Vacuum cleaner amperage and suction power relationship

This is a general question about how to choose vacuum cleaner suction by the specifications (specifically by amperage).
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At a garage sale, I picked up three vacuum cleaners for almost nothing (because my fourth vacuum cleaner isn't all that great on carpets) and three of the four work fine (the Dirt Devil has a broken belt & roller).
The amperage of the four vacuum cleaners is: 1. Dirt Devil 12.0 amps (no bags needed) 2. Eureka Express 11.5 amps (requires bags) 3. Eureka Rally 10.0 amps (requires bags) 4. Porter Cable wet/dry 4 gallon @ 8.0 amps (I bought this from Costco)
I realize the "amps" turn the motor, where we can presume that the more amps, the more "power" - but what is the primary determinant of suction?
Is it the amperage? Is it the geometry of the passages? Is it the design of the motor vanes?
My main question is whether the suction is "mainly" a question of amperage?
My secondary question is what is a good "test" of the suction, bearing in mind that I've already done a hand test, where they "seem" to be about equal in suction (give or take a bit in about the order of amperage).
What vacuum cleaner suction wisdom can you impart upon me?
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How are 4 going to work better than one?
Install a whole house vac.
--
Dan Espen

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On Mon, 03 Apr 2017 21:33:44 -0400, Dan Espen wrote:

Four floors. One on each floor.
But really, I just want the two best ones. The other two I'll take apart for fun.

I already have a whole house vac.
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And what do you do with these 4 vacuum cleaners?
--
Dan Espen

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On Mon, 03 Apr 2017 22:20:01 -0400, Dan Espen wrote:

Actually five.
1. Whole house (the motor works fine but there's almost no suction). It used to work. Something is either stuck in the main tube or there is a tear in the tubing. I can't find it since it must be within the walls. So it's essentially useless.
2. Costco 8 amp wet/dry vac. It's OK but not all that good. I like that it doesn't use bags, but that's about all I like about it.
That's what I used until I picked up these three to choose one from:
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One will stay in the garage (for the cars). One will stay in the cleaning closet (for the upper floors). One will stay downstairs (for the lower floors)
But this whole question is off topic since all I really wanted to know is how people felt about using amperage as a guide to suction power.
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On Tue, 4 Apr 2017 02:32:24 -0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

Amperage is only one indicator and doesn't tell you a whole lot - it depends on the efficiency. A combination of water column and CFM is required to really analyze a vacuum. My current system has an 8.4 inch Tangential bypass motor. I was wrong on my last post - it's not Elite, it's Signature. It is rated at 675 air watts and 147" vacuum.. It is also rated at 12.7 amps, whichn is an HONEST 2 HP (1524 watts) which means it needs a dedicated 15 amp circuit.
For all you ever wanted to know, and more - including all the terminology, see: http://canavac.com/buyers-guide/
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Thanks for the CahaVac link, Clare - I might be shopping soon. I noticed a Costco/Home Depot machine also made-in-Canada - Husky made in Quebec. .. so we still can manufacture some things in North America !
Here's a 2012 business article about CanaVac f y i. https://www.vdta.com/Magazines/AUG12/fc-CanaVacAug12.html
John T.
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On Tue, 04 Apr 2017 07:31:41 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

We can manufacture a LOT of stuff in North America - and better than the far east in so many cases. If looking at Costco vacuums, remember to check what kind of motor. As far as I'm concerned, it's Lamb or go home.
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On Tue, 04 Apr 2017 00:05:29 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca opined:

What you say makes sense in that the amperage is only an indirect indication of potential sucking power and air flow.
But how does a homeowner, "easily" obtain sucking power and air flow?
Of course, I put my hand over the opening, and that's about all I could measure.

Air watts? I never heard of "air watts" until now.
I see it's a measure of efficiency. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airwatt
I don't really care about efficiency since a vacuum is just used sporadically. What I care about is sucking power. :)

One of the vacuum cleaners says it's 12.0 watts, and it doesn't flip the circuit breaker, so, I'll take that as an upper range for portable vacuum cleaners.

That site is nice but it doesn't help for troubleshooting an existing central vacuum setup.
I have a central vacuum cleaner, but I gave up on it years ago after asking here on this newsgroup how to debug why it had almost no air flow.
How do you debug low suction in a central vacuum system? 12/30/2014 https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.home.repair/zMXDn5DLC4w/C-a-6iiVHrMJ
None of the outlets seem to be leaking overtly.
https://c4.staticflickr.com/8/7500/15966125210_af7989dca3_c.jpg
The 25-foot long external hose is clear of obstructions:
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The motor works and the motor filter is clean.
I suspect there is either a blockage inside the walls or a tear inside the walls.
https://c4.staticflickr.com/8/7533/15968218557_1babc9b313_b.jpg
So it's effectively dead. I can't imagine how one "fixes" that, without ripping the walls out, which I'm not going to do. Ever.
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On Thu, 6 Apr 2017 03:51:47 -0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

12 watts is a very low powered vacuum - 12 AMPS would be a relatively powerful one.

