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Built-in Vacuum Features

The performance of built-in vacuum systems far surpasses any portable vacuum.  Different makes of systems can be compared to each other by the type of filtration system used in the power unit; the motor size and number of motors; airflow; and airwatts.  Physical characteristics, such as the size of the unit, trash capacity, and need for outside exhaust can also differ.

Airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute.

Airwatts is a measurement of the power offered by a motor.
Get the FAQs about Filtration Systems
All filtration systems offer equivalent cleaning power; the difference comes in convenience.

In a bag system, the bag acts as a collector or strainer.  Bags must be replaced about 2 times per year.

In a bagless system, filters do the work.  Most common filters:  weighted cloth filter and corrugated cardboard filter.  An advantage to the weighted cloth filter is that it never needs replacing;  a cardboard filter must be replaced once per year.  NOTE:  Foam filters, which represent old technology, must be cleaned once per year; recommended cleaning each time canister emptied.  Foam filters are cleaned by washing in soapy water and air drying for 3-4 days. 

Combination system:  cloth bag, paper bag and filter. Offers added protection for the motor and slight advantages for allergy sufferers.
Allergies: The most important factor is the ability to exhaust a system; any dust leakage is exhausted to outside the home. Additionally, units with combination filtration systems may offer slightly better dust capture for persons with allergies.

Water pickup

No manufacturer recommends using a standard built-in system for picking up water. Small amounts of water in the house would probably not harm a bagless unit; if done, the canister should be emptied immediately after cleaning. If significant amounts of water need to be cleaned up, e.g., for cleaning around a pool area or in a restaurant, there are two alternatives. A portable add-on to the standard vacuum system, called an “interceptor” can be included for safe water pickup, or a system designed for water pickup, like Aqua-Air, can be used.

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