There is a strange-looking, cast iron trapdoor beneath your furnace, at the base of your chimney, or in some cases your basement or cellar. If you just purchased your home, you may not know what this is you’ve acquired. Upon further investigation you realize it is full of dusty ash from years gone by—decades, to be exact, possibly a hundred years or more of ash accumulation can fit into most ash pits.
Because you may not know what is in your ash pit, or what condition it’s in, it’s best to clean it before use.
It’s important to note that ash removal from the ash pit is not part of a routine chimney sweep. However Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep would be happy to offer you an estimate for ash pit cleaning, and this is a fantastic service to couple with your annual chimney inspection. Taking care of your chimney and fireplace while you are Spring Cleaning ensures you are ready for business, and if there is a problem, you will have time to fix it before the next burning season.
Using the Ash Pit
If you know nothing else about ash pits remember that you should avoid allowing hot coals, ashes, or embers into your ash pit. If you notice smoke coming from your ash pit call 911 as soon as possible. Smoldering fire in the ash pit can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires. However, the ash pit is designed to protect against fires and will do so when used properly.
Many homeowners decide to leave the ash to accumulate until the ash pit is nearing capacity. This could mean decades and decades worth of ashes before it’s filled. Some ash pits are as big as a few feet across, and some several feet deep. It’s even quite common for the clean-out door to be on the outside of the house. These ashes can be removed through the trap door with an ash shovel, although you may need a longer handle for this job due to the size of most ash pits, and you’ll also need an ash bucket on hand. Because of the large amount of ash, and the age of the ash, it’s wise to where a respirator or face mask until the job is finished to protect from breathing in dust and by-products. If your ash pit door is inside your home, running an exhaust fan could clear the ash dust from the air when you are finished with the task, but you should run a fan while you are cleaning out the ash, as it will blow the ash dust.
Servicing the Ash Pit
If you’ve seen your ash pit and think it’s not a job you want to do, call in a professional! At Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep we offer expert services by Certified Chimney Sweeps. You can rest easy knowing that you’re leaving the dirty work up to the professionals, and your complete heating system will be in perfect working order for the next burning season. Don’t waste a moment. Schedule your appointment today.