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Ash Removal Best Practices

Store and dispose of your ashes properly

Store and dispose of your ashes properly

The warm glow of a wood-burning fire in your fireplace or stove is something that’s hard to resist and impossible to imitate. Investing in a wood-burning heating appliance will not only improve the way you heat your home, it will also create an atmosphere of warmth and comfort that you will absolutely love. As with any major appliance, maintaining your fireplace or stove is most essential if you want to keep it working efficiently. Keeping a clean firebox is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your appliance is burning efficiently and safely.

Why Do I Need To Remove Ash From My Fireplace?

There are a number of reasons to remove ash from your fireplace. Firstly, if left to build up, the ash can cause a mess inside your fireplace and the surrounding area. Ash can cause stains and can be a real problem if your chimney is not kept neat. Additionally, too much ash in your fireplace can cause the grate to burn out quickly, which can mean costly and unnecessary replacements for you.

Should I Leave A Little Ash In My Fireplace?

Yes, about an inch of wood-burning by-product should be left in your fireplace. The reason for this is because ash is a great insulator and can make it easier to build a long-burning fire that burns very hot. The coals of a fire will nestle into the moderate amount of ash left behind and will generate even more heat than if your firebox was left completely clean or left with too much ash inside.

What Are Some Ash Removal Best Practices?

Of course, when you’re cleaning out your firebox you want to take great care, and calling a professional company is the best way to do so. Ash can be messy and you don’t want to inhale any particles. Beyond this, many fireboxes have traps and other cumbersome inserts that can make removing ash difficult and dirty. A professional company like Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps in upstate South Carolina can aid in all your ash removal and chimney sweeping. A certified company will have trained professionals that are well versed in all types of wood-burning appliances so you can be sure your fireplace or wood stove is in good hands. Once they’ve removed all the ash, ask them to reserve some to be recycled around your own home. It may sound silly but there are a variety of uses for the leftovers including:

Use around garden beds to repel snails and slugs
Use as a de-icer during cold winter months
Save ash and use if a pet has an encounter with a skunk
Enrich compost by adding a little bit of ash to your outdoor bin

Maintaining your wood-burning fireplace or stove will keep it burning efficiently and safely all winter long. Trusting a professional chimney sweep to handle ash removal, chimney sweeping and chimney inspection will aid in keeping your home clean, safe and ash free. Contact Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps today and enjoy the warm glow of your fireplace without all the messy work.

Proper Ash Removal

Removing all the ash in your fireplace can actually be harmful! Learn more ash tips here!

Removing all the ash in your fireplace can actually be harmful! Learn more ash tips here!

When you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, cleaning up ashes is a necessary chore. Burning wood will always produce ashes. You can reduce the amount of ashes by burning hardwoods like oak, elm, and hickory rather than softwoods like cedar, pine, and fir. Softwoods are lighter in weight and can generate more ash. Despite which species you use for firewood, there will always be ashes to remove. Although this task seems simple, our customers often ask us for our advice on proper ash removal. We would like to share some of our tips on this topic to inform you of the importance of correctly removing ash from your fireplace or stove.


Store ashes in a metal bucket with a tight-fitting lid. Small pieces of hot coals are buried within the ashes when you scoop them out of the firebox of your fireplace or stove. Without a lid on your ash bucket, you have a fire hazard on your hands. Winds can stir up the ashes and reactivate the coals, and if the bucket should get blown over, hot coals can easily start a fire.

Place your ash bucket on a concrete, stone, slate, or brick surface. Putting the bucket on a wooden floor can be dangerous, even if the lid is shut. Hot coals within the ashes can make the bottom of the bucket actually char a floor or other surface made from wood.

Not too much or too little

Do not remove ALL of the ashes from your firebox. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), leaving a half of an inch layer of ashes on the floor of your firebox during the winter will help you build and keep up a fire. The hot coals act as an insulator by adding more heat to the wood and by reflecting the heat back into the fire.

Too many ashes left behind can cause problems. Allowing the ashes to build up for too long can harm the grate of your fireplace. Never let the ash level get so high that it touches the grate. The high level of heat can cause your grate to prematurely burn out. Additionally, a large amount of ash buildup reduces the amount your stove or fireplace has for wood.

Ash positioning

If you have a wood-burning stove, moving the ashes from just the front of the stove can be beneficial. Taking out the spent ashes from just inside the front of the stove creates a space where you can move up the hot coals from the back. This will easily ignite the new wood. Completely removing all of the ashes makes it more difficult to start a fire because the firebox must be heated all the way through the stove before it is hot enough to ignite a flame.

A small layer of ash also protects the floor of your firebox. Since a fire is quickly and easily started, the amount of unspent fuel is reduced, and this keeps this residue from clinging to the bottom of the firebox.

If you have any further questions about proper ash removal, contact Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps today. Our staff is more than happy to tell you more about safely disposing of ashes after a wood-burning fire.