The enjoyment of wood fires in the fireplace was once the only way families enjoyed their hearth during the burning season. However, wood burning not only produces a cozy time for family and friends around the hearth, it produces the messy ash that is a hand full to deal with.

Most folks are well aware, that use of the fireplace means annual chimney sweeping and fireplace cleaning. This is a service that hopefully reduces the incidents of chimney fires that endanger many homes and the families that live there. However, on occasion, we get the request for ash dump cleaning. This is a task that often results in a mess for anyone who tries to do it.

Full Service Chimney ash pit service provides homeowners with an easy and safe enjoyment of their fireplace without the mess and inconvenience of a wood burning fireplace.

  • Safely modifies the hearth to make ash clean up a snap
  • Insures no additional mess or embers make it to the basement level 
  • Should strongly be considered if you have converted to gas logs or have an insert
  • Usually accomplished in less than two hours

Ash Disposal Options

To handle the ash left behind after a fire, many of the brick and mortar fireplaces in the Kansas City metro area had ash dumps built in to their chimney just below the hearth of the fireplace. The way ash was moved from the fireplace to the ash dump was done slowly with a small shovel and fireplace broom, by the homeowner. This shoveling of the ash into a small trap door did not get rid of the ash, but rather to the holding area of the ash dump.

Fire after fire, year after year, ash would go into the ash dump. The problem? Rarely would anyone take on the day-long chore of cleaning out the ash dump through its 8″ x 8″ door.  Of the few times Full Service Chimney has tried this “ash-dump cleaning” it has taken no less than 4 hours (frequently more) and filled the basement with ash spilling through the open door.

Ash Dump - Ash Disposal Door
Fireplace Ash Dump Door Diagram

Full Service Chimney has been the provider for Kansas City’s families for over 30 years and ash dumps are no exception. By adjusting the design of the hearth and sealing off the ash dump assembly, home owners now can shovel the ash only once into a fireplace ash bucket.  After the conversion, cool ashes are collected into a metal fireplace ash bucket before the next fire.

Proper Fireplace Ash Disposal

When removing ash from your fireplace to dispose of it, always assume that there are live embers in the ash. People sometimes try to use paper or plastic bags for ash (as they would for other waste) however this is a dangerous mistake that could start a fire. We’ve seen customers accidentally ignite carpets or wooden decks with hot embers in fireplace ash they didn’t know was still hot! Use a metal fireplace ash bucket to dispose of your fireplace ash. Metal containers are the safest option available.

Note: You must remember to only store it outside your home, on a non-combustible surface.

Can Wood Ash Help My Garden?

It would be a wast to discard any natural resource that could have a benefit to our gardens. Ash from your fireplace has been known for centuries as a soil supplement that is natural in several key elements and saves the issue of disposal creating a fire hazard.

Here are some key tips for using wood ash in the garden:

  • Since wood ash is alkaline, you should only use it in soils that need to adjust soil acidity. Consider adding wood ash if the ph is much below 6.5-7
  • Plants that need a higher acidic soil may not benefit from wood ash
  • Nutrients like potassium, calcium and magnesium are abundant in the ash left after burning hard woods
  • Give the ash to be absorbed into the soil prior to seeding or adding bedding plants
  • As with any chemical, PPE gear is a must. Eye protection will keep dust from causing irritation, gloves as well is a good idea.
  • If the fireplace ash could have live embers, dampen before or right after application to speed up absorption and minimize catching your mulch on fire.
Ash Dump PRO TIPS
  • Ash from the fireplace should be treated with the same care as any potentially flammable material.
  • Only store in an airtight metal container with a tight fitting lid
  • The container should be stored outside on a non-combustible surface
  • The container should be far enough away from structures and combustibles that if it fell over and the lid came off, it could not threaten anything with fire