When Should I Remove My Fireplace Ashes? | Apex Chimney Services

August 20, 2019

Any homeowner with a wood-burning stove or fireplace will eventually be faced with the problem of ash buildup. In today’s post, our Apex chimney contractor will discuss when ashes are actually beneficial, and when they should be removed.

Why You Shouldn’t Clean Your Fireplace Ashes Every Day   

A little bit of fireplace ash is actually a good thing, for the following reasons.

Firstly, having a little ash—about one inch—on the floor of your firebox makes it easier to build and maintain a fire. The hot coals tend to nestle into the ash, insulating them and reflecting the heat back into the fire. In other words, more ash means more glowing hot coals and a better fire.

Ashes in the bottom of your fireplace or wood stove also help your fire burn with a much higher intensity, reducing smoke and, therefore, the amount of creosote buildup. Since creosote can cause significant health problems, a lot of ash is a sign that there is minimal creosote. Although we all love that smoky fireplace smell, it’s better for your long-term health to have a strong, clean-burning fire.

Finally, ash keeps the bottom of the firebox cool, protecting your furnace and your flooring from excess heat.

Therefore, although it seems like a good idea to remove ashes often, even daily, it isn’t recommended. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends leaving at least an inch of ash in the fire box at all times.

When Fireplace Ashes Should Be Removed

Ashes can be dangerous because even when they look cold, and seem cold, they can actually be very hot. When ashes are allowed to fill the firebox, they can fall out onto carpet or flooring and catch fire. They can also be dangerous if handled incorrectly. It is therefore a good idea to remove ashes when they begin to cover the coals following a regular burn cycle.

How to Safely Remove Fireplace Ash

When you’re ready to remove the ash, take an ash bucket on hand. Shovel the ashes into the bucket, taking care to not stir the ash more than needed. Shovel the ashes from the back of the firebox where there may be buildup, and remove it from the front where it may cover a vent. Once you have shoveled all you want into the bucket, set it aside to cool. It can cool outside or inside, but should be kept away from combustibles.

Schedule a Chimney Cleaning with our Apex Chimney Company

Of course, the easiest, cleanest, and safest way to dispose of your fireplace ashes is to have someone else do it for you. Our Apex chimney cleaning company has the experience and skills necessary to not only clean out your ashes, but scrub your harmful creosote accumulation, inspect the chimney for signs of damage, and make any necessary repairs. To schedule your sweeping and inspection, click here!