I've still been experimenting with my NC30. I have tried shoveling a small amount down the ash pan hole every day or so, letting it sit in there to cool a day, dump into my ash can and repeat. Today we've got high's close to 50 in Northeast Ohio so I shut her all the way down and will do a full cleanout before I relight Tuesday(tomorrow's high is 51!). Got a Kerosine heater helping out when I am home and if it drops below 55 the furnace will pick up the slack..
I collect about 5 inches of ash after a 24 hour period . I normally empty it out every day or two but maybe I have been doing it wrong so I am going to let it build up till It becomes a problem ...I'm going to see if it extends my burn time which would be fantastic as Im getting about 4 hours out of a full stove from load up to embers.
I usually take some ash out every day, leaving a couple inches of coals and ash on the floor of the stove. Last year I had an EPA stove and a non-EPA stove, and I noticed that the non-EPA stove left very little in terms of ash and coals. It seems like an EPA stove will leave a bed of coals glowing hot for hours, and a non-EPA stove leaves almost no trace that anything burned at all. I think it's one of the reasons that some people say that EPA stoves are fussy and hard to use compared to older stoves.
I like to pack the ashes down. I can turn 3" of ashes into 1/2" by complressing the ashes. I like this method in the shoulder season. My stove is oversized for my space, so by doing this it reduces my need to remove ash with a shovel (a messy process I have grown to dislike), and having a deep compacted ash bed really helps hold coals over extended periods of time between loads.
But when it's super cold and we're burning 24/7 I empty the ashes about once per week.
Yeah I only clean it when it's shut down. I've done it twice this season, first time was when we left town and returned to a cold stove, second was when I installed the convection deck and cleaned the chimney.
The only modification I made to our princess was to cut the loop off of the ash plug, I can run about 2-3 weeks on low and 1 week on higher settings before needing to shovel out. I made a screen to sift out larger coals when cleaning out too. Clean stove and easy reloads.....
How often I clean out ashes depends on how hard I'm pushing my stove. Sometimes it's every 2 days when it's really cold. Other times I can go a week or so.
I know it's time when the ashes start to block the doghouse and it becomes a pita to keep pushing the ashes out of the way. I push the coals to one side and take 2 or 3 shovel fulls. Then I do the other side.
This is another HUGE reason why I love my Blaze King. With 9 inches of depth you can wait a very long time between emptying ashes. The benefits are: higher efficiency due to not shoveling out a bunch of hot coals to try and make room for wood and cleaner indoor air.
My enerzone fireplace is fun to run once in awhile, but back when it was my sole wood stove, I got tired of the mess of the shallow firebox. Ashes are constantly spilling out of that thing on reload! I'm thankful that is just a supplementary source of heat now for when the real cold hits.
With the old stove, I was removing ashes every couple days. With the new stove, it's about every 5 days to a week. The amount of ash I get varies. I usually try to clean as much ash out as possible, depending on how hot the coals are. I never let the ash bed get deeper than 2 inches. Stove's been cold since Saturday so I cleaned all of the ash out yesterday. It will be nice to go back to burning tonight.
I slide out my ash pan first thing in the morning before adding wood. It's 'coolest' at that time, and is an easy process. Slide it back in empty, add wood to the bed of coals on the grate (above the pan), and fire it back up. If I let mine go for more than a day the ash pan is overfull and makes a mess when sliding out.
I am cleaning my Ashford 30 about weekly, been running 24/7 since mid October or so.
I notice birch ashes more than spruce and dryer wood ashes less than wetter wood, but that's all I got.
I did make a scoop very much like an all metal tool for cleaning the cat's litter box with some expanded sheet metal mesh, a piece of wrought iron bar stock and a few bolts from Lowe's-Depot. I whittled on a piece of 2x2 a little for the handle.
My next coal sifter scoop I am going with bigger mesh, holes maybe 3/4" x 1" or so.
My stove runs better with at least half an inch of ash on the floor.
It varies but Ive been pretty lazy about it. Last year I burned all spruce which coaled very little I only shoveled when I swept chimney, I think 3 times. I'm burning more cottonwood and birch this year so I'm seeing more coals and ash. I think I've shoveled twice, my ash right now is about as high as it's ever been. Long story short I'll go with one a month.
As often as I have to, and that all depends on what I'm burning. This winter I'm burning mostly Doug Fir which leaves almost nothing behind. I scooped a couple shovel fulls out the other day for the first time all year. When I burn mostly alder it's a once per week affair.
I empty once a week but I do 2 pans worth in one session. I used to do it once every 2 or 3 days but once a week gives me better economies of scale.
I have a piece of sheet metal 24" x 16" tucked behind the stove that I lay down on the hearth to catch the ashes that inevitably fall so when I'm done there's no need for a broom.