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Dealing with Ash

Even if you are not always making sure your house is 100 percent spotless, no one enjoys having dirt lying around.  This may lead homeowners to believe that if they see ash lying in the fireplace that they should clean it out.  Many also assume that there is no need to monitor it because it is included in the chimney sweep.  To answer these questions and more, find yourself a trusted technician and schedule a maintenance inspection.  The professionals at Chimney Saver Solutions are a great place to start your search.

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Should you leave the ashes or should you remove them?

It may come as a shock to homeowners when they find out that they are supposed to leave a little bit of the accumulated ash in the bottom of the fireplace of woodstove.  The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) suggests that you leave about an inch in the bottom of the firebox during burning season.  This can actually help maintain your fire by adding more heat to the fuel, then spreading to the fire.  As with many other things in the fire, ash levels should be monitored because if it comes into contact with the grate it can cause it to burn out prematurely.

On the other hand, stoves that burn from front to back need the ash that collects on the inside of the door removed.  After this is done you can bring the hot coals from the back toward the front.  A small layer of ash will also help protect the firebox floor.  At the end of the season it is important to remove all ash so that the acids contained do not cause any kind of deterioration to the fireplace.

How do you remove ash correctly?

You can use many methods to remove ash such as by hand (with gloves, metal dustpan and bucket) or a wet/dry vacuum.  It is recommended that you wait about four days to begin removing ash so that it has time to cool down.  The ashes should then be placed into a metal or clay container and discarded far from your home.  To remove the ash and soot from your glass parts use a equal part water and vinegar mix applied by a spray bottle and wipe clean with a paper towel.

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