Can you vacuum ashes from wood-burning fireplace?

harvwaldNovember 9, 2004

I'm sure I read that it's not a good idea to use a regular vacuum on ash in a fireplace (something about fine particles clogging up the system). But does anyone know if you could use a handheld vac? I'm thinking of buying a Filterstream Dirt Tamer, which has a HEPA filter. Opinions? Thanks for your help.

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I have a little shop vac, (bagless) that I use to vacuum up ash - AFTER it's cooled of course.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 8:59PM
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I would not use a hand vac, but have used a shop vac as Shaun mentioned.

The house we're now building will have a wood burning FP, & I'm buying a metal ash tray to fit beneath the logs that will make clean up easier. The tray can be lifted out & emptied into the trash (or better yet, into the flower beds.) Various catalogs sell them for $20 - $30. Some are expandable to fit a variety of FP sizes. Dh intends to paint ours black (w/ the paint made to withstand high heat) so that it will visually disappear. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2004 at 8:49AM
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I've never heard of that metal ash tray thing, but it sounds like a great idea. And I agree that you could put the ash in the flower beds (or in my case, by the lilac tree, which I think likes ashes). Much cheaper solution. Thank you.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2004 at 11:13AM
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In case you want to check it out, Brookstone catalog has the best price I've seen so far. It's possible that your local hardware store might carry it as a seasonal item, too.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 6:30AM
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i am lazy and i hired a chimney sweep to come and they cleaned out all the ashes from the fireplace and chimney for $75.00 - i dont know if that is too expensive but it saved me the huge mess i had, compared to the last time i tried to do it myself with shop vac.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 2:46PM
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Joepyeweed, omg you just reminded me of a disaster I had one day.

I was on a cleaning frenzy. I even polished the glass panes in the French Doors that lead into the computer room, just off the fireplace area.

I finished vacuuming the carpets, cleaned the wood (laminate) flooring and was now onto the fireplace ashes. Got out my little shop vac, plugged the hose into the suction hole, or so I thought, and turned it on.

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had the hose plugged into the BLOW AIR OUT part. Holy Crap! Ashes went everywhere. And I mean everywhere. All over the glass panes, the flooring, the carpet, the furniture I had just dusted.

Nothing I could do except cry. So that's what I did. Then I cleaned again.

I like that tray idea but with my luck, I'd trip over the cat and drop it or a big wind would come and blow it all over me.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 9:32AM
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my mess was somewhat similar but not quite as extreme... i tried to use a shop vac and i was sucking the ashes out of fireplace and about 1/3 of the ashes were blowing out the back of the canister... i learned that our shop vac needed a new seal around the can...

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 4:14PM
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i might add - as Shaun will attest to - its best to clean your fireplace first and then clean the rest of the house...

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 4:15PM
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Hear Hear......I so agree!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 7:54PM
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i've never actually vaccummed my fireplace because i hear of the messes it could make, but when searching google for fireplace maintenance/woodstove maintenance/ fireplace cleaning ... i cam across this tool called the ashtrap. what it is is the little hand held device you push into your fireplace and it scoops and cleans the ash and other debris sooo good!!!! no mess... easy to use... costs next to nothing!!...and it even holds the ashes so you can walk outside and dump them where ever you want.
the website i think is or , but either way i'd suggest looking into it if its ash removal you want ... it sure helpd me alot

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 12:45PM
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A wire brush and dust pan make fireplace cleaning easy. Dump the ashes in your garden,they're good fertilizer.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 6:14PM
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