Best Soot Vacuums – The Comprehensive Guide

A soot vacuum makes removing soot and keeping your combustion based appliances clean and tidy safe, simple and efficient. 

Unlike other waste products produced as a result of the combustion process such as ash, soot is actually considered hazardous pollutant, which has been linked too many health conditions. For this reason, it is essential you use the proper equipment to remove the soot efficiently and safely.

This is where soot vacuums step in – these are appliances built to handle the task in every way that normal vacuums cannot. In this article we will explore the significance of soot, answer some of the most common questions and review some of the best soot and ash vacuums available.

Quick Picks: Soot Vacuum Reviews

  • Capacity: 3.5 gallons
  • Weight: 26 pounds

The Mastercraft Soot Master range has a long and solid reputation and is definitely a great choice for anyone looking for a portable, efficient and reliable soot cleaner. 

This soot vacuum is equipped with a double filtration system meaning you won’t have to worry about any of the dust and mess associated with traditional vacuum cleaners. 

Above the basket is a practical basket holder where you can easily store the hose when not in use. This is ideal for storage and when you need to move it around the house. It also has a 3 and a half gallon capacity, which makes it able to collect and store more than enough soot for several sessions. 

  • Capacity: 80 gallons
  • Weight: 15 pounds

The Cougar Ash Vacuum is the perfect solution for collecting ash, soot, dust and all other fire associated debris. 

The powerful suction is more than capable of collecting particles of all sizes and the large capacity means you won’t have to empty it as routinely as more budget units. 

All of the vacuums components are fire resistant, which offers the peace of mind needed when cleaning out ash and fireplace debris that can remain hot for some time.

The hose, container are metallic, while the filter inside is made from a heat resistant material.

Accessories can be purchased for an additional cost and include all the essential clean up tools, such as brushes, crevice devices and storage bag. Overall, a top quality soot vacuum that is well worth the investment. 

What is Soot? How does it differ from Ash & Dust?

Dust is broadly defined as particles in the atmosphere that derive from a wide range of sources including soil and pollution. Dust particles are often much larger than soot particulate matter and are not the result of the combustion process.

Ash and soot are both waste products that result from the burning of carbon fuel sources such as in a fireplace or furnace. The ashes are the solid remains that are mostly white in color. This is due to them no longer containing non-gaseous or non-liquid residues; a common example is the ashes that remain from a wood fire.

Soot is also a waste product; however, it is the product of the incomplete combustion of carbon, which occurs during the burning of common types of fuels such as coal, wood, gas and oil.

Unlike ash, soot is a much smaller particle, typically 0.1 microns, which is considerably smaller than ash particles, which average at between 1 to 10 microns.

Why do You Need to Remove Soot?

Soot, also sometimes referred to as black carbon is able to become an airborne pollutant that can penetrate deep into the lungs and potentially cause diseases such as cancer. This is why whenever you disturb and clean soot you need to do it with care.

Not only can soot be harmful to your health, but it can also cause considerable environmental damage to your home, often in the form of soot stains on walls, floors, ceilings and furnishings.

What Makes the Best Soot Vacuum?

Now that you are aware of the dangers of soot, you probably understand why it’s so important to remove it as efficiently as possible. In our view, that’s why soot vacs are so useful, as they will do the job normal vacuums can’t handle, since they simply don’t have the required power nor filter type.

With that said, here are some of the most important features to look for in a soot vacuum cleaner.

Does it have a HEPA Filter?

HEPA is an acronym for High Efficiency Particulate Air. In order for vacuum filters to be recognized as HEPA they are required to remove 99.97% of particles in the air that are 0.3 microns and above. Since soot is such a small particulate, using a soot vacuum that is able to efficiently collect small particulates is a wise choice.

What’s the CFM Rating?

CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and is a measurement of the vacuum fans capability to move air. This gives you an indication of the models efficiency, speed and how much operating power it holds.

What’s the Motor Power?

Concerning vacuums, the motor power is perhaps the most important metric since it provides a relatively accurate indication of the vacuums suction power. The higher the number the better and they typically range between 1 and 4.

Portability & Storability

Another crucial factor is choosing a new vacuum is both the portability and storability. Soot vacuums aren’t usually used as often as a normal vacuum so it helps if you can easily store it away. In addition, being able to easily move it around your property is also important, that’s why small soot vacuums are often lightweight and ideal for those with limited space.   

Final Thoughts

Soot vacuums are not like regular vacuums, they are built to withstand and easily handle the debris resulting from combustion. The best units available offer fire-proof designs, typically made from metallic and other fire resistant materials. 

When looking for a vacuum, make sure you choose one that meets your exact requirements. If you intend on cleaning your ash and soot on a daily or regular basis, then you may want to think about a unit with a more substantial capacity. 

About the Author

Dave Miller is a HVAC technician with over 10 years in the industry. Dave created HeatTalk with the ambition for it to become a resource for individuals looking for answers, whether they be a layman, student or a professional.

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