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Poor man's ash vac

Post in 'The Gear' started by midwestcoast, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

    Oct 9, 2009
    NW Indiana
    Well O.K not really an ash vac, but does mostly solve the ash dust problem:
    So no matter how much I try to get my wife to empty the ashes I still end up doing it about 80% of the time. Also I have an issue with fine motor control, which is a fancy way of saying that I'm clumsy. So, the inevitable cloud of airborne ash ensues.
    Then one day at the hardware store I pick-up a new furnace filter & bring it home. I bought a 20x16" instead of the 25x16 that I need. Didn't realize 'till I tried to swap it out. Instead of trying to take it back I just put it aside. The next time I created the ash cloud a lightbulb clicked. Taped that useless filter to the intake side of an old box fan and voila, ash filtration system!!
    Crank it to hi & set it right next to the ash bucket and it does a really good job catching the errant particles. :cool:

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    N.E. Penna
    That's certainly a creative approach! Glad it works.

    I find I have the best luck removing ashes when the stove is still about 250-300 degrees. That way there is still a good enough draft, that if I keep things near the door opening, airborne ash gets sucked back into the stove and up the chimney.

    Flatbedford and ScotO like this.
  3. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

    Jun 4, 2008
    northern-half of maine
    i like that idea so well, I will do the same next time. Got two or three box fans kicking around.
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Dec 5, 2005
    Sand Lake, NY
    Ditto on the draft, but I have same issue with fine motor control using the shovel and bucket. :)

    I got a new ash scooper after my old one broke. It's not a poor man's solution, :) , but it's been working out well so far after several scoopings. I try to let the coals burn down as much as I can before I scoop, but the room can start getting cool by the time that happens. It is narrow enough that the coals could be pushed to one side or the other.

    flyingcow likes this.
  5. area_man

    area_man Burning Hunk

    Feb 12, 2013
    Oregon City, OR
    Another great use for a box fan is as a heat exchanger. Take a copper coil and zip tie it to the intake side of the fan, run heat resistant tubing to a source of hot water, and run the output back to the hot water to recirculate. Use a heat resistant submergible pump to run the water. Run the box fan to blow heat off the copper coil, and you've got another way to blow hot air in the house. There are several plans out there that will show how to use this with cold water to use a box fan as a kind of air conditioning when you have a supply of cold water, but it works just as well for hot water. As a bonus, you can run a copper coil on the intake as well as the blowoff side to maximize heating/cooling. If you have a large SS pot of water next to your wood burning stove that catches a lot of heat, this is a good way to move hot air around your structure.

    Did that sound like English? Sometimes I use jargon when I mean to use English, so I will be happy to explain. I can't post pics right now but I will be able to do so in a week or two.

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