Did you know there’s a right way to dispose of your fireplace ashes? Improper disposal of ashes can lead to burns, create a fire hazard or pose a carbon monoxide risk. Safe disposal of fireplace ash is simple; it just requires following a few steps to ensure that the ashes have fully burned out and that they are ready for disposal.
Step 1: Allow ashes to build up within the fireplace.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is clearing ashes from the fireplace every time a fire is burned. A small cushion of ashes at the bottom of the fireplace helps insulate the fire, causing it to burn hotter and longer. You should allow for about an inch of ashes at the bottom of the fireplace. Consider clearing away the ashes once they pile up beyond that point; if the ashes are touching the bottom of your fireplace grate, you’re overdue for ash removal.
Step 2: Give the fire plenty of time to cool.
Hot embers can hide in a fireplace ash bed long after the fire has seemingly burned out. It’s crucial to be sure that the fire has completely cooled before you attempt to remove the ashes. It’s advised that you wait at least 24 hours after the fire has been extinguished to remove the ashes.
Step 3: Shovel the ashes from the fireplace.
Always treat your fireplace ashes as if they could still be hot. Remove them from the firebox using a metal shovel and place them inside a metal ash bucket. If your plan to keep the ashes in your house, the bucket should be closed with a firm-fitting metal lid, or place them in the garage or a well ventilated space. If combustion is still taking place, the ashes can emit carbon dioxide, which can pose a real danger inside your home.
Step 4: Dispose or reuse the ashes.
Once the ashes have been allowed to cool for several days, it’s safe to assume they are completely cooled and can be disposed of. You can bag them and throw them away with your regular garbage, or you can find many ways to reuse your fireplace ashes around your home. Fireplace ashes are a gardener’s dream; they can be used to add nutrients to compost, mixed in the soil around calcium-loving plants or sprinkled around garden beds to keep away pests like slugs and ants. Fireplace ashes also can be used to create traction on icy surfaces, to camouflage stains on cement or to scrub glass fireplace doors or even silver.
Proper disposal of your fireplace ashes is simple, but following those simple steps is important to keep you and your home safe from accidental burns, a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. And if your fireplace requires more of a cleaning than just ash removal, you can call Fluesbrothers Chimney Service today to schedule a full-scale professional cleaning.