Question: My housemate insists I would damage her standard vacuum by using it to suck up some cold ash, and while looking for a vacuum that might handle the job I discovered that there are such things as ash vacs. My question is, does the job really require a dedicated ash vac, or would a standard canister vacuum with a really good filtration system suffice? I was originally planning on just using it on the ash that escapes while cleaning out the stove with a shovel, but wouldn't mind getting the ash out with the vac too. It might also be useful if the vacuum could handle soot for next time we clean the chimney. Finally, if I do get an ash vac, should I get it from Loveless or Cricket, or someone else entirely? Answer: She is correct. Using any regular vac will create a dust storm in the house and possible ruin the vac...or at least a filter or two. Ash is very fine, similar to sheet rock dust - another material that should not be sucked up with the household unit. So, either: 1. Clean up virtually everything with a shovel and broom, and then vac up the small amount that remains....or. 2. Get an ash vac or use industrial or shop vac with special filter (sheet rock dust). The ash vac looks better and can also handle embers that are still slightly hot. See manufacturers literature for details. I can't suggest a brand since I personally never compared them. Check for price and a money-back or longer warranty.