There are mounting safety concerns over fires caused by the careless disposal of ashes from fireplaces. This situation calls for persons to be more informed on safe procedures for ash disposal.
This article is written to provide such help.
If your fireplace uses wood or pellets as fuel, then you’d definitely generate a great deal of ash. How to deal with such ash is what we’re about.
Therefore, you’ll need to sit back and enjoy this interesting and informative read about an important topic.
Why Fireplace Ashes Need to Be Properly Disposed Of
Whether you know it or not, ashes removed from fireplaces are sometimes hot enough to ignite fires. Such ashes may be disposed of too soon without waiting for complete cooling.
Within the ash are hot embers which will readily cause fires whenever they come in contact with any combustible material.
Asides from fireplaces, such ashes could also come from mobile fireplaces or grills, a wood stove as well as pellet stoves.
Where these are generated, ashes need to be properly disposed of.
How Long Do Ashes Remain Hot?
It may surprise you to know that ashes from fireplaces remain hot for several days. This fact calls for concerns regarding how safe ashes are disposed of.
The main reasons why ash would remain hot for days on end have to do with the type of fuel burned. Plus, unburned fuel helps sustain the heat.
Safe Ways to Dispose of Ashes in Fireplaces
To enhance safety, ashes removed from your fireplace should be disposed of in a certain way. In other words, basic safety procedures need to be followed irrespective of whether such ash is hot or not.
Here is where to put fireplace ash.
First, never use a combustible container to remove fireplace ashes.
Secondly, you must never remove fireplace ashes too soon. Additionally, the use of a metal container is preferred.
A container must not hold combustibles. Also, ensure that such content is isolated from combustibles until the ash is safely disposed of.
Fireplace ashes once removed must be made wet to quench any live embers that may be present. Let’s take a look at each of these points individually.
Never Use a Combustible Container
Using combustible containers to clear out ashes from a fireplace is risky. With such, containers, a fire may ignite.
This becomes even riskier when combustible containers are placed next to other combustible materials.
All such dangers can be averted by simply using the right container. That is a container that isn’t made of combustible material. So, is this precautionary action alone sufficient to eliminate risks? Not at all!
This takes us to our next point.
Never Be in a Rush to Remove Fireplace Ashes
After burning wood or pellet fuel in your fireplace, sufficient time is needed for ashes to cool before being evacuated. This shouldn’t be done in a rush as the risks of igniting a fire are high.
Remember we said it can take several days for fireplace ashes to be completely cool.
Therefore, you’ll need to allow sufficient time for this to happen.
Metal Containers are Safer
Speaking of non-combustible containers for fireplace ash removal, those made of metal are excellent for the job. With metal containers, you won’t have to worry about hot coal igniting. This gives an added layer of security.
Metal container use coupled with the other points listed here to help with proper fireplace ash disposal.
Remove All Combustibles from Container
It’s necessary to always check your container to ensure there are no combustible materials within. This eliminates the chances of sparking a fire where there shouldn’t be one.
It doesn’t take any effort to have combustibles removed from your ash container.
Isolate Container from Combustibles Until Ashes are Safely Disposed
Having successfully emptied the ashes from your fireplace into the container, you’ll need to isolate it as far as possible from all combustible items or materials.
This is necessary if you won’t be disposing of such ashes immediately.
Wet Ashes with Water before Disposal
Before fireplace ashes are finally disposed of, it needs to be made wet. This is a safety measure that helps put off any embers or hot ash still present.
Consider this a routine that needs to be followed each time fireplace ash is emptied.
Is That All?
There’s still more! Added precautionary action only serves to promote safety in fireplace ash disposal. It’s common knowledge that fireplaces that combust firewood accumulate creosote.
Such creosote when ignored has led to chimney fires which are among common hazards that can be avoided.
The services of a professional chimney sweep are required. You’ll need to call or schedule yearly inspections to remove all forms of obstructions as well as creosote buildup.
As part of the thorough inspection and cleanup process, accumulated creosote is removed together with fireplace ashes.
Other Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance Tips
Although we’ve mentioned some of the basic maintenance activities, this guide discusses more maintenance procedures that enhance better fireplace and chimney care.
An inspection is likely to detect hidden issues with your fireplace and chimney.
Such problems may include cracks around your chimney structure as well as the fireplace. This requires an urgent fix. It’s important to allow a professional chimney sweep to perform all such repairs.
Are there combustibles around your fireplace? You should have these removed as soon as you can.
Certain basic installations are necessary as they help maintain safety. We’re talking about carbon monoxide and smoke alarms. They alert to possible leaks as soon as it unfolds. There should also be a functional fire extinguisher nearby.
Without such an extinguisher, an emergency fire outbreak can be managed before the fire service arrives. Costly mistakes like having no fire extinguishers could cost you your entire property. This isn’t something you want to happen.
Having a fireplace screen installed is a great way to improve safety. Remember, you want to limit fires to your chimney. Firewood fuels are known to produce occasional sparks as well as debris.
With a fireplace screen installed, these are kept within the confines of the fireplace.
So far, we’ve provided information on how best to dispose of ashes in a fireplace. The focus has largely been on the avoidance of fires igniting when hot ashes are poured or disposed of close to combustible material.
Now that you know, you can better handle ash without issues.