How To Dispose of Ash From Your Wood Cookstove
Woodstoves make winter wonderful, but they also take work. Once the good logs have burned down and you’ve pulled yourself away from your cozy nest in front of the fire, it’s time to get back to the real world. You’re left to dream of the next time you’ll be able to creak open that little metal door, matches in hand…and be confronted with a big pile of ash. Today, we’re talking about how to dispose of ash from your woodstove, and keeping your wood cookstove clean.
Ash Disposal Is Just Wood Stove Maintenance
The bad news is that you need to clean the ashes out of your woodstove regularly. The good news: it doesn’t necessarily have to be every single day, or even every single time you use it. Having some ash in your woodstove can actually be a good thing, as it creates a protective layer over the bottom. Even when you clean out your woodstove, it’s a good idea to leave about a one-inch layer of ash.
First Thing’s First…
Wait until your ashes have fully cooled to clean them out. Many wood stoves, in particular airtight wood stoves, are designed to contain heat and maximize the time that the fire warms the house even after it’s put out. This means that you have to exercise a lot of care; a good tip is that no matter when you’re going to dispose of ashes, treat them with the utmost care and act as though they’re still hot, whether you believe they are or not.
When scooping out your cooled ashes, use a metal shovel to scoop them into a metal bucket. Using anything other than metal can result in melting or worse, a blaze. Always use metal tools, always take the proper precautions, and NEVER use a vacuum cleaner to dispose of ash.
Disposing of Your Woodstove Ashes
To properly dispose of ashes, take your metal bucket outside and dump it as far from your house as possible, either in a designated spot you’ve ensured is far from dry, flammable material, or on a snowbank a sufficient distance from your house. Don’t dispose of your ashes on windy days, as wind could blow any remaining embers towards your property. You can also check your municipality’s guidelines on garbage, recycling and compost to find out if you can dispose of woodstove or fireplace ash with other waste. Always follow all guidelines associated with your stove and accessories.
And From The Ashes…
There are a number of things to do with your woodstove ash, from fertilizing your tomatoes to making your own soap. Get creative and do your research; you can even switch up the types of wood you burn to obtain more or less of the kind of ash you want, as some types of wood yield more ash than others.
Once you’ve gotten used to removing the ash from your woodstove, it’s up to you to incorporate this maintenance into your weekly or bi-weekly routine, depending on how often you use your wood cookstove. Your rotation will determine when your ashes will be cool enough to handle, and when you’ll have time to go through the necessary steps.
It may be a chore, but cleaning the ashes out of your woodstove is an essential step to keep it functional and to keep your house heated safely.If you’re dreaming of curling up in front of a wood stove this winter, check out our line of wood cookstoves, or contact us to find out more!