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A question on the function of ashpans

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by MountainStoveGuy, Aug 14, 2006.

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  1. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    In the past, i have commented that i am one of those scoopers. I dont want to hijack the PE thread, so here it goes. First, i dont use the ashpan, i just find that its easier to scoop it. I found that it was stil dusty when i was using the broom to sweep the ashes in the slots to go down. Mabye this is a function of hearthstone stoves and there ashpans, mabey its a poor design. Any hearthstone users out there using there ash pans?
    Im going to crack mine open today, its been about 2 years since i have cleaned it out, heck the stove still has ashes from last season in it. I am going to try it this year, i will use the ash pan so i can have a more rounded opinion. Of course i have a few questions,
    1) my stove burns alot better with about a inch of ash in it, so i woulnd clean it out completly, do you?
    2) If you run your stove 24/7 how are you brushing it down? My brush would melt, in the deep ash bed there is always some hot coals, not enough for start up but enough to burn a brush,
    3) If cleanleness is a issue, what happens when you dump your ash pan in the ash bucket? I can see the plume of ash now. If you dont dump it by the stove, do you walk through your house with it? I would think that would be a mess too.

    I know this topic has been talked about in the past, but lets re-kindle it for the new season and the new users.

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  2. Greg123

    Greg123 New Member

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    1.)I never clean mine out completely (unless it’s the end of the burning season)

    2.)I run mine 24/7. I use the fireplace poker & shovel to guide the ash to the hole. I let the hot ash sit in the ash pan for about 2 days then empty, at about that time there is more ash built up in my stove that I just keep repeating the cycle.

    3.)I take the ash pan out side it has a retractable metal top on it, so no ash is spilled on my way out side. Once outside I dump it into a larger metal can , I find it’s to messy to dump it inside the house.
  3. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    your ashpan is way better designed then mine. I just cleaned my stove. My ashpan was empty (duh, nothing can get down there unless you open the grate). So i shoveled some and got the usualll dust that is associated with shoveling. I also swept some in the ash pan and got a lot less dust. The ash tray dumped all over the hearth when i pulled it out, making me sweep it back up creating alot of dust. I think its a poor design from hearthstone. There is no back on the pan, so its basicly like a big flat shovel. I think they did that so you can scoop the ash out of the ash pan area where the ash might miss the pan.

    I just figured out something, acetone realy cleans enamel well. i had all these resin spots all over the enamel and it took it right off. I would not try this on a painted stove.

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  4. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    A before and after with the acetone clean up. I have always had a hard time getting these deposits off the enamel. I am not shure what they are, or how they got there. I will be in good shape with the wife, she has been nagging me to clean the hearth for weeks. (of course i left a litte ash on the hearth, but the stove is shiney, maybe i will get partial credit.)

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  5. Greg123

    Greg123 New Member

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    The functionality of the ash pan was one of the features I liked on the Napoleon 1100.

    The acetone does make a big difference.
  6. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    The Mansfield ash box looks just about identical to the Heritage..The folks at Hearthstone need to improve this part!! We don't use it..and keep the grate closed...we found it to redundant from getting ash out and cleaning ash lip and under stove and then walking outside to dump in ash bucket...We burn 24/7..bought one of those Koal Keepers to separate the hot coals from ash..hot coals go on one side, ash on the other..The Mrs..does not always use the koal keeper to separate..you can do it pretty well with the normal hearth shovel..We usually empty first thing in the morning or after extended burn when we returned after not being around..
  7. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    I will have to look into one of those coal keepers, i get so little ash that i dont clean mine but every 2-3 weeks. I also dont get very much residual coal.
    Would the people reading this base a buying decision on the design of the ash pan? I cant think of one time a customer realy inspected the design, but a large majority ask if it has one. Personally i woulnd base my decision on it, its just not that hard or messy to scoop. That is if your carfull. Neither my wife or i are super clean freaks, the duster doesnt get much use.
  8. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    A useable ashpan arrangement was very high on my list of "must haves". I always seemed to bump the shovel full of ash on something, on the way to the bucket, and get ashes everywhere. Doing it a 4:30am before coffee just pissed me off more, so...

    The ash tray arrangement on my Woodstock Keystone is perfect. On this model, the door and ashcan behind the door is airtight; gasketed. The bottom of the firebox has long slots for the ash to fall into. Its always open, no open/close grate.

    The morning ritual:

    Open door to the stove, and rake the fluffy ash around with a poker so it falls into the ash pan. Just enough to get rid of the excess. No broom necessary. Big chunks of glowing embers stay in the firebox.

    Reload the stove with wood. Close the door to the firebox. Nice feature that the firebox and ashpan have seperate accesses.

    Open the ashpan latch. Pull out the ashpan and dump it outside into a mini 5 gallon covered galvenized steel trash can. Women think the little can looks kinda "cute"

    By the time I get back, the new fire is roaring, since the ash pan door is airtight when its closed and lets a huge amount of air in when its open. Slip the pan back in, latch the door and done.

    Like you found out, waiting to empty the pan can cause a really big mess. So I just empty it every morning, but it could go 3 days or so. Not latching the ashpan door will result in blast furnace conditions rather rapidly.
  9. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    Usually use it to get at least 3 or 4 scoops of coals (depends on the timing) or if real full skim the top inch, enough to get the reload upto speed, then empty the rest..

    Good point on the pine and no coals and frequency of cleaning ash..

    When we bought it I just saw that it had one and did not get into details...After burning it for 3 years, I believe of the products available at the time we bought the right stove..It is a minor thing..The old battle wagon black hole you could have almost used a garden shovel to empty it. This is an improvement over that. Hearthstone should improve this, I believe.

