A wood-burning fireplace is by far the dirtiest fireplace there is. With the comfort and coziness of real wood burning comes soot, smoke, dirt, dust, debris -- even critters! Plus, it also requires constant maintenance throughout the winter -- removing ashes and adding new wood. However, when it is clean the rewards for having a wood stove far out weigh the maintenance factors. So to help out our fellow wood fireplace lovers we will share with you all on how to prepare and clean your wood-burning fireplace.
Whenever you burn a solid fuel, such as wood, coal, or pellets, in your stove, fireplace, or insert, you will be left with ashes to remove. These ashes must be removed periodically as they can affect both performance and durability of the product. The frequency of this ash removal will depend on the product itself, the type of fuel being burned, and the species of the fuel. Small bits of hot coals removed, mixed and buried within the ashes, represent a hidden danger. What many consumers are unaware of is that these hot coals can stay dormant for weeks when buried in ashes. The ash acts as an insulator keeping coals from burning out. All these coals need to flare up once more is oxygen. It’s for this reason fire departments often return to a scene to place more water on smoldering timbers and newly flared coals.
The key is a safe removal of ashes and coals from the product, and from the living quarters. The proper type of ash “holder” or pail, for ash removal and storage should also be sheet metal. The bottom should be slightly offset from the bottom so that the actual bottom does not make contact with flooring. The edge will and should make contact, but the majority of the bottom is elevated. The pail should have a large wire handle for easy carrying. And, most importantly, the pail should have a lid that closes tightly. This is the key for safety. Spend the few extra dollars to purchase an ash bucket that has the features just mentioned. There are many ash buckets in our industry that are quite decorative as well so aesthetics need not be too ignored. And, do not place the bucket directly on a wood porch or breezeway floor, but instead, on a non-combustible surface such as stone, concrete, brick, or slate. Contact us today if you need any fireplace accessories or even questions about fireplace inserts and stoves.