How to Dispose of Fireplace Ashes Safely
We know disposing of your fireplace ash is a messy and disorderly task, but taking the right steps to extinguish an unseen burn can be the difference between a safe and unsafe home. In fact, one of the major causes of house fires is the improper disposal of hot fireplace ash. Since ashes can hold enough heat to ignite a combustible bag for up to several days later, it’s important to never trash them in anything flammable. Your once cozy evening will quickly turn into a nightmare. Luckily, disposing of ash is quite easy and just requires a few steps to ensure the ashes have fully burned out.
1. Know when to clear the ashes
One mistake people make is clearing the ashes after every burn. However, it is beneficial to your fireplace and future fires to always have a bed of ashes on the base. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends leaving a one-inch bed of ashes on the floor of your wood-burning fireplace. The ash inevitably catches the coals and insulates them, allowing your fire to burn its hottest. Ash should only be disposed of when there is a build-up beyond that inch. And since ash is highly acidic, it can corrode the bottom of your firebox or grate and make building future fires harder to burn.
2. Allow the fire to cool
It is suggested to wait 24 hours after your last fire to ensure there aren’t any embers still burning. Hot embers usually hide in the bottom of a fireplace long after the fire has seemingly been burned out. Make sure once you are ready to tackle the ashes after 24 hours, you get your
protective gloves and metal shovel for disposal.
3.Shovel the ashes from the fireplace
Using your protective gear and a shovel, you can now start to remove the ashes from the fireplace. Once you scoop the ashes out, make sure to trash them in a metal or earthenware bucket. If you notice burning coals while scooping out ash, move them to the back of your fireplace and surround them with a small bed of ash. Make sure all the removed ash is not stored near anything flammable because if combustion is still taking place it can emit carbon dioxide and pose a real threat.
4. Dispose or recycle your ashes
As soon as the ashes have cooled – after a few days – you can bag them up and place them in your normal trash. However, there are creative ways you can recycle your ashes and put them to good use. Since ash is dense in nutrients such as boron, calcium, and phosphorous, they can be added to both your compost and soil for better growing. They can also be used around your garden bed as pest control or even as added traction to your driveway during the icier months.
A fireplace is a great addition to any household as it provides warmth, beauty, and charm. Following these easy 4 steps is the best way to ensure that you keep your house cozy and free of accidental burns, fires, and carbon monoxide poisoning for many years to come.
If you are looking for a way to add beauty to your home, we offer wood and gas fireplaces and installation. If you have maintenance questions or need a specialist to come and do a thorough professional cleaning, we offer chimney sweeping, repairs, and inspection.
Contact us (608) 939-4887 or inquire online here.
You can also visit our showroom at 869 Main Street, Highland, WI 53543