Use the proper technique to prevent, or minimize, clogging. Do not lower the nozzle directly on top of a pile of ash because larger chunks of charcoal and unburned material will clog the nozzle. Instead, rest the tip of the nozzle directly on the firebrick and hold it so there is a narrow gap that allows only small ash particles to be sucked in. Move the nozzle in small circular motions while maintaining contact with the firebrick surface. The ash is actually removed from the bottom and not the top. Larger pieces of wood or charcoal, etc. can be left in the stove and burned at a later time. Larger particles or materials are not meant to be removed with this vacuum.
If the nozzle gets clogged, DO NOT use your fingers to clean it out because it may be very hot. The proper way to unclog it is to tap it gently on the firebrick, or base of the fireplace or stove.
The vacuum is designed to remove only fine ash. Larger pieces are more likely to contain hidden hot embers, which can damage the primary filter. These larger pieces should be left in the stove or fireplace and burned at a later time. Be sure to use proper nozzle technique to prevent large pieces from being vacuumed.
Time to empty the canister and/or clean the filters.
This is a simple and clean operation. You don't even have to open the canister. Remove the brass screw-on cap on the top of the Ash Vac, and whiggle the agitator rod back and forth (not up and down) for a few minutes. This knocks ash that has been accumulating on the primary filter off, back into the canister. Be sure to put the cap back on and hand tighten.
If this type of cleaning doesn't result in your Ash Vac returning to full suction, you will need to clean the primary filter. To do this, you have to take the lid off, and you should do this outside, or in a workspace you don't mind getting a little dirty. Using a flat screwdriver, losen the band clamp that holds the primary filter in place. Remove it. Then do the same with the inner, secondary filter. Using another vacuum, vacuum the ash out of the filters to clean them. Reinstall, and you're good to go!
Typically after 60-80 gallons of ash has been collected by the vacuum.
Changing of the filters is determined by the use and care given. We recommend that the filters be changed after about 100 gallons of ash have gone through the vacuum.
No. Both filters are specially coated and if they are washed, the finish will be removed and they will not operate properly.
Proper use of your Ash Vac will prevent this from happening. While the primary filter is fire-resistant to 1,000 degrees, large red-hot embers pressed up against it with fast circulating air fanning the temperature higher can cause burn holes. The Ash Vac is designed for "warm ash" NOT hot embers.
This concern is more prevalent with pellet stoves, although it can also happen with regular wood burning fireplaces. The best protection from this type of damage is to allow burnt material to completely cool before vacuuming, and using the nozzle as we recommend to only permit fine ash particles into the vacuum. Hold the tip of the nozzle directly against the firebrick at an angle that only permits fine ash, not large chunks, to enter the nozzle. Vacuum ash from the bottom - not from the top of a pile where red hot embers are more likely to be encountered.
No. This vacuum is only designed for ash. If it is used as a regular shop vacuum for materials that could be flammable and then used in a stove and live embers are removed, a fire could result.
We recommend emptying the vacuum when the ash level is as high as the port on the side of the canister. When the ash gets this high, you will usually notice a slight reduction in suction because of the reduced area for depositing the ash in the canister.
No. Our Ash Vacs are designed for cool to warm ash removal ONLY. Do NOT use one to pick up hot embers.
The Love-Less Ash Company manufactures ash vacuums and accessories for cleaning fireplaces, wood stoves and grilles.