Fireplace Ash, Dump Boxes & Clean-Out Doors

Fireplace Ash

Ash Pit is a term regarding ash dumps in the fireplace. Some are rather large, concrete closets. You can find them in many older homes in the basement. The homeowners’ fireplace ash shovels down into this cavity and may take many years to fill up. I mean, many years to fill-up.

Fireplace Ash
This is an extremely useful tool you can pick up here.

Some ash pits tunnel ash to the basement and is a real mess to deal with. Others direct the fireplace ash to an outside door for much easier cleanup. Another consideration is an ash box. These can be “about” 12”x12”x12”. These are often found on the floor of the fireplace. Personally, I like to open the damper all of the way and then slowly shovel the fireplace ash. You can use a “metal can with a metal lid”. This allows the ash to draft up the chimney if need be.

Furthermore, I like this approach as it is a much safer method. Additionally, many serious wood burners use no log grate at all and start their fireplace using 2” to 3” bed of ash left in place. In addition, many homeowners like to use the fireplace ash in their garden. Don’t ask me the chemical benefit of this.

Here is my story, and I’m sticking to it:

Years ago, (when I was just starting in the chimney industry), after servicing a customers fireplace and resetting their damper, I was driving down the highway to another job when I began noticing thick smoke filling the back of my service van. I quickly pulled over on side of the highway, opened up the back doors and the entire van was bombarded with a thick black smoke. Through the smoke, I could now plainly see that the smoke was coming out of my vacuum system I had used in the previous customer’s home.

If you didn’t already guess,

I had sucked up hot charred ashes from what I believe to be the cold bed of fireplace ash. Also, the airflow from my vacuum cleaner must have rekindled and sparked a dangerous fire within my truck.

I must have looked like a real fool to those who were driving by,  as I began dumping the burning fire onto the roadside and feverishly stomping on the fire and trying to pour the remains of my water bottle onto the fire hoping to extinguish these now glowing oranges and red ember. Embarrassingly, I was able did get the fire out, I cleaned up my mess, and I was on the way with a lesson learned well.

Lesson Learned:

Most of all, stir up the ashes while they are still in the fireplace. Especially, check for heat and embers and keep it all in a metal container with a tight lid on it. In addition, I would have loved to see a picture of me doing that fire dancing on the side of the road.

In conclusion, burn safe and warn,

Clay Lamb
… like I almost did. 🙂


“Don’t make an Ash of yourself!”


If you’re looking for a useful tool to help you managing your ash, pick up this Ash Bucket from Amazon:

Clay Lamb
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