Make a Fireplace Ash Vacuum

What You'll Need
Shop Vac bag designed for fine particles
Shop Vac
Flame retardant filters (if possible)
Dust Pan
Fire Resistant Hose (if possible)

A fireplace makes a great addition to a home. Unfortunately, over time, ashes build up and if they are not removed right away they can lead to excess soot and dust in your home and can make your home a fire hazard. Getting rid of the fireplace ash is simple with a vacuum. You should not use a traditional household vacuum for this purpose. If you do not have access to a shop vac, you can rent one at most hardware stores

Step 1 - Making the Ash Vacuum

Ashes should be removed from your fireplace frequently using a fireplace ash vacuum. If you do not have access to an ash vacuum you can vacuum up the ashes using a shop vac. A shop vac has many different attachments that can be used, there are some that are designed to pick up fine particles such as fireplace ash.
It is ideal to have a fire resistant hose and a fire retardant filter in your shop vac, but in the absence of those items, wait until the ashes have completely cooled before vacuuming the up.
Do not use traditional vacuum bags to vacuum up fireplace ash. The ash particles are extremely fine and can pass through the filter and the bag and be redeposited into the air that you breathe.

You will want a shop vac bag that is rated for "ultra-fine particle" use. Some will even have ash on the label. If one is not already on your shop vac, you will need to purchase a cylindrical filter.   

Step 2 - Install the Bag and the Filter

Following the manufacturer instructions, install your bag and your filter. Make sure that these are properly installed to avoid any of the fireplace ash being blown over your house.

Step 3 - Vacuuming Up the Ash

Before beginning, you can sweep up around the fireplace if needed. Just make sure that the ashes are completely cool before handling.  

Make sure to remove any large pieces of wood from your fireplace as vacuuming those up could damage your shop vac. 

When using the vacuum, point the nozzle directly into the fireplace making sure to move it in a circular motion. By following this technique, the ash in the bottom of the fireplace will be taken out and you avoid clogging the nozzle.

To keep the nozzle from getting clogged and to keep your vacuum functioning properly, make sure to clean your filter regularly. All you have to do is remove the filter and shake it out and the ashes will fall out. You can usually tell if the filter needs to be replaced when the vacuum looses its suctioning power. 

When you are emptying out your shop vac, make sure to take your vacuum outside to empty it.