what is considered "warm ash" Looking at Ash vacuums

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Rob_Red

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2021
289
Southern New England
I am sorry if this has been previously asked to death but what is considered warm ash? I would like to buy a proper ash vacuum and I'm wondering if I can vacuum ash that has some visible embers?

Currently when I shovel ash it is still has little bits of glowing embers as I'm digging through it, I place it in an ashcan with a tight fitting lid and I place it 10 feet from anything flammable for a week or so until I need to clean more ash. The sides of the bucket will get hot when doing this (not hot enough to burn the paint) Can I do something similar with an Ash Vacuum?
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,502
central pa
I am sorry if this has been previously asked to death but what is considered warm ash? I would like to buy a proper ash vacuum and I'm wondering if I can vacuum ash that has some visible embers?

Currently when I shovel ash it is still has little bits of glowing embers as I'm digging through it, I place it in an ashcan with a tight fitting lid and I place it 10 feet from anything flammable for a week or so until I need to clean more ash. The sides of the bucket will get hot when doing this (not hot enough to burn the paint) Can I do something similar with an Ash Vacuum?
Nope you cannot suck up live embers with any vacuum
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,119
Downeast Maine
I bought a Panther Plus ash vac and couldn't be happier with it. That being said I do not suck up any glowing ash.
 

Rob_Red

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2021
289
Southern New England
10-4 that's what I thought.

So what separates an ash vac from a shop vac with a HEPA filter? Is the fact that it's metal just in case embers get sucked up? I would imagine it would do a better job of containing a fire than a plastic shop vac.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,119
Downeast Maine
10-4 that's what I thought.

So what separates an ash vac from a shop vac with a HEPA filter? Is the fact that it's metal just in case embers get sucked up? I would imagine it would do a better job of containing a fire than a plastic shop vac.
You pretty much got it. The filtration is also much higher with a more powerful motor. My vac has a "jiggler" to knock dust loose from the filter.
 

WoodBurnerInWI

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2020
264
Madison, WI
This is what I have:

Amazon product
Works great so far, it even sucks up wood debris around the stove! Never use on ash or coals in a hot stove, obvious safety disclaimer :)
 

Max W

New Member
Feb 4, 2021
16
Maine
Yep , you definitely want that ash vac filter. We have had and maintained a cookstove for most of the last 50 years, first a little Princess Atlantic then a Waterford Stanley. A few years back l thought I had a clever idea, use the shop vac to pull out the soot scraped and knocked down from the cookstove channels That is until I turned around to see a black cloud exiting the vac‘s exaust. Not one of my finer moments.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,119
Downeast Maine
Yep , you definitely want that ash vac filter. We have had and maintained a cookstove for most of the last 50 years, first a little Princess Atlantic then a Waterford Stanley. A few years back l thought I had a clever idea, use the shop vac to pull out the soot scraped and knocked down from the cookstove channels That is until I turned around to see a black cloud exiting the vac‘s exaust. Not one of my finer moments.
I bought my ash vac just for cleaning my wood cookstove. I can't imagine the mess of trying to do it any other way!
 

savageactor7

Minister of Fire
Jan 25, 2008
3,751
CNY
Ash is most generally white, now if you poke into it or stir it to see red areas I's say that constitutes as 'warm'. Any way that is the kind of ash we add to our bucket every morning...

...then we rake the hot coals forward before reloading.

Metal buckets are a time tested fail safe way for handling ask/coals.
 

BigJ273

Feeling the Heat
Feb 15, 2015
461
Maryland
Do not under estimate the power of one single hot ember. Even a small one. Lesson learned after a fire (5 company response) on a very windy day, and insurance claim. I now scoop my ash into a metal pan. When it is about half full, I fill the rest with water and stir. I then let it sit for about 3 days before I dispose of it. I only use my ash vac to vacuum the mess around the stove and the ash cloud when I scoop into the pan. Never hot or warm, or anything close to warm, coals or ash.
 
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GENECOP

Minister of Fire
Jan 31, 2014
734
Ny
3F01CA68-F441-4082-B2A0-35F44340D02A.jpeg
I use this one, never intentionally suck up embers..
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,502
central pa
View attachment 275328
I use this one, never intentionally suck up embers..
We use a professional soot eater and once every couple of years we get an ember in it and light the filters on fire. It gets exciting quickly. And expensive. A full set of filters for that is about $150
 
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firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,407
Unity/Bangor, Maine
Ash is most generally white, now if you poke into it or stir it to see red areas I's say that constitutes as 'warm'. Any way that is the kind of ash we add to our bucket every morning...

...then we rake the hot coals forward before reloading.

Metal buckets are a time tested fail safe way for handling ask/coals.

Safer . . . yes. Fail safe . . . maybe not so much.

I think I recall Brother Bart or someone mentioning in a thread about someone putting an ash pan that had live coals in it on their wooden porch . . . and having it burn through the deck.

That said . . . I would use an ash pan any day over an ash vacuum when it comes to fire safety.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,119
Downeast Maine
Safer . . . yes. Fail safe . . . maybe not so much.

I think I recall Brother Bart or someone mentioning in a thread about someone putting an ash pan that had live coals in it on their wooden porch . . . and having it burn through the deck.

That said . . . I would use an ash pan any day over an ash vacuum when it comes to fire safety.
I use the ash vac for my safety, but it's not the embers/coals I'm worried about ;lol
 

cabinwarmer

Member
Sep 11, 2020
183
SE PA
My VAC says 100F max. That to me means = no ambers at all.