However, central vacuum is also quite popular in Scandinavia, where carpet is highly uncommon. Many manufacturers offer attachments and kits that allow their systems to work on tile, hardwood floors and other surfaces. Armed with this technology, these companies hope to drum up business in new construction, much of it carpetless, in the Sun Belt.
Central vacuum manufacturers aren't only seeking to educate American consumers. They're also seeking to educate custom retailers and installers. The methods they use vary—online courses, seminars at distributors' facilities, evangelizing sales reps. Some manufacturers also offer other programs, such as co-ops.
LESS DIRT, CLEANER AIR
Central vacuum vendors invariably play up two benefits of their systems. One, obviously, is their vacuuming power compared to portable vacuum cleaners. The other, however, is the removal of allergens and dust that can cause asthma attacks, which pits the category as much against air purification systems as competing portable vacuums. Central vacuum systems, they add, don't re-circulate dirt in the house like many portables may. In essence, the message these vendors send about their products is "less dirt, cleaner air."
"Your portable vacuum cleaner just does not seal," maintains Runyan. "You're still dumping X amount of allergens back into the living spaces. You buy a $59 vacuum cleaner, and you're going to spew a lot of dirt in the house. If you buy a $699, high-end portable vacuum cleaner, you're still going to spew some stuff into the house. We don't have that problem with central vacuum. We're taking all that stuff out of the living area."
Other advantages frequently discussed include the fact that the systems are less noisy than portables, that having one installed enhances the resale value of a house, and that using a central vacuum as opposed to a portable extends the life of carpet.