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Proper Removal of Chimney Ashes

When you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, ashes are a fact of life. Even though the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends leaving a one-inch layer of ash on the floor of the firebox to make it easier to build and maintain a fire, you will still have to clean out piles of ashes and dispose of them. However, even though the fire may have been extinguished hours ago, embers and ashes are still capable of starting accidental fires. Smoldering fireplace ashes have even been responsible for igniting fires that have caused injuries and deaths. In the past few years, improper ash disposal was behind a wildfire in Reno, Nevada, a garbage truck fire in Salem, Oregon, and a fire on the property of former Major League Baseball player, Chipper Jones. Knowing the proper procedures for safely removing chimney ashes can prevent a devastating house fire. Magic Sweep would like to share some ash removal tips with you.

Smoldering Ashes - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep

Always treat ashes as if they were hot.

You should never take for granted that ashes are ever safe to move. Sometimes, ashes and embers that have been cooling for 24 hours may not be completely extinguished. Examine the ashes you will be cleaning up for signs that heat or smoke is still being generated before removing them.

Use a metal container and water to be extra safe.

For the safest way to dispose of chimney ashes, fill a metal steamer pot with water. Insert a metal perforated basket inside the pot. The pot should be high enough to submerge all log pieces and ashes. Wearing fireproof gloves, place pieces of logs and ashes inside the basket. Be sure every piece is fully submerged in the water. You will want to stir up the ashes to break up any clumps. Let the ashes and log pieces soak for at least 10 minutes to allow the water to seep into any cracks and extinguish any possible embers. Raise the inserted basket and allow it to drain into the pot. Place the basket onto a pan and then pour the contents of the basket into a plastic or paper garbage bag. You can then pour the ashy water from the pot onto your yard. Wood ash helps to fertilize and improve the quality of the soil of your yard, so be sure to pour out this water evenly across your yard.

Safety should always be your first concern when removing chimney ashes. For more fire safety tips and suggestions, contact us at Magic Sweep. We love helping our customers safely enjoy their fireplaces.

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