did i destroy my vacuum by sucking up ash

iron

Minister of Fire
Sep 23, 2015
585
north of seattle
i have two vacuums: a dust-buster-like one and a shark upright (bagless)

as we reload wood into the ZC fireplace, ash will fall out from time to time. our hearth is not sealed. as such, if i sweep the ash (or sometimes small coals), it'll stain the hearth to the point i need to scrub it out with soap and water. thus, i prefer to vacuum when possible.

the shark, which is about 8 years old, has this "feature" where when it's too dirty, it'll lose pressure and suck in air from somewhere else so as to not overwhelm the motor (my guess). you clean it, and then it's good. i've replaced all filters on it and i still get it doing the pressure release thing.

on the dust-buster vac, over a few years, the motor has gone from semi-loud to really loud and whiny. most of it's use has been ash collection.

so, have i messed up by using these vacs for this purpose, or is it coincidence? or, is there a specific vac type that should be used to remove ash?
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,295
Northern Maine
I would never use a household vac for any ash.
 

GadDummit

Burning Hunk
May 27, 2017
230
Oklahoma
If you're still getting the motor running, you haven't ruined it yet. On the dustbuster, throw the little cone shaped filter in the washing machine. Tiny particles plug that thing up until it's useless, even if you vacuum or shake it out.
I don't know about the shark, but I'd bet there's some kind of filter that's in the same shape. Follow the air path and i bet you find it.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,069
Palmyra, WI
I used a small mini vac for a while. Thought it was great - easy, quiet, efficient. Until I got a small ember inside and a burn hole in the filter. Not only did it ruin any filtration, the light bulb went on - ash, small embers, lint and dust, even if a very remote chance -
Broom and wet towel now. I know everyone has their own thing going, but I can rest easier. I don't get much ash spilled around, so overall not a real additional mess or issue.
 

Jags

Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
18,164
Northern IL
I would not use ANY vac that wasn't designed for ash/coal. One tiny unsuspecting hot ember under forced air can turn a normal vac into a flame thrower in seconds.
 
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Nealm66

Feeling the Heat
Sep 25, 2020
264
Western Washington
I picked up a 10 amp ash vacuum for 100$ at ace hardware. Haven’t used it yet but it’s not a huge investment that eliminates the potential problems of using something other. Hoping it doesn’t trip my stupid (probably smart) arc fault breaker
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,069
Palmyra, WI
I picked up a 10 amp ash vacuum for 100$ at ace hardware. Haven’t used it yet but it’s not a huge investment that eliminates the potential problems of using something other. Hoping it doesn’t trip my stupid (probably smart) arc fault breaker
I have an ash vac. The thing is such a noisy pos that I only use it for clean out every few weeks. Wipe down the glass, vac around inside the stove, inside the ash pan area, around the hearth, then put the noisy annoying thing away. It does have a large asbestos like filter,and is fairly efficient. It spends most of it's life out in the garage though.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,222
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I have an ash vac and a shop vac . . . but the only time either gets used is either at the start of the burning season after the stove has been dead for months or at the end of the burning season after the stove has been dead for several weeks.

Dust pan and broom works well enough for me.
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
547
Northwest Lower Michigan
When I started and I was broke I used an old canister with hepa filter bags scrounged from the local resale. Worked fine. Now I use a shop vac with a drywall dust filter.

I make sure my stove is cold before I clean it. I run the exhaust blower for maybe 5-10 minutes after it’s shut down, and the cold air pulled from outside makes the inside surfaces cold to the touch. Never any hot embers remaining.