Whenever you burn wood in your fireplace and stove, you know you will have ashes left over after the fire has been put out. While leaving behind an one-inch bed of ashes is suggested by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) to help light a fire and keep it going, there will still be piles of ashes remaining for you to remove and dispose. Although the ashes may appear to be cooled and extinguished, there is always a possibility that embers within the ashes could ignite an accidental fire that could cause injuries and deaths. Just within the past few years, we have seen these sort of incidents, such as a garbage truck fire in Salem, Oregon, a wildfire in Reno, Nevada, and even a brush fire at the home of former Major League Baseball player, Chipper Jones. As safety is our number one concern, Fireplace Service Company wants you to know the correct procedures to safely remove and dispose of fireplace ashes by sharing these tips with you.
Ashes should always be treated as if they were hot.
Have you heard the expression, “It’s better to be safe than sorry?” This definitely applies to removing ashes from the fireplace for disposal. You should never assume that, just because ashes have been cooling for over 24 hours, they will contain no burning embers and be safe to move. Before you begin cleaning up the ashes, look for signs of heat or smoke that is still present. If you see any signs, you will want to give the ashes a few more hours to cool.
To be completely safe, use a metal container and water when disposing ashes.
For the safest ash disposal practices, take a metal steamer pot, fill it with water, and insert a metal strainer basket into the pot. You want your pot to be large enough to fully submerge all pieces of wood and ashes. As you wear fireproof gloves, remove the log pieces and ashes and fully submerge them inside the pot. Using a fireplace rake, stir the pot to break up any clumps in the ashes. Allow the ashes and pieces of wood to soak for at least 10 minutes to put out any remaining embers. Hold the strainer over the pot and let the water drain out completely. Place the strainer on a pan or a pile of newspapers and then pour its contents into a paper or plastic trash bag. You can take advantage of the remaining ashy water by pouring it evenly over your yard. As a natural fertilizer, wood ash can help to improve the quality of your soil.
Using a metal container and water will greatly reduce the risk of discarded ashes igniting an accidental fire. If you would like to know more fire safety tips and suggestions, contact us at Fireplace Service Company to learn more.