The Irish-based company has a reputation for excellence and is quite popular and well-known in the UK for their outstanding range of fireside products, including their popular De Vielle ash vacuum. It’s the perfect tool for cleanup after those really messy jobs.
Ash is the unhappy consequence of any type of fire, be it from a family BBQ in the backyard, or a warm fire in the fireplace or wood stove. It’s just an unavoidable consequence. There aren’t that many ash cleaners in the UK compared to those on offer in the American market, but UK customers should not feel slighted because of that, especially not after you see all the innovative features that the De Vielle has to offer.
Does The Ash Have To Be Cold?
The vacuum is built with fire-resistant cylinders, a reinforced hose lined with aluminum, an aluminum nozzle, and a metallic primary filter, but even with all these features, it’s just not designed to withstand hot ash. Even warm ash will inevitably contain hotter bits that might melt some of the plastic parts or burn a hole in the bag filter, thus damaging the appliance. A good rule of thumb is to let the ashes cool down for 24 hours as the vacuum instruction manual recommends.
The instruction manual does not cover everything though, and here’s something you’ll want to be mindful of. While you can use this vacuum for every day jobs, it’s probably a good idea to empty it after each use. Imagine the unfortunate side effects if a hot ember made its way to the canister, which contained cloth fibers or wood shavings!
Can The Filtration System Stop Ashes From Going Through?
As ash particles could be as small as 3 microns or less, it’s somewhat tricky to keep them from blowing through the exhaust of any ash vacuum. The De Vielle ash vacuum though, is the only one on the market with a triple filtration system. This turns out to be remarkably effective and efficient.
The purpose of the primary wire filter, which is located on the bottom of the upper section, is to stop any small stones or other particles which may still be hot) from making contact with the secondary bag filter. This second is a fiberglass cloth filter. Its job is to stop dust-sized particles. The great thing about this filter is that it can be cleaned and even washed for reuse. If it gets damaged, a replacement for it would set you back around 6. The third tier of the filtration system is designed to stop ultra-fine ash particles, and consists of a HEPA filter which can also be washed and reused. Price-wise, it’s in the same range as the cloth filter.
Does It Have Enough Suction?
In order to provide enough suction through both the cloth and HEPA filters, the vacuum has to be equipped with a powerful motor. 1200 Watts seems more than sufficient to the task. At that power, you might think that the noise of the device would be deafening, and make no mistake, it’s fairly loud, but not as loud as you might think. At 78dB, it’s absolutely bearable for the short spans of time you’ll be making use of it.
The vacuum’s cord is sadly not retractable, but you can use the Velcro strap that’s provided to keep the cord tidy and out of your way. It’s only 48 inches long, so in many cases, you may need to make use of an extension cord to get closer to the fireplace.
Innovative Ash Container
The canister consists of two metal chambers, kept together by virtue of two locking tabs. The bottom-most chamber is capable of holding 16 liters of material. The top chamber seems to be of the same size, but as it houses two filters and the motor, its capacity is limited to just six liters. In theory then, the vacuum could hold something close to 25 liters of material. The reality, however, is that it would get clogged long before this theoretical capacity was ever reached. That’s not a bad thing though, as packed ash can get quite heavy. You’d be lugging around a vacuum cleaner that weighed as much or more than a large bucket of water! Unfortunately, the reviewed vacuum cleaner did not come with casters.
To avoid an awful mess when emptying, it’s necessary to take the vacuum outside. The goal of the double chamber design was to enable easy emptying of the bottom section, but ONLY the bottom section. Don’t make my mistake and disconnect the two chambers inside your home. You’ll be instantly sorry! The filter bag in the upper section is covered with a layer of ash particles which fall off and turn into dirty clouds with every move you make.
The unique triple filtration system is both efficient and effective, and stands out as one of the great design strengths of the De Vielle
A powerful, reasonably quiet motor that ensures sufficient suction
The double chamber solution, although imperfect, allows for a relatively simple and painless emptying process
The appliance is a bit on the cumbersome side. Inconveniently heavy for lifting. Adding casters would greatly help!
The hose is about 1.5 meters long and fairly stiff, which makes cleaning ash from any surface higher than 1m a difficult proposition
Storage – This always seems to be a disadvantage when talking about ash vacuums. No matter how careful you are, or where you put it, expect to see some ash deposits.
Needs a better cord solution than the provided Velcro strap
Price and Conclusion
The De Vielle ash vac is a bit pricy when compared to the other ash cleaners on offer in the UK market. However, I don’t think it’s fair to the competition to set them next to the De Vielle. It’s just not a contest. The De Vielle’s innovations, from the triple filtration system to the double chamber design, make it absolutely worth the added investment.
The vacuum is offered both in stainless steel or an attractive charcoal finish. The appliance is covered under a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty, which is about the standard, so nothing exceptional to note there.