Fireplace ashes | should you keep or remove ash in your wood stove or fireplace? Fireplace ash can be used to your advantage or disadvantage.
Should you always remove the ashes from the wood fireplace or stove when you build a fire?
The Chimney Safety Institute of America has some great ash maintenance solutions! When you burn wood hearth items the by-product of wood fires is ash. Ash is inevitable, and there will always be ash remnants in the combustion chamber after a wood fire. The volume of ash is determined by type of wood burned; for example softwoods have the potential to create more ash than other species of wood.
Don’t worry. Ash can be a good thing! During the burning season, having a 1 inch layer of ash on the firebox floor can make it easier to build a fire. Hot coals sink into the ash and glow; this adds more heat to fuel and reflects the heat back to the fire.
Ash should only be kept in moderation. Too deep of ash can cause the fireplaces grate to burn out sooner than normal. Also, if you have a wood stove or fireplace with lots of ash it will reduce the amount of wood able to be added to the firebox.
By maintaining a small layer of ash; it protects the floor of the firebox. Consider using the Top Down birth method. This practice gets the fire burning fast and will help to reduce the amount of unspent fuel that exits the chimney or clings to the interior of the flue.
At the end of the heating season, remove the ashes from your fireplace and stove. Ash can actually pull moisture and cause metal parts to rust. Also, when acidic ash is blended with moisture it can be very destructive to both masonry and metal hearth components.
Chimney Safety Institute of America | Plainfield, IN. (n.d.). Retrieved February 01, 2016, from http://www.csia.org/homeowner-resources/to_remove_or_not_to_remove_ash.aspx#sthash.uzxerDXZ.dpuf