When you burn wood, ashes are a fact of life, and enjoying wood-burning fires does come with a few chores, including removing ashes from the fireplace or stove. For some people, the sensory experiences of wood-burning fires are worth these chores, but, of course, knowing the best ways to maintain your wood-burning fireplace or stove can make all of the difference. Ash removal can be tricky as it can lead to a couple of fire hazards, so it is important to know how to safely dispose of ashes. As fire safety is a top priority at Aelite Chimney Specialties, we would like to let you know the best ways to remove ashes from your fireplace or stove.

The Traditional MethodStove & Fireplace Ash Removal Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties LLC

Before you begin this task, you should ensure you have the proper tools: a metal ash bucket with a lid, a metal ash shovel, gloves, and a face mask if you do not want to inhale ashes. After you have gathered your tools, you will want to be sure to wait at least 24 hours after the fire has been extinguished. This gives the ashes time to cool, although there will likely still be a few hot embers and smoldering ashes. To begin this task, open the doors of your fireplace or stove and begin scooping out the ashes with the ash shovel into your metal bucket. If you come across any hot embers, you can push them to the back of the firebox with your shovel. Do not remove all of the ashes. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that you leave a one-inch layer of ashes at the bottom of the firebox. This layer provides insulation that makes it easier to start and maintain a fire as well as protection to the firebox floor.
Once you have scooped up the ashes into the container, place the lid on it, and be sure the lid fits tightly to keep the ashes contained. There could be smoldering ashes inside, and the lid keeps oxygen from getting in to reignite those hot embers. Also, your container could be accidentally knocked over, which not only creates a big mess, but could also start an accidental fire. Place the container outside of your home on a non-combustible surface, such as concrete or brick. Any hot embers can heat up the container, and that heat could transfer to a combustible surface and ignite a fire. After three days, your ashes should be ready to place into a garbage bag to be disposed. You can always pour a little bit of water into the container to extinguish any smoldering ashes.

The Easy Method

If you have a wet/dry vacuum, you can simply vacuum up the ashes. For this method, Aelite Chimney Specialties recommends that you wait for four days after the fire has been extinguished to be sure no hot ashes end up inside your vacuum. All you will have to do after vacuuming the ashes is throw away the disposable bag. Remember to leave behind a thin layer of ashes for insulation and protection reasons, as mentioned above.
For more wood-burning fireplace and stove maintenance tips, contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties. We are happy to help you take the best care of your wood-burning heating appliance.