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How To Remove Ash Safely With an Ash Vacuum?

Who doesn’t love a cozy little fireplace in their living room?

If you have one, it can be that one thing that makes your home complete, but a fireplace is not without its faults. The same goes for an outdoor wood oven, a pallet oven, a pizza oven or a barbeque grill.

They are the perfect accessories to host a party, but cleaning up after could be a nightmare. If you have any of these features in your home, you must be tired of dealing with ash residue around your place. 

Ash residue around the house can be extremely difficult to deal with, and very bad for your health. Breathing in ash residue can seriously harm your lungs and needs to be cleaned up as fast as you can, but it can be hard to do so, especially if you don’t have the proper accessories.

Using a Normal Vacuum Cleaner 

If you are dealing with ash residue in your home or yard, there’s only one tool that you are going to need to clean it up: an ash vacuum cleaner. You can’t use a normal vacuum cleaner to pick up ash residue, not without having done serious damage to your machine. 

Regular vacuum cleaners are not equipped with dealing with hot ash residue; in fact, it’s not safe to use vacuum cleaners for this task. You can be pretty sure your regular vacuum cleaner is going to get seriously damaged the very first time that you use it to pick us ash residue and pieces, and soot.

An ash vacuum cleaner is the only kind of tool that is fully equipped to deal with the residues that are still hot. 

You can’t use a regular vacuum cleaner mainly for one reason: ash residue tends to be very hot even after they’ve settled around your house after you’ve finished using your fireplace, grill or outdoor oven.

They don’t cool easily, but sometimes takes around 18 to 24 hours to become cool enough to vacuum. If you want to use your regular vacuum cleaner for the job, you might have to wait for a fortnight to clean up the ash residue in your home, which is not really a very health conscious choice. 

Another reason is that ash residue resembles ultrafine dust; they are too minute and too fine for normal HEPA filters to catch or suck in, So, even if you do manage to use a regular vacuum cleaner to clean ash residue, it won’t do a very good job of it.

Therefore, the only way that you can safely and effectively clean ash residue is with a proper ash vacuum cleaner.

Why You Should Get an Ash Vacuum? 

As mentioned before, ash residue stays within the range of extremely to moderately hot for at least 10 days after you’ve used your fireplace, grill or oven.

This is something very dangerous to keep lying around the house, especially if you have children and/or pets. Besides, you can yourself accidentally step on hot ash residue and get a burn, or it can get on your clothes and belongings and leave a mark. 

Ash vacuum cleaners specifically made for this purpose has a few special features that can deal with the situation:

  1. An ash Vacuum has a metal housing, i.e. the ash residue is stored in a metal canister after being sucked in, keeping it safe. In a regular vacuum cleaner, the storage canister is usually made of plastic, which can melt or disfigure from the heat emitted by ash residues.
  1. The HEPA filters that can be found in a regular vacuum cleaner cannot be trusted to fully control and capture all the ash residue around your home. These HEPA filters are more suited for larger debris, dust, and hair, not ultrafine ash residue. Rather, when in use, ash dust can actually get into the motor of the vacuum cleaner and create problems.
  1. It’s not only the storage compartments of an ash vacuum that is made from metal to withstand heat, but also the hose that sucks in the fine dust. Since the ash residue will be still hot - or at least, warm - when it is being sucked in, the plastic hose in regular vacuum cleaners are guaranteed to get damaged from the confined heat.
  1. The metals storage units in an ash vacuum cleaner are built for storing your ash residue for at least a few days, so that you don’t have to clean it again and again after every use.

    Since the volume of ash residue around the house isn’t much, you can use the machine for 5-6 days before finally emptying it, and the residue will be safe inside. In the open, ash residue is a fire hazard, but confined inside the ash vacuum cleaner, it will stay trapped and safe. 

However, it is always recommended that an ash-filled vacuum cleaner isn’t kept anywhere near a fire source or even inside the home, but rather away from where people live and work.

