You may have heard stories about forest fires being started by the improper disposal of hot ashes from fireplaces, stoves, and fire pits. Even if you do not live in a wooded area, an accidental fire igniting from smoldering ashes in a trash can or dumpster could be devastating. Knowing how to properly dispose of fireplace ashes is important to avoid this dangerous hazard. Ace Chimney Sweeps places a top priority on fire safety, which is why we would like to share with you these guidelines from the Walker Fire Protection Association for proper ash disposal.
Make sure you have the right tools.
Before you begin the task of removing ashes from your fireplace, you should be sure you have the necessary tools for this job. The most important tool you will need is a metal bucket that has a fitted lid that can secure the contents of the bucket. You will also need:
- a metal fireplace shovel to scoop up the ashes into the bucket,
- a vacuum cleaner to clean up ashy residue from the area around your hearth,
- gloves to protect your hands,
- and a breathing mask to keep yourself from inhaling the ashes.
Allow at least 24 hours to pass after the fire has been extinguished.
This time period allows the ashes to cool down; however, never assume that the ashes are completely cold when you begin scooping them up into the bucket. You do not only want to prevent accidental fires, but you also want to protect yourself from getting burned as you place the ashes into the container.
Tightly close the lid on the bucket and place it outside on a non-combustible surface.
Ashes can smolder for days at a time, and this can generate heat inside the bucket, which could possibly ignite a fire if the bucket is placed on a combustible surface or inside your home. You also want to be sure that the lid is tightly closed in case it is accidentally knocked over by the wind.
Dumping the Ashes
After several days inside the bucket, it is then safe to dump out the contents into your trash bin.
Once the ashes have been contained inside the bucket, it will take several days for them to cool down completely. After a few days, you can then dispose of the ashes into your trash can or compost bin.
Following these guidelines for proper ash disposal can help you avoid accidental fires this winter. Contact us at Ace Chimney Sweeps for any of your professional chimney maintenance, repair, or installation needs.