General Question

nocountry2's avatar

How do you remove the ash in your fireplace without creating a huge mess?

Asked by nocountry2 (3679points) December 20th, 2008 from iPhone

My vacuum cleaner is a reusable HEPA filter, how can I not create a dust mess or ruin my filter?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

16 Answers

gooch's avatar

I shovel out the big part first then vacuum the left overs.

kevbo's avatar

Use a spray bottle to dampen the dust.

PupnTaco's avatar

No vacuum. Shovel big piles then gently sweep with a whisk broom.

skfinkel's avatar

A word of caution. Make sure the ashes are really, really dead—at least 24 hours after a fire. Some distant cousins had a cleaner who put the ashes in a bag and left them in the living room, and the house burned down.

arnbev959's avatar

24 hours might not cut it. I made a fire in the wood burning stove at my grandpa’s cabin in the woods, and when I came back two weeks later (no one else had been there since) there were still hot coals in there.

So make sure when you clean it out, you put the ashes outside right away, and throw some water on them for good measure.

nocountry2's avatar

So maybe spray them down gently and shovel them out?

susanc's avatar

Use a galvanized pail for the ashes, and yes, soak em when you dump em. I dump mine in the compost. Wood ash, mmmmmm.

I emptied wood ash here at home about 15 years ago – into a paper grocery bag. I too was sure the fire had been out for about six generations, but I was wrong, and the coals burned through the wood floor and the fire traveled along the stringers under the nearby partition and the floor in the adjoining room. We’d never have noticed, because
we seldom used the room with the woodstove in it, except that all this smoke began pouring out of our bedroom next to it. We put it out with a hose but we had to rebuild a lot of floor. Lucky. Dumb but lucky.

Snoopy's avatar

Opening the flue to create an updraft helps me tremendously. I use a galavanized bucket and shovel.

We put ours in the garden too :)

boffin's avatar

@susanc Great advice…..

Judi's avatar

I would just invest in a shop vac. I probably would wait until summertime to clean it to be safe, but Santa might argue with me on that one.

PupnTaco's avatar

My wife tells a story from when she was 10 and tried to do a good deed by vacuuming out the ash in the fireplace.

The vacuum cleaner caught on fire.

derekpcollins's avatar

We heat our house with a pellet stove and when we have it cleaned they use a shop vac to get all the ash out. The last guy who cleaned our stove told me that if we get a shop vac to clean it, we should not to use the filter that comes with it. He said we should purchase a replacement filter that says it is for ash.

susanc's avatar

@Judi – if you’re relying on your woodstove for heat, you have to get the ashes out fairly often, because you burn a lot of wood. You have to let the fire go out or close to out, take out the ashes in the aforementioned galvanized bucket, dump them, fiery or not, somewhere flameproof, and start again. In cold climates even this cessation of fire in the stove can be pretty bone-chilling. But it has to be done.

Judi's avatar

what does a Southern California girl like me know ;-)
Our fireplaces are decorative.

susanc's avatar

! I just registered the fact that you asked about fireplaces, not woodstoves. Different animal. Decorative, yes. How luxe. INVU

Aster's avatar

Maybe u have to have a metal shop vac? Ours is plastic.

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