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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. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I understand that when you pull the ash-pan on a PE Summit that the ashes are in there already wrapped in a foil bundle and strapping tape with a loop on top to pick it up.

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  2. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    LMAO BB, you would think so.
  3. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Thats right , but its just a little package because it only burns two logs all winter. The P.E. Summit also cleans its self and the rest of the house when you are gone.
  4. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    BB that's as good as it gets. My question is why not use the ashes for medicinal purposes. Like Cheech and Chong's magical dust.
    A little sprinkle here and little sprinkle there
  5. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    With my unit, cleaning out the ash exposes the bottom soapstone to get charged by the fire. Over its course the fire heats up the soapstone and covers the bottom in ash partially insulating it so it stays hot. On reload, I clean the ash off exposing the hot stone, lay my fresh wood on top of that, and it's a dream to get the fire going and up to speed now that the fresh wood is sitting on probably 300F+ stone. I don't get as quick response and up to speed when I reload on top of ash.

    My feeling is ash helps the first fire get up to speed because it insulates the bottom from being able to sap heat out of it but hinders subsequent reloads because without the bottom having heated up it can't contribute to getting the next fire going, and you inhibit one side of your unit from transferring heat into the living area. Without ash it hinders the first fire and but any subsequent fires start quickly and get into higher efficiencies faster. I get better fires and more heat into my living area by dumping the ashes each fire, but I've always stated that first fire from a cold start is rather annoying. Now, someone will probably mention having the bottom insulated means the fire inside will be hotter so you get higher burn efficiencies which puts more heat into the living area but, there's a certain balance between burn efficiency and transfer efficiency we dance with. Burning at max air gives me the highest burn efficiencies sure but certainly doesn't give the heat much time to sit around and transfer into my living area before heading out the flue. Likewise, turning the air down too much and I don't get the burn efficiencies that will let me transfer more heat into the living area. Some of us use thermometers, others experience, but we learn where that balance is between getting the best burn efficiency and the most heat into the living area. That balance is better when the ash isn't insulating the bottom for me. Not to say for everyone, my unit is particularly sensative because it's a soapstone insert. I'm pretty sure inserts really feel the difference of the ash.
  6. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    I forget what stove your burning..... can you remind me?
  7. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Hearthstone Clydesdale soapstone insert.
  8. Robbie

    Robbie Minister of Fire

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    MountainStoveGuy, I don't have an ash pan.

    When scooping ashes, I try to always scoop them cold, and I always use a hepa vac and insert nozzle into the bucket (2 ft. tall).

    I NEVER put nozzle past a couple inches down into my 2 ft. tall bucket, this ensures there is no chance of sucking up any coals at all (hot or cold), even thought I make double sure my coals are dead cold.

    I clean my ashes out once a week, so they are pretty deep. My wife is the one who told me I needed to modify my ash cleaning technique, even though I thought I was doing perfect.

    She showed me a film of ash on almost everything near my stove............ :cheese:

    This is when I started using the hepa vac and nozzle trick. It looks like a mini tornado inside the bucket while I am dumping my ashes.

    Even if I empty my shovel fast, there is absolutly no way the ash dust can make it out of the can as long as you keep the nozzle down in your can a few inches and just above your coals.

    And if you are concerned about getting a hot coal in your bag, then remove the bag when your done and leave it outside somewhere. You will know in a couple minutes if you got a hot coal, so lay it on the gravels or somewhere safe, you'll find out that this is a waste of time as long as you only vacuum "ashes" inside the bucket and stay away from the coals.

    On ash cleaning day, I simply get my vac and turn it on with nozzle stuck inside the bucket and start shoveling, I'm done in a few minutes and there is no dust unless I bump the shovel on the way into my bucket.

    Note: they actually sell vacs that can be used with warm or slightly hot coals if you are concerned at all about the safety issues. If you are not 100% sure you can do this and NOT suck up hot coals, then obviously don't try it.

    http://www.lovelessash.com/Ash Vac.htm

    When I first started doing it and after completing the job, I left my whole vacuum out on my deck for a while just to be on the extra cautionary side.


    Robbie
  9. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    One comment on loveless ash vacs, they work well, and very small hot coals are ok (at least from what i have teseted). the problem is the inlet to the vac is only 1" so you cant suck up chunks with out cloging it. Its rely good for pellet stoves, or a powder fine ash. Most stoves would be ok with it. but open firplaces dont burn complete enough. Overall a nice unit. I used it in the showroom for a season. It looked relativly good after abuse.
  10. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    I just figured out what was all over the bottem frame of my stove that i could not get off... fatwood drippings. Sometimes i use a sliver of fatwood to light the fatwood in the stove. I was just lighting my stove and i made a mess again!
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    It only made it to 91 here today so we decided not to light our stove.
  12. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Right now its 40's and raining, yesterday it snowed about 2000 feet above me, and less then a mile away. Summers over, at least up here!
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