Sweep Safe ongoing education series
Hello fellow sweeps and industry professionals welcome to our article.
We all love our vacuums but no matter what model, after sucking up lots of fine soot eventually the filters will begin to block or the bag will be full and suction will be lost. Over time there have been some big innovations to dust separation but for some reason us chimney sweeps have missed out on what is available to resolve the issues we know exist.
This article focuses on one device that has tremendous benefits to chimney sweeps and a low cost too. That device is a cyclonic pre separator.
A pre separator is a device with a catchment drum that attaches via hoses before the vacuum and thus becomes the first line of defence.
The device works by cyclonic action, the vacuum draws air and particles through the device where centrifugal forces separate the soot particles from the air causing them to fall out of solution and into the drum rather than the vacuum container or bag.
Why is this good for sweeps?
Chimney sweeps utilise the power of their vacuum to control dust while sweeping but as the vac fills up the suction and therefore control over the dust is lost, increasing the risk to the property and user. Some factor manufacturer pre separators boast over 95% efficiency meaning the vast majority of soot will never enter the vac or block the filter or bags.
Size and available collection volume. The attached cyclonic container may be much larger than the bag or drum of the vacuum meaning a small powerful vacuum can perform as well or even better than a very large vacuum and actually collect much more dust between emptying and bag changes.
There is a massively reduced requirement for both cleaning of the vac itself, the use of expensive bags and changing filters. This reduction in wear and bag use results in lower user costs.
Finally some vacuums run hot and even cut out as the filters clog because airflow over the motors is diminished. It is this airflow that cools the. Keeping the filters cleaner for longer results is a vac that can be run for prolonged periods with a lower change of overheating or even damage that may be caused as a result overheating.
Due to the volume requirement of the drum traditionally only very large vacuum cleaners were deemed suitable for sweeping many chimneys. The big negatives of using a behemoth of a vac being the associated weight and costs. With a pre separator it is possible to deal with large volumes of soot and without loss of suction.
Smaller vacs have grown in favour recently as us sweeps start to age and now that engine design has made them in general far more powerful.
Shown in my pictures is pressure relief valve. This valve is important when using larger plastic or even steel drums these can crush under the vacuum force when the hose nozzle is blocked. A small pressure relief or anti crush valve prevents this.
Using barrels as shown in the pictures has a huge benefit when sweeping large or commercial chimneys. As they fill you can simple change the lid of a new barrel for the separator, attach a new barrel and carry on sucking away with the soot now safely stowed within a sealed container ready for safe disposal. Furthermore a barrel or drum size can be tailored to fit specific job requirements or even the size of your van or truck.
Thank you all from the sweep safe team. Remember you heard it here first.
For the environment
For chimney sweeps
For the consumer