Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home audio and Video Services in Matthews, NC.  TV installation, Surround Sound, Home Entertainment Systems
Anatomy of a Central Vacuum System: 5 Easy Pieces

What goes into a central vacuum system? We lay out the five basic pieces: power unit, piping, inlets, hoses and brushes and accessories.

Do you hate dirt and hate to vacuum? A central vacuum system may be just what you need. Instead of lugging a canister around the home, the heavy lifting is done by a power unit located some place like the garage, where it can barely be heard.

A central vacuum system can also be a healthier and greener choice, as it won’t emit dirt particles into the air, as do some other vacuum systems.

For consumers who are new to the category, we provide the foundations of a central vacuum system.

 1. Power Unit

Drives the system and is usually mounted in the garage.

Bag vs. cyclonic (bagless) filtering: Bag-type systems require users to replace bags, but don’t require venting the system to the outdoors. Cyclonic units require no messy bags, but do need to be exhausted to the outdoors. Typical homes under 6,000 square feet can run off of a dedicated 20-amp, 120-volt circuit. Larger homes may require a larger, dedicated circuit. AirWatts typically indicate the power of the unit, but be cautious of using single high-air watt motors in larger home applications, as they may wear out too soon. Consider a unit with a utility valve on the tank for cleaning the cars and garage Typically code requires the wall between the garage and home to be penetrated with steel pipe. Check local building codes for safety requirements.

2. Piping

Provides suction from the power unit and delivers waste to the power unit.

2-inch special piping tested to specific standards. Cut the pipe with a miter box, chop saw, or tubing cutter. It must have a smooth, straight cut to reduce potential for debris getting stuck. Use wide sweeping turns at all locations after the inlet valve. For less friction loss, make jogs with 45-degree ells instead of 90-degree ells. Low-voltage wire follows along the outside of the pipe. Strap it to the pipe with zip ties or tape. Wire is run in series rather than home-run.

3. Inlets

Installed in the walls between piping and hoses.

Typically, one inlet covers 600 to 900 square feet of living space. Inlets are located at the same height as electrical outlets, but they can also fit in to the baseboards. Inlets are available as “air-only” or electrified. Electricity is required for traditional power brushes, but can still be provided with a separate cord for non-electrified (less expensive) outlets. Remember to place inlets near outdoor patios and porches. Plan for an inlet near the base of the stairs.

4. Hoses

Connect from the inlet to the vacuum cleaner.

Hoses normally come in 30-foot lengths, but 35-footers are available. Consider buying an additional hose and tool set for upstairs. A hose sock can protect baseboards and furniture. Designate a closet to hang the hose and tool set. Options are available for easy-to-tote spools and for hoses (up to 50 feet) that retract into walls.

5. Power Brushes, Accessories

Connect to hoses for cleaning everything from carpeting to pets.

Power brushes are the best central vac accessory for cleaning carpets and other flooring. Most brushes require electricity, but some lower-powered units can operate via air power. Brushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes for cleaning upholstery, staircases, cars, underneath furniture and more. Additional accessories can be used for cleaning tight spaces, ceiling fans, pets and more.

Grant Olewire of MD Manufacturing contributed to this article.

By CE Pro Editors


Custom Installation Services, LLC – First choice for low voltage wiring and central vac in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas


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How are LED TVs different from LCD TVs?

Simply stated, an LED TV is an LCD TV that is lit with an LED (light emitting diode) light source instead of CCFLs (cold cathode fluorescent lamp). Manufacturers such as Samsung began the trend of marketing the LED-lit LCD TV as an “LED TV” likely in an attempt to easily differentiate the product from typical CCFL lit LCD products.While an LED TV is still technically an LCD TV, just get used to seeing this type of designation. We don’t really have a problem with it and it does, among other things, seem to make it easier to say it out loud.

CIS - Charlotte Low Voltage Contractors

An LCD TV is comprised of several layers. The front layer is a piece of glass filled with liquid crystals that move and change to produce the images we see on the screen. But images can only be viewed when the screen is illuminated. This requires a light source. The light source is the difference between LED TV and conventional LCD TV.