I just gave you troubleshooting instructions - and my whole system was installed without opening walls, so it can be repaired the same way. If it was installed when the house was built, you MAY have a problem. The unit installed at our church was installed when the renovations were done, and leaked like crazy - the original installer ended up paying someone who knew what they were doing to come in and fix it - including holes in the drywall ceiling. Incredible how an "installer" thought taped joints were going to work transitioning from the plastic to metal and back (apparently he thought he had to use metal transitions through concrete floor and through walls) Just about every taped joint leaked.
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Over about 30 years of using central vac in two homes - I think that I've had maybe 3 or 4 clogs - all were in the hose - not in the vac line. Just sayin' ... You can tell by the sound of the vac machine if it's a clog - - over-working, high pitch - as opposed to a broken line - the sound would be normal, but no suction. You might also hear the location of the break inside the wall - it would noisy unless it was a big open disconnection... If the hose is __definitely not__ the problem - check & snake the inlet to the vac machine. Good luck. John T.
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On Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:56:43 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca opined:

The hose was snaked two years ago, right here, in a.h.r.
https://c4.staticflickr.com/8/7573/15965995228_9afb4ff8bd_c.jpg

I can't tell what the sound means as the motor is in the garage and the outlets are scattered about the house.

Hmmm. I may need to try that, but I never could figure out why it had such low suction as it used to work just fine.
Maybe I should debug again.

I have a 75-foot snake but what are the hoses made of inside the walls? Are they strong enough to take a steel snake that is meant for plumbing?
I also have a 100 foot electricians snake. But I'm afraid of puncturing the tubes inside the wall because I don't know what they are made up of.
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Both of the two central vac units that I have owned - diffferent makes - had an additional inlet at the machine - if yours does - you coulld check IT for suction - carry your hose to the garage.. and listen to the motor.. Also - if IT doesn't have suction - ta-da. John T.
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On Thu, 06 Apr 2017 08:54:27 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca opined:

Inlets?
I never noticed if there is an additional "inlet".
There is an outlet for exhaust which is near the vacuum motor and which blows to the outside of the house.
I guess I could take it apart and disconnect the main inlet hose though.
I'll look later on today when it gets light and see what I can see.
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Like hubops, my unit has an outlet right on the vac unit that is not part of the in-house system. Disconnect the in-house system, seal it with a cap or duct tape, then use the outlet on the vac.
Since you are trying to play qualified vacuum repairman, you might want to by a tool the repairman would use the actually measure the vacuum. Not sure what it's called, but pretty sure it exists.
--
Dan Espen

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Inlet - referred to as a utility valve by Beam :
http://www.beamvac.com/Productcatalog/Productsseries/Power-Units/Classic-Series/Beam-275C/
A little flapper door covers a suction point where your hose can be inserted. ... your vacuum hose, that is. John T.
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On Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 10:54:28 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

I have a Pullman and it too has an inlet right on the unit and a switch nearby that turns on the unit. Seems very logical that all of them would have that handy feature, but then who knows.
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My in the wall piping is white vinyl pipe like you see in water waste runs.
Isolate the motor/vac from the in-house piping by removing and sealing the connection(s), then use the outlet on the vac itself to see if you have suction there. That will save you time trying to clear pipes that might not be the problem.
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On Thu, 6 Apr 2017 03:51:45 -0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

The tubes are generally polycarbonate or PVC. Just for giggles, disconnect the pipe from the unit and check suction AT the unit. If suction is good, you have a pipe issue. Reconnect the pipe and check suction at the "service" outlet - on both of mine there is a place to connect a hose directly to the unit. If you now have NO suction (or very little) you have a leak, if you have good suction you likely have a clog. If no suction at any of the outlets in the house, the clog is close to the unit (shared pipe) - snake from the bottom. If you can stick an air hose up the pipe and blast with pulses of air as you push it up, you should be able to dislodge anything stuck in the pipe. A 3/8" air hose will snake around the tight ninety bends in the pipe. If the clog is at a "WYE" in the pipe it is very likely the installer installed it backwards, the air needs to follow the "sweep" of the "T-Y" connector to prevent blockages.
Also, with the system running (turned on with the system switch) have someone open the outlets one at a time and see how the motor pitch changes.
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Ideally, they will directly relate.
Fortunately, my whole house system still works and I hope to never go back to those stand alone vacs. They just don't suck enough.
Sometimes you need to call a repair man.
--
Dan Espen

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