How often do you clean out your woodstove?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cast iron, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    How frequently do you clean the ashes out of the firebox on your woodstove?

    For those of you who run the stove almost 24/7, how/when do you clean it out?

    Do you just use the fireplace shovel and a metal 5 gallon bucket? This is what I do but I don't have a metal bucket so I clean it when it's cold and use a plastic bucket.

    How do you clean up the little miscellaneous spills of ash/debris that inevitably end up in around the front of stove

    I see they make a metal bodied vacuum cleaner specifically designed for fireplace clean out. Anybody have any experience with these? Supposedly they trap the ash dust instead of spewing it out into the room via the vacuum exhaust, but I'm skeptical of this claim.
     
  2. shellyr44

    shellyr44 Well-Known Member

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    We clean ours out daily. We run it 24/7 so we usually have alot of ash. We just dump the ash into a metal bucket (scooped out by a fireplace shovel) and take it out and spread around the drive way on the snow. We just sweep up any debris with the broom. Any hot coals or pieces of burning wood are left in the fire.
     

  3. canfossi

    canfossi Well-Known Member

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    I clean out my ashes about every two days or so, I take it out with a fireplace shovel and put in the ash pan which came with my wood stove. I use it for the garden or on ice when it's slippery. Chris
     
  4. Txsteader

    Txsteader Well-Known Member

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    When we've had to run our stove 24/7, we had to clean out daily....it helps the stove draw more efficiently and, thus, burn more efficiently.

    It makes life much easier to have a metal bucket. That way, you don't have to wait for the coals to cool. We bought a 5 gallon one @ the hardware store for not a lot of $$.

    As for spills, after embers are allowed to cool, what can't be swept up with a broom and pan is vacuumed. We keep a little hand-vac near the stove just for that purpose.
     
  5. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

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    Our burns pretty efficiently, so we only clean out the ash maybe once a week. We have a little rocker knob that allows us to get the powdery ashes (not the bigger chunks) to fall down into the ash pan, so that's all we do weekly. Hubby cleans out the upper part once every 6 or 8 weeks.
     
  6. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Stove has a door at the bottom with a swing out removeable ash tray. lift out the tray, fire burning or not, and dump ashes. We just walk out the door to the garden and dump them. Sweep off the hearth and job's done. When we don't need a fire during a warm day I'll brush the chimney and use the shop vac, 30 yo Sears plastic model, and clean the inside of the stove.
     
  7. Cindy in NY

    Cindy in NY Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We clean it out daily and use a fireplace shovel to put the ashes in a large metal pretzel can with a lid.
     
  8. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Just a side note--It is recommended that you always leave about 1" of ash in your woodburner. It helps the fire burn more efficiently and it protects the firebox floor similar to firebrick.
     
  9. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I take a couple of shovelfuls out (fireplace shovel) every morning when rebuilding the fire, putting it in one of the metal cans with a lid. It can take quite a while to fill the can up, so I don't take it out too often. This stove runs 24/7. The metal can is well worth the money, IMO.

    I don't bother cleaning up in front of the stove very often. It's not a big deal to me if there's a couple of cups of ashes there. I did build the hearth deeper than necessary, though, so if something falls out of the stove when putting wood in, it doesn't matter if it's hot or not. If I didn't have that deeper hearth I'd be better at keeping the front of the stove cleaned up, though, just from a safety standpoint. When I do clean it up it's when I'm sure everything is cold and I just use the broom and dustpan and it goes into the metal can with the rest of the ashes.

    However, under no circumstances do I put anything from the fire, whether I think it's cold or not, into some container that might allow combustion, just in case I've made a mistake on a hot ember.


    Jennifer
     
  10. mamakatinmd

    mamakatinmd Well-Known Member

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    When I wake up in the morning the fire is down to just coals and the time to clean it out. I have an old large metal stock pot w/lid that I have repurposed as my ash can. I use the shovel pushing large hot coals to one side so can easily restart fire. I like to leave some ash in as it helps to hold the fire overnight. I usually only clean out the stoves every 2-3 days. I leave the stock pot sitting on the stone hearth. I dump it outside the next day when I'm sure they are cool. I also have a burn barrel outside that I could dump it into if I think there are still hot embers.
     
  11. pookshollow

    pookshollow Pook's Hollow

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    I've noticed that when we clean the ashes out of the furnace firebox, it's really hard to get the fire going again. If there is a layer of ash, it seems to keep the coals in the grate, instead of them falling through.

    We clean out as needed. We burn a lot of scrap with nails, etc., so we don't use it on the driveway.
     
  12. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Daily I remove the ashes, but my stove has a separate door/compartment at the bottom to catch them. I usually completely clean/clear the firebox at the end of the heating season, but if there is a stretch of warm days, I might do it in mid-Winter, primarily to clean the glass in the door which permits seeing the fire better.
     
  13. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

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    I clean everything every 3 weeks, including the chimney. Ashes go in the metal can which then go into either a metal garbage can outside or on the driveway.
    I also notice that when everything is cleaned, it is harder to get a good fire going...
     
  14. RiverPines

    RiverPines Well-Known Member

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    I think it depends a lot on what type and size your stove is!
    We have a small box stove and so need to shovel out the ashes every 2-3 days depending on how much wood we burned. Its kinda hard to be adding wood if the ashes are falling out the door. LOL
     
  15. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    We have a small Voltzanger stove that heats our house 24/7 for six months of the year. We just cleaned it out. It was about half full of ash after having burned about one third of a cord of wood. There really isn't much ash left from a good clean burn. I could have kept going for the rest of the year without cleaning out.

    When cleaning it out, I leave about two inches in the bottom for starting the future fires on. That protects the bottom of the stove from the intense heat of the fire which can damage the stove. A brick liner serves the same purpose.

    To clean it out I just use a ash shovel and a metal pail. I want to have a vacuum to do it with, that would be cleaner as there is some puffing up of the dry ash as I remove it. But building a fire proof vacuum hasn't been priority, yet. When I build it, that vacuum will go to a metal canister and then vent outdoors through a spark arresting muffler.

    To clean up small ash spills I just vacuum. We have HEPA filter vacuum. It's a small vac so I wouldn't use it for large amounts. That vac is not fireproof so I wouldn't do coals with it, just cool dust.

    Cheers

    -Walter
    Sugar Mountain Farm
    in the mountains of Vermont
    http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
    http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
    http://NoNAIS.org
     
  16. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    Every 2 or 3 days
     
  17. littlejoe

    littlejoe Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Type of wood I burn makes a big difference in how often I clean my stove out. When I burn elm, I'll get a coal bucket of ashes out every day. Cottonwood will be good for four or five days. I had been burning some old pine poles, and the ash was considerably less with that.

    I burn in an earthstove (brand name). The large door is detachable, and lets me set the ash bucket right at the edge, so lots of the dust is sucked back into the stove. What misses the bucket is simply swept up.
     
  18. Rock

    Rock Well-Known Member

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    Don't burn the house down.
    Try this http://woodheat.org
    Everything you ever wanted to know about burning wood and then some.
    Rock