To keep your fireplace working properly, you must take care of it by performing a few routine maintenance tasks, and keeping the firebox clean is one of these tasks. When you are using your fireplace on a regular basis during the winter, you will need to remove ashes from the firebox every week or two. This task can pose a few safety issues, including accidental fires, so knowing how to dispose of ashes properly is very important. We place safety as our top priority at Weststar Chimney Sweeps, and we would like to share with you the best way of removing ashes from your firebox. Following these steps will allow you to safely remove ashes without any fire hazards.
Assemble your tools.
You will need a metal ash bucket that has a lid, an ash shovel, fire resistant gloves, and a face mask if you are concerned about inhaling ashes.
Allow the ashes to cool down.
We recommend waiting at least 24 hours after the fire has been extinguished before attempting to remove ashes. Sometimes, even 24 hours is not long enough to wait as ashes can burn slowly and smolder. This is why it is so important to know the proper procedure for removing ashes.
Scoop the ashes into the metal bucket.
Open up the fireplace screen and/or doors, and place your bucket in front of the firebox opening. Use your ash shovel to scoop up the ashes and place them in the bucket. If you come across any live embers, push them to the back of the firebox and cover them with a thin layer of ashes. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) actually recommends that you leave a one-inch layer of ashes on the firebox floor to help you build and maintain fires. This thin layer of ash can also protect the floor of your firebox.
Place the lid tightly on the bucket and store it outside of your home.
It is very important that you ensure that the lid fits tightly and completely seals the ashes inside the bucket. This will keep the ashes from spilling out if the bucket is knocked over by wind or something else accidentally. Additionally, there could be live embers or smoldering ashes within the bucket, and without a lid sealing the bucket, oxygen could reach those hot ashes to ignite a fire. It is also important to store this bucket outside on a non-combustible surface such as brick or concrete and away from dried leaves and firewood. If there are live embers or hot ashes inside the bucket, the heat could ignite anything combustible nearby.
Wait at least three days to throw your ashes away.
While you can always pour a bit of water inside the bucket to put out any live embers, it is best to wait three days before you place the ashes in your trash. If you have a garden, you can also sprinkle the ashes over your garden beds as well as work the ashes into your compost pile.
For more safety tips on maintaining your fireplace, contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps. We are more than happy to provide you with the best ways to safely enjoy your fireplace.