How to Clean Ashes Out of a Masonry Fireplace Through the Ash Dump Door

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Ashes accumulate behind an ash dump door from grate at the back of a fireplace.
Ashes accumulate behind an ash dump door from grate at the back of a fireplace. (Image: fireplace image by askthegeek from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

An ash dump door is an access at the bottom of a chimney for removing ashes that were created while burning and soot removed when sweeping down the inside of the chimney. When burning, the ashes are pushed to the grate at the back of the fireplace and fall down to the access. The ash dump door on a masonry fireplace is located at the lowest level of the fireplace and may be on the inside or outside of the building.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth
  • Metal ash bucket
  • Metal ash shovel
  • Dust brush

Allow the fireplace to cool for at least 24 hours.

Locate the ash dump door at the base of your chimney.

Place a drop cloth on the floor or ground under the dump door.

Position a metal ash bucket under the door to catch the ashes that will spill out of the ash dump door.

Open the ash dump door slowly to avoid creating dust, especially if it is located on the inside of the building.

Remove the ashes with a metal ash shovel. An ash reservoir is located behind the door that may be more than a foot deep. Remove all ashes until you reach the bottom of the ash reservoir.

Clean the edges of the ash dump door with a dust brush. Close the door.

Discard ashes into a compost pile, if possible.

Remove the drop cloth and shake the spilled ashes outside.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wood ashes can be used as a replacement for lime to raise soil pH, according to University of Missouri horticulturalist David Trinklein. The average distribution equivalent is twice the amount of wood ashes as the desired application of lime. For example, if 10 pounds of lime are required, substitute 20 pounds of wood ashes.

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