vacuuming fireplace


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 quickly, right?
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.
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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.
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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.
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wrote:

A wisk broom and shovel does the job very well for me and if you do it right there is little mess.
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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.
Jim
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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.
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mm wrote:

Take a piece of plywood the size of your window. Cut a hole and mount the vac head to it and put it in the window with no filter. Blow all the ash outside sparks and all.
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Only a real ash hole would do that to the neighborhood.
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Van Chocstraw wrote:

Vac heads don't suck directly into the fan from the input. So, it's not that simple.
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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 area.
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...
The Ranger
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On my stove, the recesses are flat and cornered. I take a piece of sheet metal, and scoop out the ashes into a trash can, then vacuum the rest.
Steve
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mm wrote:

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 hose wand.
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mm wrote:

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".
Jeff
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On Tue 01 Dec 2009 10:32:08a, jeff_wisnia told us...

I've known people with the same label.
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wrote:

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 my having.
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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Hint: if you wouldn't clean your fireplace so often, you'd have more spare time. I clean mine about every six months. Whether it needs it or not.
Steve
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