How To Clean Fireplace Ash: Procedures & Tools

Here is a guide on cleaning ashes from fireplaces.

If you use a wood-burning fireplace, one of the routine cleaning tasks you can’t escape from is ash cleaning. Ash is a by-product of combustion that always needs to be cleared whenever it accumulates.

Now, there’s an efficient way to clean a fireplace.

Anything less than a proper fireplace ash cleanup won’t cut it. It’s also important to note that a fireplace doesn’t need to be emptied of ash each time it’s used.

Cleaning is only necessary to avoid a buildup that can make the fireplace look messy. Let’s discuss a little more about ideal timing.

When To Clean Ashes From A Fireplace

The fireplace is a natural result of wood combustion. Ashes steadily accumulate with each use, hence the need to have the fireplace cleaned. So, when should you clean your fireplace? This largely depends on the degree of cleaning.

Ideally, there should be routine fireplace ash cleaning which should be followed by more thorough periodic cleaning. In terms of frequency, a weekly ash cleaning schedule should suffice.

It helps get rid of accumulated ash each week.

However, the area around the hearth will need to be cleaned more frequently. Daily cleaning isn’t out of place as sparks and other products of combustion are bound to be scattered around.

A more thorough cleaning job needs to be done each year. This is mostly recommended when you’ve finished using the fireplace for the year. In other words, deep cleaning of fireplace ash is necessary when the winter season is over.

Fireplace Ash Cleaning: Different Stages

Apart from knowing when to clean fireplace ash, there’s also a need to follow a systematic procedure. Fireplace ash cleaning procedure largely depends on the type of fireplace.

Some fireplaces have ash dumps while others do not.

Those without ash dumps will have to be cleaned by shoveling up ash and placing them in bags before dumping or disposing of them. However, fireplaces with ash dumps are cleaned differently.

All you have to do is push the ash through the metal plate located at the base or floor of the firebox.

At some point, the ash dumps will need to be cleared due to steady accumulation. You’ll need to read to the end to find out how to clean your fireplace of ashes.

The Fireplace Isn’t Entirely Bad

Since ash is a by-product of complete wood combustion, it is useless and needs to be removed right? Wrong!

Having some wood ash in your fireplace isn’t an entirely bad idea. However, the volume of ash is what matters and will have to be cleared at some point.

This situation explains why a fireplace won’t need to be cleared of ashes with every use.

Having about a 1-inch layer of ash lying on your fireplace floor will help in building and maintaining fires. Hot coals need to glow and this is made possible when some ash is present.

This helps with heat reflection, thus generating more fire and aiding with overall combustion efficiency. Now that you know, you’ll need to have your fireplace cleared of ash deposits only when necessary.

We earlier stated the routine cleaning of fireplace ashes to be weekly.

Tools Used For Fireplace Ash Cleaning

When it comes to fireplace ash cleaning, some of the basic tools required include ashtrays or pans, ash vacuums, and ash brooms & brush sets.

Other tools include lidded ash buckets, cleanout doors, ember retaining grates, and ash dumps.

  • Ash Pans or Trays

One of the easiest ways to get ashes cleaned from a fireplace is by using an ash pan or tray. This is mostly placed or fitted beneath the grate and left until the fireplace isn’t in use.

Instead of ashes collecting on the fireplace floor, they drop on the pan.

When it’s time for cleaning, these trays or pans are simply lifted off and the ashes disposed of before returning the pan in place. You’ll need this if you want to frequently get rid of fireplace ashes otherwise, this wouldn’t be much of a need for persons with routine cleaning needs.

  • Vacuum Fireplace Ash

One very important tool for fireplace ash cleaning is the ash vacuum. Unlike the other vacuuming systems used for chimney cleaning, ash vacuums are quite different.

These are purposed for clearing or cleaning ash from a fireplace.

With heavy-duty filters, ash vacuums are built for dustless cleanup. Different types of ash vacuum cleaners are available. There are those designed for only cold ash cleanup while others are made for both cool and warm ash cleanup.

For best results, it’s important to purchase replacement bags and filters apart from those that accompany the vacuuming device. This way, you’re able to get enhanced performance whenever you clean your fireplace.

  • Ash Broom Sets

These are handy toolsets necessary for proper and efficient fireplace ash cleaning. Ash broom sets serve all sorts of cleaning functions including small to medium cleanups. There are tons of designs available to choose from.

You’ll need to make your preferred pick from the many options.

  • Lidded Ash Buckets

When ash is being cleaned from a fireplace, it needs to be temporarily placed in an appropriate container. The word “appropriate” in this sense refers to a non-combustible container.

Sometimes, fireplace ashes may be hot and could ignite fires when cleaned too soon before it cools off.

A lidded ash bucket safely holds ash until it’s emptied at the right place or destination. Like other cleaning tools, there are different types to choose from.

  • Cleanout Doors

Cleanout doors are installed within a firebox. This has been included as a cleaning tool because it serves the purpose of cleaning.

Instead of hauling ashes out of the house through the use of buckets, clean-out doors reduce the stress. All that’s needed is to push out ash through the door in readiness for further evacuation.

  • Ember Retaining Grates

During combustion, small pieces of wood are known to fall off.

These might end up not burning properly, thus becoming embers. With an ember retaining grate, there’s enhanced combustion. This leads to less ash accumulating.

Knowing how to handle fireplace ash includes all the details provided here. Using the tools above, you only need to brush out or vacuum up ash for onward disposal.

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