Is it a bad idea to vacuum the ashes out of the fireplace with a
ShopVac, using the "soot" bag? I feel like it might clog the bag,
but otoh, isn't that the point of a soot-style bag?
What about vacuuming with a regular filter? That will clog the filter
The alternative is to spray enough water on the ashes to keep them
from getting all over the place, and shovel them into a bag. I've done
that but vaccuming seems like it would be easier.
Use the soot bag. A regular filter is not going to catch it all. Shovel the
bulk of the ash first. Slowly, though, it does not take much to get the ash
to fly around. Use a metal container and be sure the ash is cold before
vacuuming. It can stay hot for a long time after the fire seems out.
Ed's right on the money. I burn a wood stove and in order to clean it I
need to allow it to go out *completely* (8 hrs +/-). Even at that there can
be small embers down deep so I shovel into an old coal skuttle. There are
also small metal bodied vacs meant just for this so, they are fireproof
(e-bay has them). When shoveling into an open container do so very slowly
or, as Ed said, you will get ash everwhere.
I don't think it would hurt the bag- but I wouldn't try it if there
has been a fire in the fireplace for a week or so. One tiny ember,
coupled with the fanning action of the vacuum could make a real mess
when you get a hole in the bag. If you had a fire the night before &
some good hardwood burning- a tiny ember or two is likely.
Get a tip for the vac that you only use in the fireplace. It will be
too sooty to use anywhere else. [and every time you use the hose, if
you drop while it isn't sucking it you're likely to get a mess]
I would think so-- and it would definitely make cleaning the filter a
much messier prospect.
"Easier" is putting a gas insert in your fireplace. Remote
controlled, heat when you want it, and off when you're done; no mess--
and if you're buying firewood, cheaper to operate. I switched 5-6
years ago & have been loving it ever since.
My parents learned to leave at least an inch or so of ashes
in the fireplace. Helps hold the heat, while the fireplace
is being used. Small metal shovel, and galvanized pail is
the way to go. Done gently, it doesn't make a mess. Leave
the ashes to the next day, and then dump them out. Or shovel
the ashes the day after you have a fire in the fireplace.
I've done both -- using a shop vac and shoveling ash into a bag -- and found
using the shop vac easier at first but you still have to empty the catch
Don't worry about the soot bag; it's designed to catch the finer
particulates and keep them contained. The first time I didn't use one,
thinking like you, that the filter would be enough. The resulting "dusting"
throughout the entire house (both stories) was enough to convince me to
_NEVER_ do that again. ;)
We now have a gas fireplace that's more ornamental than useful. I often miss
having fires during the winter, even romanticizing all the work associated
with setting, stacking, storing, and cleaning up...
I prop the hose from a canister vac in the top corner of my open stove door,
with the vac on. I then scrape the ashes to one side, then dump them into a 1/4"
mesh basket set in the other side, and sift the ashes onto the stove bottom.
Brush the sifted ashes to one side, then dump the unburned coals from the basket
onto the other side. Scoop the sifted ashes into a big metal popcorn can, tipped
carefully into the door, and lid the can before pulling it away. The vac
captures any dust that doesn't go up the stack.
The vac bag lasts for a season. I only use that vac for that use. It has a paper
bag, so I have to be very careful to never pick up hot sparks with it.
I have considered building a metal can "prefilter" with a fiberglass cloth
filter to allow hot ash cleanup, to be used with a fine metal screen on the
I guess I'm lucky 'cause my fireplace has a trap door covered hole in
it's floor which lets me sweep the ashes into it, whereupon they fall
into a concealed chamber in the fireplace/chimney foundation with a
cleanout door inside our garage.
I've labeled that door "Ash Hole".
Thanks all. I will amalgamate all the advice. Probably scoop up what
I can and vacuum the rest. I only clean the fireplace aboutt once
every 6 fires.
Maybe you all remember two years ago when my neighbor was complaining
about the tree that fell into my yard, which I cut up and spread out
over deck. I told him I was going to burn the stuff, but then I had
surgery a year ago september and again in January. And he was still
complaining. So in the spring I made a firewood rack from a kit and
started burning it in September and I;ve burned 2/3 of it.
And last August I got rid of 3 of my spare lawnmowers he didn't like
I've done everything he wanted, but unfortunately my neighbor wasn't
here to see it, having lost his home at tthe start of august.
But I have a new neigbbor, a quite pleasant, very pretty single girl
with long blonde hair. So I'm going on a diet and I've going to lose
65 pounds and 30 years. I won't have much time to post after that.
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