So you think you want to clean that oil furnace or oil boiler yourself. You have watched the service guy do it and really didn’t think that it looked all that hard. You stick the hose of your shop vac into the chamber and all the soot is broadcast all over the place! Yikes, what did he have that you don’t in there?
When cleaning an oil fired appliance you need to remember that the dust created by the unit is very fine and will just go right through the filters that are standard to most shop vac’s. You will have to go to the store and find some special equipment to catch all that fine black dirt. It is very easy to find if you know what to look for.
Most vac’s have a foam filter over a cage that holds the ball on wet/dry vac’s or the cage that holds the foam filter on just dry vac’s. When you go shopping for your new filters, look for the paper filter and ring that hold the filter paper over the cage. This filter is actually your second stage of defense. To really help out you need to get your first stage.
The first stage is a paper filter bag that installs over the intake to you tank. These bags come in different sizes depending on the size of your vac. You take the bag and carefully install it in the tank making sure that the mouth of the bag is seated securely onto the intake of the tank. This bag will catch the majority of the dust and make it very easy to contain and throw out also.
Now you are ready to clean your oil furnace or boiler like a pro. As long as you keep everything dry you will be fine. Dampness or water will make a hole in the bag and filter which will ruin any chance of filtering your air intake properly. Also remember that you are filtering through a fairly fine media and it will plug up rather quickly. You may need to change the bag and filter a couple of times to complete a job.
One final thing for you guys. If you are planning to use the shop vac that your wife uses for her everyday cleanups, you may want to rethink this. After you get done with it and have black soot all over the nozzle and such you will be sleeping in the doghouse if your wife goes to use it and ends up with black on something good of her’s. You have now been warned. Don’t blame me for anything that happens to you as a result of not heeding this warning.