Whole house vacuum aka Bobbage

PB is such a tinkerer, his ability to take nothing but scraps, often discarded items and make extraordinary and useful things is one of the biggest reasons we have been able to live off-grid while spending very little money, I think of him as my personal MacGuyver. He had been talking about making a whole house vacuum for quite some time now. Normally I really like PB’s inventions, but honestly I wasn’t on board for this one, don’t ask me why, I have no real reason except that I just couldn’t see how it would be better than just running a vac in the sky castle like normal, or could it be the fact that I hate vacuuming? LOL…

PB took advantage of my absence for a few weeks (personal family business) to make this whole house vac a reality for us. Upon returning home, I found a small, unobtrusive hole in the floor below the sink in the kitchen. Right now, said hole, or rather the short length of hose coming up through the hole is plugged with a small glass bottle. Along side this hole is an equally unobtrusive power cord coming through the floor.

PB brought in a length of shop vac hose, actually 2 of them connected together, on one end he had a PVC elbow, that attached to the hose coming out of the floor, then he plugged in the cord and in a matter of a few seconds, I could hear a faint sound, one I identified as a shop vac, he took the other end of the hose, along with the proper attachments for vacuuming and proceeded to vacuum up the prolific dog hair that seems to collect in just a matter of a few days.

With very little fuss, this hose reached every part of the sky castle, I was impressed. Once he finished vacuuming, he merely unplugged the cord and the faint sound vanished, much as the dog hair had. He removed the hose and replaced the glass bottle, (a bottle of Worcestershire sauce), and viola, it was done.

While this is not a major life altering gadget, it does make life easier for me, first I don’t have to drag out the large shop vac, something I dreaded doing, I don’t have to try to maneuver it through tight spaces, through a small sky castle, and I don’t have to deal with the dust that is blown around by said vac. I also don’t have to deal with the major noise those things make. As I said, not life altering, but definitely a major plus for me.

As I’m sure you have figured out by now, PB merely cut a small round shop vac hose sized hole in the floor, placing the shop vac under the sky castle, he threaded the hose and the cord through the hole, he used a hose clamp to ensure the hose and cord does not fall back down. He placed the hole in the floor in a central spot so that the hose up top can easily reach the whole sky castle, which isn’t very big to begin with. Most whole house vacs have multiple connections, usually one in each room, creating a need to be able to seal each port so that the vacuum is maintained, since our place is small, one port is sufficient, making it a simple and ingenious system.

I don’t like carpet, it’s nothing but a big bacteria mat, I’m not a germophobe by any means, but I know that keeping a hard surface clean is easier than a fabric covered surface. We have a small area rug that needs a regular vac, the shop vac doesn’t cut it for that, but it only takes a matter of minutes to vacuum the area rug. The rest of the sky castle is hard floor surface, painted plywood to be exact, someday I hope to have another layer of plywood and some peel and stick tiles, or perhaps some nice looking wood planks… ahh, that is for the future though. I have never lived in a “finished” home, every house I have ever lived in was a work in progress, the sky castle is no different.

If you are wondering why I call my little cabin a sky castle, it’s simple, it looks like a tiny castle and it’s located at around 5700 feet, thus the name, sky castle. :)

Here are some pictures of the whole house vac system, click to enlarge.

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3 Responses

  1. I think there is a lot to learn from old estates and how they captured new technology which over time has evolved into one standard or universal design. Theres a house in Lyme Park near to Manchester that has an electricity generating station within its grounds. Every morning the servant would light the fires and start the generator ready for the house to rise for breakfast then, at night let the generator run quiet. Its only by chance (or design) that Business/Government through history created a networked National ‘electricity grid’ that we don’t have a local generating station supporting every few streets or a Town today. But its great to see that that was how it once was done.. And that it worked and you can see how it worked.

  2. I spent a couple of years as a member of the National Trust and visited a lot of historic houses around that time. In one of the houses, (can’t remember which – might be Calke Abbey.. not sure..) there were attachments for a hose in every room for one of the first vacuum systems ever used. It ran within the wall cavities thoughout the house meaning that the cleaner simply had to carry a hose from room to room attach it to a port on the wall. It struck me as such a great idea and how, if some bright spark had marketed the system at the time, this could’ve been the norm such as central heating or air conditioning is. Nice work!

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