Ash in moderation

For all of a wood fire’s beauty, it sure leaves an ugly, dirty mess behind in your fireplace.

Ash, that consistent by-product of wood burning, is unsightly and can create a mess as it builds up in your fireplace or wood stove.

This is why the tendency of most homeowners is to sweep away ash from their fireplace with regularity.

Of course, it’s important that homeowners follow specific steps when removing ash from the fireplace or stove to reduce the risk of fire.

But it’s also important to know that you don’t need to clean ash away after every fire. In fact, a little ash is a good thing.

A one-inch layer of ash on the floor of your fireplace or wood stove makes building and maintaining your next fire much easier and has the impact of promoting warmer fires.

Here’s how it works: the hot coals that separate from your firewood tend to nestle into the ash layer. The ash works as an insulator. The coals burn hotter and longer, reflecting more heat back into the fire.

We should point out that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. This is why you should maintain only a shallow ash layer throughout the word-burning season. If your ash is so deep that it touches the bottom of the grate where your wood rests, this will have a negative impact on the efficiency of your fire.

So, approach fireplace and wood stove ash removal with moderation and enjoy potentially warmer fires all season long.