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Proper Ash Removal

Burning any type of solid fuel, including wood, charcoal, and pellets, will always create ash as a product. For fires intended to heat a space, a small bed of ashes can be useful for insulating hot coals and sustaining the heat of the fire. However, too much ash can damage the grate or the igniter because of its acidic properties. Thus, experts recommend keeping no more than an inch of ash in the fireplace or stove and never permitting it to contact the grate or igniter.


To maintain the proper level of ash or to completely clear the space of ash requires its safe removal and disposal. Many people do not treat the disposal of ash with enough respect, and sometimes this results in devastating fires. Ideally, the ash should be allowed to sit in the fireplace or stove until it cools. This is often not possible though, especially in homes that rely on the fireplace or stove for heat every day during the winter. In this case, there are special steps to take in order to safely dispose of the ashes.

The first step is to invest in a heat resistant metal container made specifically for the safe containment of ash. Most hardware or home improvement shops have these for sale. Under no circumstances should the ash ever be stored in another container, including but not limited to a bag, cardboard box, or plastic bin. The reason for this important rule is that hot coals often linger in the ash long after the fire has burned out because the ash acts as insulation to keep the coals warm.

Upon transferring the ashes into the heat resistant metal container, they must be wetted down with water. This helps extinguish any hot coals that still remain in the ash. Next, the container is to be stored outside away from any flammable structures or materials, including the house, garage, shed, or wood piles. The metal container should have come with a tight fitting lid, which is crucial for reducing the risk of fire. Wind blowing across an open container can stir up the ashes and uncover live coals, and this may lead to a fire. Therefore, the lid should be properly fitted and secured on the container.

If at all possible, the ash should be permitted one full week to cool fully. Most of the time it cools in as little as four days though, and this is the absolute earliest it can be moved. Once the ash has cooled completely, it can then be disposed of in the regular trash and set out for pick up. For any additional questions on the safe removal, storage, and disposal of ash, contact the experts at Bulldog Chimney Sweeps.