Dirt will inevitably get tracked into your RV, and unfortunately there isn't a whole lot you can do about it. Luckily, you do have some options for getting that dirt out of your RV! Vacuums are a useful tool for removing dust, debris, and other allergens that settle in your interior, but conventional models are just too bulky and heavy to be conducive for the size and space of an RV. Central vacuum systems can be a smart alternative to bulky models, and because they are built into your RV, they have an added level of convenience that can make cleaning your RV quicker and simpler! We've got everything you need to know about choosing and installing a central vacuum system in your RV, so that you can spend more time enjoying Mother Nature and less time cleaning up after her!
Choosing the Right System
Central vacuum systems can be found in everything from residential homes to sail boats, but there are systems specifically designed for RVs. Not all RV central vacuum systems are designed with the same level of standards in mind, so just as the price differs from model to model, so does the performance. Dirt Devil CV1500
This model is the upgrade from the CV950 design, which was considerably less effective than this new-and-improved system. It can be installed in closets and exterior compartments and operates using HEPA bags, which will need to be replaced periodically. Replacement bags cost around $11 for a pack of 3. This model costs around $300 and comes with a 5-year warranty. InterVac 120E
This model is made right here in the U.S.A. and it operates similarly to the Dirt Devil for around $100 less. These can be installed as either surface-mounted models that plug into an outlet, or flush-mounted models that are hardwired to your electrical systems. You will need to replace the bags of your InterVac just as you would with other central vacuum systems, and replacement bags cost under $20 for a pack of 5. This model comes with a 6-year warranty. Eureka Yellow Jacket CV140
This model is compact and powerful, costing around $120. Installation is similar to the models discussed above, and brackets are included to mount this super-sucker securely to your rig. While this bright yellow design might not be the most aesthetically pleasing, the performance of this vacuum may help you to overlook the semi-obnoxious color. Replacement bags cost about $5 for a pack of 3, and the unit itself comes with a 5-year warranty.
Advantages to Central Vacuum Systems
Easy to Install: Even with limited handyman/handywoman skills, the installation instructions provided with these systems and kits will walk you through the step-by-step process of integrating them into your RV. Compact: Most systems only have a dirt capacity of up to a gallon, so these vacuums are relatively condensed, which is great for mounting them in the small spaces of an RV. Resale Value: Installing a central vacuum system can add to the value of your RV. If you intend on selling your RV in the future, purchasing one of these systems can be about more than just cleaning convenience, it can be an investment too!
Disadvantages to Central Vacuum Systems
Bags: It might seem antiquated to still be using bags, but with central vacuum systems you will need to keep up on bag replacements. When your vacuum starts loosing suction, you will know it's time to swap out the bag. Size: While there compact size is beneficial, the limited capacity for dirt in central vacuum systems will force you to empty them out often. The length of the hose can be an issue too, especially if you have a long RV. An extension may be needed to stretch the entire length of your unit. Bulky Accessories: You will still need to have space in your RV to accommodate the hose and any of the the attachments that you find useful enough to haul around.
Alternatives to Central Vacuum Systems
- Standard upright models that are found in residential homes have high-powered suction and a durable build, but are simply too clunky to easily maneuver around the tight quarters of an RV. Because of their size, you'll need to have a full-length closet in your RV if you want to store them out of sight.
- Robotic vacuums like the Roomba are great for maintenance cleaning, meaning that they can be helpful with the upkeep of cleanliness, but they aren't exactly ideal for deep cleaning. So, if you do get a robotic vacuum, don't think you'll be getting rid of your regular vacuum just yet!
- Hand-held vacuums are lightweight and great for getting to those hard-to-reach places. Like robotic vacuums however, these won't realistically have the same level of power or effectiveness as conventional vacuums. If you choose one of these, you'll likely end up also needing a second, more high-powered vacuum because while handhelds can suck up clods of pet fur and dirt clumps, they won't work as well on fine dust and hair.
- Cordless vacuums are actually quite comparable to conventional vacuums, at least in the beginning. These models are notorious for losing there suction power, sometimes after only a year or two. You can find remarkably compact options that have telescopic handles and a wall-mounted charging station, making them very conducive to small spaces. But for the price of these models, their lifespans can be disappointing.
Installing a System
Select the spot that you want to mount your central vacuum, which can typically be secured either vertically or horizontally. This will most likely be in a storage compartment, closet, or cabinet. You'll need to be sure that it is within reach of a power outlet, and it allows for your interior inlet valve to be centrally located for optimal ease of use. You'll also want to make sure there is enough clearance to remove the front panel for when you need to change the bag. Determine where you want your inlet valve located in the interior of your RV. You'll want to make sure it is in a central location, so that the attaching hose can stretch to both ends of the unit when cleaning. Follow the instructions and cut a hole to the specified size so that you can connect the inlet valve to the main component. Wire your inlet valve, stringing the coil through the hole and connecting it using the hardware provided in your kit. Secure your unit to your RV using the brackets included, and connect it to the inlet valve with the hose. Plug in the power cord, and test out your handy work! Some models will start once the inlet valve is opened. Others will start once the hose is plugged into the inlet valve. Consult with your product's instruction manual for exact installation guidelines. When you notice your vacuum losing suction, swap in a new HEPA filter bag. There are plenty of phenomenal RVs that come standard with central vacuum system. Check out the DVR Mobile Suites to see an amazing unit that comes with a built-in central vacuum system already installed! Do you have a central vacuum system in your RV? If so, let us know how it works for you! And if you have any recommendations for our readers, leave them in the comments below!