The bigger your house, the more a built-in vacuum system makes sense.
A survey by a building industry trade magazine ranked built-in vacuum systems the fourth most requested feature for those building custom homes.
It may be a great idea for a new house, you say, but what about my 30-year-old house?
Grant M. Olewiler III of Mr. Build Modern Day Built-in Vacuums, 6101 Morelia Ave., North Hollywood, will install a powerful built-in vacuum cleaning system in any house for an average price of $895.
This price is based on a house with about 2,000 square feet of floor area and about a half dozen outlets; larger houses with more vacuum outlets will cost more, he said.
Furthermore, he installs the system without unnecessary cutting into the wall cavity; this is a time-consuming, messy process that can be dangerous if the installer runs into electrical wiring.
"I use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe and always manage to find a closet or pantry for the piping," he said at a demonstration at his house. "We put the all-steel power unit in the garage in most cases; that keeps the noise level down. It's a powerful unit with the highest cubic feet per minute rating in the industry so it makes a great deal of noise."
The outlets aren't powered until a hose is inserted--a safety feature in any family with children or pets. A flap closes the outlet off when it isn't in use.
The system comes with all the attachments that an expensive vacuum cleaner would have, including a power floor brush. I tried this brush and found it extremely effective in picking up lint, threads and all the grit and dirt Olewiler could put on the rug--better than my vacuum at home.
The Modern Day system is manufactured in the San Fernando Valley, so parts and servicing should be no problem. There are other manufacturers, but I don't know of anyone who installs a powerful vacuum system so neatly and with so little disruption.
The marketing people at Sierracin/TransTech, 12780 San Fernando Road, Sylmar 91342, saw the April 13 column about burglarproofing windows and sent along a sample of their OmniLite glass-clad polycarbonate. According to Sierracin's Victor A. Stalley, the product features strengthened glass on both sides of a polycarbonate core material.
"This concept eliminates any moisture gathering as a result of creating dead air space without proper desiccant," he said. "In addition, this product can be retrofitted into existing openings."
The sample measures about seven-sixteenth-inch thick and, according to material included, comes in clear, bronze or gray tints. OmniLite is available in thicknesses up to one inch, and is also available in 20-minute fire-rated versions.
Stalley can provide more information. His firm makes aircraft canopies, bulletproof glass and other security products.