Here’s a simple explanation of how it works: Conventional LCD TVs use fluorescent tubes (CCFL) to provide light to illuminate the LCD panel and make the images viewable. In an LED TV, the LCD panel is lit from behind with an LED-based backlight. LED lights can be more precisely controlled and can produce richer blacks and a better contrast ratio for a more vivid viewing experience.

Edge Lit vs. Rear Lit

With LED TVs, edge-lit technology is what allows some sets to be less than 1-inch thick. The LEDs are actually arranged around the very edge of the screen, allowing the display to be very thin, since the lighting technology isn’t positioned behind the screen. While this does indeed grant a thinner display, it typically (this is changing now) precludes te manufacturer from setting up a system that optimizes contrast across various areas of the screen.

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Smart Dimming and Zones

Several manufacturers are optimizing their LED backlit displays to produce different amounts of backlighting on different areas of the screen. In this way, you can see content that contains bright areas on the screen along with very black areas. Think of a candle lit in a dark room. With your typical edge lit display you have one level for the overall backlight. With Smart Dimming, you can brightly light the part of the screen with teh candle, and then all but turn off the LEDs behind the black areas of the screen.

Should you expect to pay more for LED TV? What are the benefits of LED vs. LCD?

LED TVs like those form Westinghouse Digital are often edge-lit, which means they are generally more energy efficient, weigh less and cost less than full array LED TVs. Some LED TVs are engineered and produced so efficiently that they may even cost less than conventional CCFL lit LCD TVs. The bottom line is that LEDs are getting cheaper and cheaper and soon we estimate they will actually be easier and cheaper to produe than CCFL backlit displays.

LED TVs in general use less energy (and are therefore more efficient and economical to operate) than conventional LCD TVs. LED TVs are also thinner and weigh less than LCD TVs and generally create a brighter picture. For those who are environmentally concerned, LED TVs also contain no Mercury or Lead.

Presented by Westinghouse Digital and edited by Clint DeBoer


Custom Installation Services, LLC – First choice for low voltage wiring in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas

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Happy New Year To Everyone!

Custom Installation Services - Charlotte's Source For Home Theater!With the holidays and our busier than normal schedule over the past month, it has been a while since I have posted a blog.  So, this will be different than my normal format of product news.  I wanted to post a personal blog to thank all of our loyal clients for your support over the past year.  2010 was a good year for C.I.S., with new product offerings added to our lineup, as well as new and exciting technology trends.  None of which would have been possible without everyone’s continued support!

A new direction for us this year was to “dabble” in more commercial A/V installations.  These included sports bars as well as an overhaul of the video at Lance, Inc.  This has opened up a new revenue stream for C.I.S., and one we will continue as we move forward into the future.  As part of this new commercial business, C.I.S. has partnered with ZEE-VEE, makers of high definition boxes that enable 1080p over coax for long distance runs and combining signals to existing channels for ease of use.

Another new product in our lineup is from SpeakerCraft, with their addition of the “FloBox”.  The FloBox is a single unit that allows you to dock your iPod, iPhone or iPad, play a CD, stream from the internet, access iTunes or listen to FM radio.  Combined with substantial amplification, quality drivers and a sleek, futuristic cabinet available in five finishes, the FloBox will transform any room into a concert hall at the push of a button!

I would like to again thank everyone for your continued support, and to a great 2011!  Stay tuned for more of my traditional blogs with product news and updates!

Don Miller


Custom Installation Services, LLC - We specialize in fixing the $99 TV install by our “competitors”!

Posted in 3d movies, 3D TV, Audio Systems, Automation, Blu-ray, Flat Panel TV's, Gaming Systems, Home Theater, i-Pad, LED, lighting control, Line Conditioners, Lutron Radio Ra II, Media Rooms, Multi Room A/V, Music and Movies, News, Panamax, recycling, Structured Wiring, technology, Theater Seating | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Custom Installation Services, LLC | P.O. Box 132 Matthews, NC 28106 | 704-400-8701 | dmiller@cis-nc.com
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