Often times it can be tough to find the right replacement central vacuum hose for your unit, let alone know what type of hose it is. For this reason we have decided to have a discussion about central vacuum hoses, there different uses, and the different types.
The central vacuum hose attaches to the inlet valve and completes the whole system. Typically they are between 30-35 feet; any length beyond this tends to sacrifice some of the suction capability. The hose is usually attached to a power head or other various accessories which are used to clean a home. There are several different grades of plastic they are manufactured from, ranging from high quality crushproof hoses to cheaper thin walled straight suction. The crushproof central vacuum hose is typically made of a high quality plastic that retains its shape when stepped on or run over by anything. This is not to be confused with the old wire reinforced hoses that were common about 15 years ago. This type will remain crushed if stepped on with enough force.
Within the crushproof central vacuum hose category there are several subcategories:
Direct connect hoses are crushproof and electric. They have a switch in the handle to control the central vacuum and connect directly to the 110v that is located within the inlet valve itself. The electricity is used to for the power head attached to the other end of the hose. This type is most common in newer homes as homeowners are leaning towards installing the new electric valve rather than locating the standard inlet valve near a wall plug. Typically these hoses are the highest quality and come with a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty. Homeowners should be aware that cheap alternatives are available, but do not last as long and do not have an adequate warranty.
Pigtail end central vacuum hoses are exactly the same as direct connect hoses, with one feature that is different. Rather than have the 110v electric plugged directly into the inlet valve, they have a pig-tail cord coming off the end of the hose. This pig-tail cord plugs into a nearby standard wall plug. As with the direct connect hoses, these are the highest quality and usually come with a standard 3 year warranty.
Low voltage central vacuum hoses have low gauge wiring running through the interior of the hose. This type uses this interior wire to power a switch within the central vacuum hose handle. This is more of a convenience factor and is used to power the unit on and off. Typically low voltage central vacuum hoses are made of a lighter plastic and are not as high quality as electric hoses. They are commonly used with air turbine power heads such as the vacuflo turbocat.
Straight suction central vacuum hoses are used for tile, marble, and other types of hard surface flooring. This type of hose turns the central vacuum systems on when it is plugged into the wall inlet, and does not have the feature to turn it on or off by a switch in the handle. They are usually available in lengths ranging between 30-50 ft. are most often located in garages and other utility areas.
Retractable Central Vacuum Hoses are the newest central vacuum accessories to hit the market, and are available in lengths anywhere from 30-50 ft. These type of hoses are hidden within the wall, and are retracted or brought out with the touch of a button on the hose handle. Since they are a more permanent fixture, they are made of a very high quality material made to last 10+ years.