    We keep ours pretty clean for the most part, sometimes you get a bit of ash around the hearth..Our new foundland/rot mix likes to sleep with her head basically under the ash lip..She is coal black and when she shows up with ash dust on the side of her face and neck its pretty funny. ahhhh i wasn't sleeping.......OK you went for a powder?
  10. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

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    Not to go off topic too much, MSG... just wondering what you meant by resin spots? like a glue? do you think is was part of the manufacturing or assembly process or do these spots keep reappearing?

    As far as the ashpan, I know I was not impressed at all on the design on the stove, but it was not something that really swayed my decision one way or another. I figured - if it works OK, I'll use it... if not, I know how to operate a shovel. But my guess is I'll probably use it (once I get the stove connected, that is)
  11. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    resin like sap or something, i have no idea what it was. its gone now!
    Overall im very impressed with the design of the hearthstone. I love the simple looks, wide open viewing, and of course the stone. Shoveling is easier then the ash pan, you dont have to take the extra step of sweeping it in the pan. You just shovel it directly to the disposal source!
  12. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    You think it is from burning all the pine?
  13. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    you know, i dont know, but if you look closley at the ash lip of the before photo, you will see the spots im talking about
  14. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    Sandor,

    On the mansfield, ash pan is separate also and gasketed air tight...I noticed the blast furnace conditions also one time when i did not close properly, mentioned to a buddy with a jotul castine non cat. He said he used to do this to get it going until it "backfired" on him...He has not done it since...Not sure if there ash pan is different set up?
  15. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    I'm not a fan of ash pans. On the stove I had with one, I never used it. Since 1/8" of ash can cut the heat transfer to the exterior by up to 50% I feel ash pans (particular with ash in them) insulate the bottom of the stove robbing btu's from transferring into the living area. The more ash that stays in them or ash pan, the more you insulate far as I can see. Sandor has the right idea.

    Beginners who learn I burn wood and tell me they're thinking about it themselves, always mention they're looking into ones with ash pans. With my unit, and I think most secondary burns maybe cats, fires always burn hottest in the front. After a fire's over, looking in my unit what's in the front is almost all fine powder ash and what's in the back are the coals and embers still going. When I reload, I rake what few coals & embers there are from the front to the back to join their buddies. All I have left in front now, is fine powder ash. I scoop out the front into an ash bucket that I've leaned into my unit and let it drop carefully. Any dust that comes up, is usually sucked up the chimney by the draft. I then rake everything as far as I can to the front as much as possible so almost all of my unit is bare soapstone. I reload the wood, all the hot embers I've moved to the front starts the front log on fire, and the air pushes the flames into the middle of my unit and away we go. It ensures I always have a clean unit, that I minimize the ash from insulating, and I burn what coals & embers hadn't burned from my previous fire. That's me, my wife, she puts wood on top and shuts the door. After having a "discussion" with her, imagine my surprise when I go to reload after her and I open the ash can to see it full of log pieces about the size of my forearm, and pieces of wood the size of my fists. Looks like she took a fire with about 2 hours left and scooped it into the ash can. *sigh* I ended up dumping that stuff back in to burn and deemed it best she simply put more wood on top and I'll handle the ashes.
  16. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Tho mine is not a Hearthstone I run mt set up just like Greg123 .
  17. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    I ran into the same problem with my Heritage when I tried the ash pan. Seemed to be more hassle that what it was worth.

    I did used the ash pan door to restoke the coals in the morning. After shaking out the ash, I left the door cracked alittle. After about 5 mins, the coals were actually flaming again so I loaded up the stove and closed the ash door. I would never operate the stove for an extended period with the door open. It seemed to really spark up the fire :)
  18. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Best ash can design hands down the VC encore swings out for easy access. Comes with a slide on cover with a handle . Put the cover on take it out side and dump it. No mess no fuss. I though all advanced stoves had simmilar designs?
  19. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    how did i know you were going to say that...... :)
  20. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

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    I have to disagree with your opinion here.
    From personal experience & listening to other people
    w/ similar situations, I've found that not having an
    insulator (ash, firebrick, etc...) can really degrade your
    combustion efficiency, especially on EPA High-tech stoves
    that depend upon high firebox temps. to get a clean burn.
    The difference was very obvious when I made the transition
    from metal grate ash tray to no ash tray woodstove (firebrick
    bottom).

    My 2 cents worth...

    Rob
  21. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    I agree rob, i get much better combustion with that insulation in the bottem of the firebox.
  22. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I think as far as ash pans are concerned, there are the good, bad, and the ugly. MSG is right about Hearthstone, they need to improve their design, they are in the ugly catagory. My old Homestead ash pan was too small, messy and looked bad. If I wasn't carefull and made sure the pan wasn't in all the way I could get an overfire. I ended up blocking off the ash grate with firebricks and scopped the ashes out with shovel. Fireview has no ash pan but I'm use to using the shovel into bucket routine. Occasionally I hit something and spill and make a mess, but I have a cordless hand held vaccume that makes quick clean up.
  23. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Just stated the obvious. The finest ash removal system, mess free, therfore very wife pleasing.

    Almost as good as top loading

    BTW a good idea to employ the use of a spray bottle, to contain the dust /ash cloud
  24. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    If that hand vac has a hepa filter option, i would get it. My hand vac spreads ash all over the place! If you spray the ash with a spray bottle filled with water, it works better, just clean up the residual with a damp spounge.
  25. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    I think my ash pan design is close to the quuality of the vermont castings setup.

    I have a 15 W x 8H x 12 D pan with a slide on lid to contain dust. :p
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