  1. Besides, an ash vacuum cleaner is compact and easy to use. You can hold it in your hands to clean inside fireplaces, ovens, and grills with the especially long hose that comes with it.

Cleaning With an Ash Vacuum 

Cleaning with your ash vacuum isn’t much different than using a regular vacuum cleaner around the house, but with a few differences.

With an ash vacuum, you can’t pick up big pieces of coal and wooden splinters, but only fine ash and soot residue. It’s special HEPA filters are only useful for picking up minute particles. 

Here are the steps to using an ash vacuum cleaner:

  1. Plug in the machine
  2. Start the machine by pressing the on/off switch (varies with the model).
  3. Press nozzle to your fireplace, grill or oven’s surface to start suction.
  4. Clean as much as you can.
  5. Reach deep into your fireplace or oven to clean.
  6. Pull down the hose and shut off the machine.

Tips For using an Ash Vacuum 

Usually, it is better to clean up your fireplaces, ovens, and grills prior to using it, before it is about to get hot again. Also, a cleaning session needs to be completed a while after you have finished using these features and appliances in your home, when the ash residue has cooled down a little.

It is not recommended that you immediately start vacuuming after you have finished cooking in your outdoor, wood or pallet oven, your grill or extinguished the fire in your fireplace, but give it as much time as you can to cool down a little.

This is because even though the ash residue may look and feel cool on the outside, it may still be hot on the inside. 

Ash vacuums usually have a long, if a stiff, hose that is perfect for reaching deep into your fireplaces and pizza ovens. The hose is relatively stiff compared to the rubber/plastic hose of a regular vacuum cleaner since it needs to withstand the heat emitted from the ash residue.  

Another important point to remember while using an ash vacuum is that, the nozzle should be placed directly pressed against the flat surface of your fireplace, oven, and grill so that there’s no space in between for larger chunks of coal or wooden pallets to get inside the nozzles.

Neither the ash vacuum nozzles nor the HEPA filters are equipped to deal with chunks larger than the fine dust particles. If there are any larger chunks left in the fireplace or the ovens, they should be left behind to burn into ash residue the next time. 

If your nozzle happens to pick up a larger chunk, the machine needs to be shut off, dislodged and the chunk needs to be removed from the hose or the HEPA filters before you use the machine again.

You can use the machine several times until you have to empty it; however, it is better if you remove, empty and clean the canister before it is completely full.

 If the canister becomes too much packed, it will hamper the suction of ash residue since there will be very little space for airflow inside the canister. It is, actually, highly recommended that you empty the canister when it is ¾ full of ash residue. 

Features of a Good Ash Vacuum Cleaner

The right ash vacuum cleaner for your fireplace, outdoor ovens and barbeque grills must have some special features that a regular household vacuum cleaner doesn’t have, i.e.

  1. They should be compact and lightweight;
  2. They should have a perfectly sealed metal storage canister;
  3. They should be able to withstand a harsh environment;
  4. They should have a long metal hose;
  5. They should have a powerful motor;
  6. They should be relatively quiet, although a little noise is to be expected;
  7. They should have separate inner and outer filters;
  8. They should be easy to clean;
  9. They should be able to suck both dry and wet ash residue;
  10. They should have wheels underneath for easy movement;
  11. They should have a large storage capacity;
  12. They should have the provision to be used as a blower (optional);
  13. They shouldn’t consume much power;
  14. They should have a powerful, wide nozzle;

Finally, 

If you love having a working fireplace in your home, or if you love to entertain your friends around your barbeque grill and outdoor ovens, you definitely need an ash vacuum cleaner in your home.

No regular vacuum cleaner, no matter how powerful or how durable, can compete with the level of cleanliness offered by an ash vacuum when it comes to ultrafine ash and soot particles.

They are not very expensive or difficult to use, but a great ash vacuum is definitely going to make your life much, much easier. 

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