Central Vacuum Buyer’s Guide
Make an informative purchasing decision.
Does size matter?
While there are different types of central vacuum motors, there are also several different motor sizes. At the lower end of the spectrum, Thru-Flow motors are range in size from 4.7 to 5.7 inches in fan diameter. On the other end of the spectrum, you can get a premium Tangential Bypass motor in fan sizes up to 8.4 inches in diameter like that found in a Cana-Vac model XLS-970.
When you’re shopping for a central vacuum and comparing retail costs, take special note of what type of motor it has (a Thru-Flow or Tangential Bypass) and as well as the diameter of the fan. This will help you compare true value since larger motors cost more.
Larger motors are designed for the heavier work load of larger homes where a central vacuum system is used for longer periods of time. For example, a 12 thousand square foot home would require more vacuuming for more hours than a 2 thousand square foot home. They’re built to be more robust with a host of engineered characteristics that set them apart from smaller motors. You’ll find more details in our next section, Motor Anatomy.
This section provides a more detailed analysis of the anatomy of a central vacuum motor. It will help you become familiarized with terms you may encounter when comparing central vacuum systems.
The illustration on the left shows a Thru-Flow motor while the one on the right is a Tangential Bypass motor.
Note: Only the Tangential Bypass has a Motor Cooling Fan (1).
Both motors have the following elements in common:
(2) Motor Carbon Brushes
(3) Field laminations and Armature
(4) Fans. The number of fans stacked equals Stages. A two-stage motor has two fans while a three stage has three fans.
The Peripheral-Bypass Motor
In addition to the Thru-Flow and Tangential Bypass motors, there’s actually a third motor type we really haven’t addressed since it is not commonly used. This is called a Peripheral Bypass motor.
Peripheral Bypass motors share the same benefits as Tangential Bypass motors. They both have dedicated cooling separate from vacuumed air which means both should have a longer life expectancy.
The difference between the two is how they exhaust vacuumed air. The Tangential Bypass has a horn that attaches to PVC plumbing and a muffler to vent away from the motor. The Peripheral Bypass motor vents exhaust air around the motor.
At Cana-Vac, a Tangential Bypass motor is the preferred and most popular choice because heated exhaust air is removed from the motor chamber and vents contaminated exhaust air away from your living environment.
Ametek/Lamb is generally regarded to be best choice for central vacuum motors. Much like a Briggs and Stratton lawnmower engine, this brand instills confidence. In other words, you know you’re getting quality.
Ametek/Lamb is the only motor manufacturer with an 8.4 inch diameter motor with Infinity™ brush technology that extends motor carbon brush life. They have a diverse assortment of quality motors and are also the only motor manufacturer with a 6.6 inch diameter motor.
While there are other motor manufacturers available such as Domel (another popular choice), Cana-Vac only uses genuine Ametek/Lamb motors.