General Question

nmguy's avatar

When are fireplace ashes safe to put in trash can?

Asked by nmguy (528points) October 27th, 2010

How long does it take fireplace ashes to cool off enough to be put in the trash?

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6 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

“Ashes” cool pretty quickly. When there’s nothing left in the ash to support combustion, then the fire goes out, out completely, and the ashes cool relatively quickly. The problem with most fireplace ash is that it’s covering a lot of hot coals (think of charcoal briquettes in a grill covered by fine ash). And those coals are still combusting; still burning, even though covered with ash.

So stir your ashes, and if they are really “ash” with no lumps at all (the lumps may still be hot for quite a few hours), and if you can hold your hand over the stirred ashes and not feel any more heat, then they’re probably cool enough.

I always used to stir my ashes twice and wait a full day. I’d put them in a steel bucket that I kept outside on a cement patio. And after a day outside they were good to go.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

When the check for the fire insurance has cleared.

Aster's avatar

When you put a small piece of paper in there and it doesn’t ignite. It is almost impossible to guage whether there are any super tiny red hot coals left. I was positive it was cold, put them in a metal bucket and it burned a hole on the bottom.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I have a high efficiency wood burning stove that burns everything and just leaves ash. I have been absolutely convinced the ashes were dead. One time, 6 hours after the fire burned out, I reloaded the stove with the intention of lighting it later in the day when It got cold. An hour later the stove was burning.

I empty the ashes about once a week and dump them in my garden. Even if a chunk were to relight it would not cause a problem.

theichibun's avatar

After you douse them with water and let the steam go away.

woodcutter's avatar

One thing you should not do is have the ash tub sitting on carpet if that is what is close to the fireplace. The ash and cinders may damage the carpet from the bottom of the container heating up. If you are using the F.P. for several days consecutively the coals will build up to the point where some of them will need to be removed. What I do is remove the piping hot ash tub to the driveway and just let it sit for a couple days. By the time I will use it again the coals would have been dead for a long time. You could also spray them down with water but you will want to be far enough away so the steam doesn’t melt your face off or make a big mess besides. I don’t bother with the water. Usually the hose has been put away, or not, and is frozen solid and unusable anyway.

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