall in the basement.

The Modern Age: Central Vacuum Conveniences:
There are several great advantages to having a central vac. You have one place, usually in a garage or basement, where the motor, filter, and dust bag are housed. Because of this you cannot hear the unit while running the vacuum. Emptying the dust bag is easy, and you don’t have to drag a canister behind you while you vacuum or shove around a large upright unit. Another plus is that it can serve as an action figure morgue, as my brother and his friends quickly discovered.

The Modern Age: Is Convenience Always the Answer?
There are some downsides to the modern age central vacuum system. My parents bought our home with it already installed, making it super convenient. My husband I were looking to install one into our mid-century-modern home (yes, I’m still obsessed with the Jetsons.) and found it to be ultra expensive in addition to the extreme amount of work required for the installation. With these two things in mind, it would be best if a central vacuum system was installed during the construction of the home.

Another issue we have is our daughter’s allergies to dust and dust mites. I have a Miele canister vacuum with a HEPA filter, and find that vacuuming with my HEPA filtered canister improves the air quality in my home, room to room; it’s like toting an air purifier and a vacuum around in tandem. A central vacuum air filtration system is located with the motor, and the unit is stored in a home’s basement or garage, allowing no extra indoor air filtration while running.

Although I aspire to live in the ultra modern lifestyle like the Jetsons, I suppose I’ll settle for my wifi, convection oven with Speed Bake and cruise control. I’ll continue to use my HEPA filtered Miele canister vacuum and enjoy the money I’m saving while improving my indoor air quality. Besides, I’d be super annoyed if my daughter figured out that she could suck her Polly Pocket dolls down the central vac receptacle.

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