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Shop vac for stray ashes

Post in 'The Gear' started by dtabor, Nov 20, 2007.

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  1. dtabor

    dtabor New Member

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    Is there a special filter, attachment or procedure for a Shop Vac so that you can vacuum up ashes without damaging the unit?

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  2. kwburn

    kwburn New Member

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    so long as you mean 'cold' ashes and not hot ones...

    most wet dry vacs (but not all) can use both a bag and a filter to help reduce exhausts. the bag works like a regular vacuum bag and sits inside the tank and slips over the hose intake. it will catch most of ashes making it easier to empty. they also have pleated paper filters that attach to the inside of the top part of the unit just below the motor. the filters come in different grades rated for different purifying capabilities and range from 'general use' which does a pretty good job to 'Hepa' which catches everything including allergens and sheetrock dust. the better filters cost about double the standard ones though. (of course!)

    i would go to the manufacturers website and check your model to see whats compatible
  3. dtabor

    dtabor New Member

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    Yes I mean cold ash. Actually, more like the spillage I get on the hearth etc. Great, I'll take a look at the filters. I was concerned too that the fine ash would damage the unit. Im not too far from the door so could probably just get a longer hose and set the unit outside on the porch for the small amount of time it would take to clean up the messes.

    D
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I think I'd go with the bag.
    I didn't last time I vacuumed out the stove and it clogged the pleated filter pretty good.
    It's also pretty messy cleaning out the the pleated filter.
    With the bag it should be less messy.
  5. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I gotta admit, I use the Kirby house vac... Works great, and the filter bag is an easy toss when it gets full...

    Mostly I only use it once or twice a year though as the stove just gets regular emptying with the ash pan during burn season.

    (The VC cover with a handle pan works really well, and as long as you don't let the ashpan overflow, it really does keep all the mess outside. However I have one major improvement over the VC method - have TWO pans, so you can open the door, pull out the full pan with the cover, drop the new pan into the holder and close the door again. You can then run the full pan out to the ash can and dump it at your convenience - (leave it on the hearth in the meantime, it is HOT...))

    Gooserider
  6. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I use a pleated element and its not paper. I think its made out of Mylar, and its maybe 5 years old.

    To clean, bang on tree while standing upwind. Stuff kinda falls off of the filter and it doesn't clog like paper. The filter was expensive, maybe 30 bucks.

    Already ruined one shop vac motor by going filterless, and this filter is the solution for drywall dust, ash, etc...
  7. tkirk22

    tkirk22 New Member

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    I would use a HEPA on a shop Vac. A pre-filter would be even better. They do last a long time. My last filter was running strong for years until rust finally ate the metal backing away. I would not use a house vac unless it was only a little ash and the vac had a damn good filter system. With a regular bag filter a lot of 'invisible' dust is shot right back into the air.

    Some day I'll make a big one of these:
    http://clearvuecyclones.com/ShopVacVideoSmall.wmv


    Kirk
  8. paulslush

    paulslush New Member

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    I just bought a Rigid vac not sure of the model but it is a rectangular shape with a handle on it all the tools and hose and cord store in compartments on the sides. I bought the paper bags to go inside it to clean pellet stoves. So far it has worked great very compact and easy to carry. I have cleaned three or four stoves and still have not changed the bag yet. No dust when using it and the filter looks like new. The bags are about 5.00 each but well worth it for time saved cleaning vac and filters. It is small so I would not try to vacuum all the ashes out of the fire box but good for the leftovers and around the stove. The best part is how compact, easy to store and carry it is.
  9. glassmanjpf

    glassmanjpf Member

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    I know you are talking about cold ashes but you need you to make sure sure they are cold. A friend of mine set his vac on fire thinking ashes were done. Not sure how long after the fires out you should wait. Be careful. I just use a really fine brush to sweep up during the burn season. In the spring I give the pad a quick clean vac with the shop vac using the filter it came with. Seems to work fine.
  10. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Absolutely agree! I have cautioned about making sure fire is OUT before using a vac many times. My rule of thumb is at least 3-4 days, preferably a week on a cordwood stove. Pellet stove folks use much less time, but I guess pellets won't keep embers as long as a stove does.

    Again just for cordwood, I see no reason to vacuum in the stove during the burn season, most stoves burn better with at least some ash in them, and none of the rest will have a problem with what's left after doing a "quick and dirty" shovel removal of the bulk of the ashes (or emptying the ashpan depending on the stove) - The only time I see a need to vacuum a cordwood stove is to clean it up at the end of a burn season - this minimizes the corrosive effects of the ashes, and keeps the "dead fire" odors from the stove to a minimum (many people stick a box of baking soda in the firebox as well)

    Pellet stoves are a different critter, but not having run one, I can't comment on just how much they need it, other than noticing that at least some folks use the special purpose ash vacuums for them that can handle hot embers w/o problems.

    Gooserider
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