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Proper Ash Removal

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.Ash Removal Best Practices - San Diego CA - Weststar Chimney Sweeps

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.

By Mike O'Mara on January 15th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

The Basics of Ash Removal

Don’t Let It Accumulate 

Did you know that the ash that is produced after burning combustible materials can still be used in other places? Did you also know that it’s not good to completely remove the ash? Despite the many toxins, there are still components in ash that make it beneficial and useful.

But Wait, There’s More

You don't want to remove ALL of the ash from your fireplace. Leave some about an inch thick.

You don’t want to remove ALL of the ash from your fireplace. Leave some about an inch thick.

Ashes are made after burning combustible materials. They are powder-like and are not something you’d like to smell especially for people with sensitive noses. They are harmful to people but they can still benefit you if you have a garden. There are materials in the ash that can contribute to a healthy growing plant.

The ash should not be taken out completely, especially when you are constantly using your fireplace. This is because it might be difficult to start out a fire once you use it again; more time, more effort, less fire, less heat. An inch thick of ash will suffice. This can help protect the area in your firebox.

But removing ash in the fireplace is still something that needs our attention. It can cause all sorts of health hazards and can eventually end up starting a fire. Our company specializes in keeping your fireplace and chimney at optimal functioning level so it’s important to let us do our job. But in any case, you should also be aware of the things you need to do to successfully remove ash.

Removing the Ash

Get your metal trash bin, metal dust pan and broom ready for sweeping. Make sure that the ash is cool before you attempt to do any cleaning. The reason is to make sure that no hot coals are present. Once cooled, take out the firebox and sweep it and put the ash in the dust pan and into the trash bin. This step-by-step process should be done at least three to four times a week depending on the number of times you use your fireplace.

It’s good to let a CSIA-certified sweep do the cleaning. This is usually done when you have your  inspection and clean-up. We’ve been serving the people of San Diego County for fifteen wonderful years, so feel confident with our certified techs. Feel free to contact us. We are happy to help.