Removing ashes from woodstove while its burning?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by nathan104, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. nathan104

    nathan104 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This may be a dumb question. I looked through old posts and there are a TON on woodburning stove so figured someone could give me a quick answer.

    Ive had a fireplace before. Id build a fire , it would burn for a few hours, and the next time I used it, I would clean out the ash and build a new one.

    Well, with the woodstove, I am using it a lot more and keeping the fire going for three days straight since its so cold. Well, the ash just keeps building and building. I went to scoop some out but there are embers and glowing coals all mixed in with it. So,lol, Im not sure what is the right way to do this. If I leave all that ash in there, it seems to kind of smother the fire. So am I supposed to just scoop out the ash with the embers and put it in something I can pour water over? Whats the best way to do this? Excuse my ignorance. Thanks for the help.
     
  2. no1cowboy

    no1cowboy Single male homesteader

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    What i do is shovel most of the bigger hot coals to one side scoop out the ash then move the coals to the other side and scoop out the other side, your going to get some hot coals and embers with the ash it cant be helped, I just dump it all outside like it is, there is lots of snow to put out any embers, if you have no snow the you can put water on it if you want.
     

  3. nathan104

    nathan104 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Alright, thanks for that. Just needed some reassurance that it was ok to scoop this stuff out with glowing embers in it.
     
  4. tamsam

    tamsam Well-Known Member

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    Just be sure to use a metal bucket for the ashes. Our heater has a top door for wood and a grate and a bottom door to take the ash out. When not raining we let them sit for a day or so before emptying. They also work great to melt snow on the driveway. Just not where you wals as they stick to you feet and come back in with you. Sam
     
  5. tamsam

    tamsam Well-Known Member

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    Just be sure to use a metal bucket for the ashes. Our heater has a top door for wood and a grate and a bottom door to take the ash out. When not raining we let them sit for a day or so before emptying. They also work great to melt snow on the driveway. Just not where you walk as they stick to you feet and come back in with you. Sam
     
  6. ann in tn

    ann in tn Well-Known Member

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    In our old home we had a fireplace (gee I miss it) and I used an old metal popcorn tin to put the ashes in. Metal can and closed lid - worked great.
     
  7. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    We use a small metal trash can with a tight fitting lid. Put the ashes and hot coals in it and set it outside on the porch. Before we empty the stove next time we dump the ash into the compost pile. We also use a metal dust pan to take the ash out of the stove and it works better than a shovel type thing.
     
  8. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I use an old garden rake cut down to size that fits easily through stove door. I do ok with short wood handle, but you could of course remove wood handle and weld on a metal one. Then just rake the coals to back of the stove and shovel out the ash. I sure wouldnt advise trying to remove ash while stove is at full burn, just wait until you are down to coals and its time to add more wood.

    I got the idea when I bought my Sotz kit way back when, they sold a set of "tools" for their stove but I thought they were too expensive and just made my own. The rake is an excellent idea and dont know why it wasnt adopted by other stove and fireplace tool manufacturers.
     
  9. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Just make sure it's a metal pot or can with a lid. I learned the hard way and nearly burned the house down.
     
  10. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    "I use an old garden rake cut down to size that fits easily through stove door."

    Golly, you just gave me an idea to compliment the pokers I sell on eBay. Thank you.
     
  11. Watcher48

    Watcher48 Well-Known Member

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    Watch where you dump your ashes after you put them in a metal can. Depending on size, embers can stay hot for days. Spread them out when you dump them and cover them with some snow or dirt. DAMHIKT :)
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee Well-Known Member

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    I have a wheelbarrow I put them in for a week or so, then roll them out to where I want to spread them. I never spread them the same day I remove them, I dump them before cleaning out the next batch. I also watch them for awhile after dumping them. As said above, they can smolder for a day or two.
     
  13. The Paw

    The Paw Well-Known Member

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    I used to run a wood-electric furnace, and the best time to shovel out ash was first thing in the morning, just before you fire it up for the day. There would be a few glowing embers, and the rest of the ash would be warm. I put it in an old metal wash/tub boiler, which could hold about a weeks worth of ashes. After they had cooled out for a couple of days, I would dump them in a pile in the snow. Then every spring, I would integrate them into compost.

    If you are in texas and don't have regular snow cover, I would suggest a shallow earthen pit, or maybe something with a rim of broken brick. As others have noted, the embers can glow for quite a while, and you would hate to start a fire by accident.
     
  14. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    One day I saw a garbage truck dumping its load in an area just off the road. Read in paper next day someone had put out still hot ashes and the load caught on fire. Noted a fire department had to come put out the smoldering mass, it had to be reloaded and the area completely cleaned up. Apparently cost the garbabe collection company a good bit of money.
     
  15. Lynne

    Lynne Well-Known Member

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    In the mornings I’ll use a small flat shovel that no longer has the handle and take ashes from the sides of the stove. The main coals seem to be concentrated in the middle; ashes go into a metal buckets that are kept outside. Once cooled they are put in the manure pile or use in icy spots.
    My friend’s husband cleaned their woodstove out and put an old tee-shirt over the bucket so the ashes wouldn’t drift while he walked the bucket to the attached garage. He sat the covered bucket of ashes down in the garage and forgot about them - not for long though Was a year and a half before they moved back into the house.
     
  16. mdharris68

    mdharris68 Well-Known Member

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  17. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

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    It probably would have cost a good bit of money to keep the load on the truck, too. :)
     
  18. Fourthistles

    Fourthistles Well-Known Member

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    Regarding storage of hot ashes: we rotate 2 metal trash cans with lids. We set an empty one on cement blocks and chain it to the garden fence so the dogs can't tip it over. Every day we empty the ash pan into this can. When it is full, we set out beside the back gate and start filling the second can. It takes about 2 weeks to fill. When it is full, we dump the first can and it becomes the new empty. This rotation ensures the ashes have time to cool out. By the way, we also bungy cord the lids on to prevent accidental dumping due to wind.
     
  19. meanwhile

    meanwhile Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We use a metal shovel, one of those small ones made for fireplaces, then we scoop them into metal bucket and take immediately out to fire pit outside. We just leave them in the metal bucket, set on the ground inside the fire pit ring, and let them cool off there. The next morning, we dump the bucket out but still inside the fire pit ring, and use the bucket again. If the kids have not carted it off somewhere, we keep two or three metal buckets inside the fire pit ring for the purpose of ash dumping.

    Remember to be careful and move SLOW when you take the ash outside since sometimes they can fire up when air moves over the hot ash.

    In late winter or spring, we put some of the ash into the gardens and orchards.
     
  20. RichieC

    RichieC Well-Known Member

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    Make sure to run the stove with the dampers full open for a bit before you start. If the dampers have been shut, and the fire a bit oxygen starved, then when you open the door and start stirring around in there it can go up with quite a blast.