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Woodburner ash/dust EVERYWHERE - any tips? Are we doing something wrong?

(22 Posts)
Seasonofberries Thu 29-Oct-15 10:18:55

Our woodburner has been our main source of heat in our open-plan living/kitchen/dining room since we had it installed a few years ago. It's lovely, keeps us warm and toasty, dries the laundry. But it generates so much dust/ash.

The ash is currently all over the hearth; I've taken to not sweeping it up constantly, as this seems to cause as much ash to billow into the air as gets swept on to the ash pan. You open it/put a log in - more ash falls out. You sweep the ash that tumbles on to the rim stopping the door from closing - more dust. You can't vacuum it until it's cooled, which isn't often when the fire's lit almost constantly.

There's a thick layer of ash dust everywhere - on/in the piano, on the TV, on shelves, under the sofa. We have a big family and a baby and can't keep on top of the level of cleaning that the fire seems to necessitate - as in a wipe-down several times a day.

I also worry that this much fine dust in the atmosphere can't be good for us.

Are we doing something wrong? It's a good quality stove from a well-regarded manufacturer (Charnwood). I've seen you can get those hot ash vacuum cleaners, especially for fires - does anyone have one and are they any good? Tips, please!

OverScentedFanjo Thu 29-Oct-15 10:23:11

Interested to see any tips for this. We have a film of dust everywhere in winter months due to wood ash. Also cobwebs and spiders from the logpile.

I think central heating is the only way to hear your home "cleanly".

RudyMentary Thu 29-Oct-15 10:27:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Seasonofberries Thu 29-Oct-15 10:39:35

Ooh, Rudy, that's interesting. We use old newspaper (plus kindling) to get it going. What do you use to get it started?

We've never bought wood, instead getting loads of it locally through friends and a tree surgeon, so we burn all sorts; I haven't been able to link the mega ash to any particular species.

Seasonofberries Thu 29-Oct-15 10:40:53

Over, I'm sorry you're experiencing the same, but sort of reassured that it's not just me.

I think you're right about central heating. I do love the fire though. It's just such a bloody mess!

ShowOfBloodyStumps Thu 29-Oct-15 10:44:28

I use my wood burner all the time and have no problems with ash at all. I'm really not sure why though. Sorry!

specialsubject Thu 29-Oct-15 10:44:36

that's not right. Ours is lit evening only. You do get the odd bit of smoke coming out if you don't open the door carefully when restoking - trick is to do it slowly. Hence there is some dust. But the ash is inside the burner.

if so much ash is building up that the door can't close - definitely not right.

ShowOfBloodyStumps Thu 29-Oct-15 10:45:45

Was it always this way? Have you been maintaining it? Chimney swept? Sealant rope is fine? Flue checked for damage or seal issues?

RudyMentary Thu 29-Oct-15 10:56:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

worldgonecrazy Thu 29-Oct-15 11:04:16

We have a woodburner but it is a very modern one and very clean (Contura). There is very little ash too as it burns very efficiently, so maybe you could look into replacing it with something more modern?

I have found that opening the door slightly, into the lighting position, leaving it for a second and then opening fully, helps prevent pulling ash into the room. Otherwise we get very little, just a bit around the hearth which we sweep up.

I use firelighters, paper and kindling to light, and then logs from wherever we can get them, so a mix of pine, oak, walnut, all well seasoned.

Incidentally, when we checked the flue to clean it after last winter, there was not even a palmful of soot/residue in the chimney, so it really is a very clean burning stove. It might be cheap to get a replacement if you're doing a straight swap.

atticusclaw2 Thu 29-Oct-15 11:10:58

This isn't right. Why is it generating that much ash in one day. You must be using masses of paper and card? You should only be using a few sheets of paper twisted up. Most of your kindling should be sticks (or the log splinters sold as kindling).

Each morning you should sweep it out with a dustpan and brush so that there is only a very thin layer of ash left. Leave a thin layer since wood likes to burn on a bed of ash. Clear out the tray underneath too so that the air can get to the wood.

By the end of the day yes you will have some ash but not that much.

To minimise disturbing the dust vacuum it each morning when its cold. Is yours lit overnight? is that why you can't vacuum it?

Even if you stoke it up at night before you go to bed it should be cool enough by the time you wake up to vacuum each morning.

ShowOfBloodyStumps Thu 29-Oct-15 11:11:28

I guess in theory the problem must be to do with the draw. All of our stuff goes straight up the chimney. No smoke billowing out, no ash coming out. If opening the door means stuff's coming out, then I'd assume the draw up the chimney is insufficient.

I really would check your flue and chimney tbh. The only time we ever had a problem (though with our open fire in our last property, not a wood burner), some birds had built a nest in our chimney. grin

Ours isn't 'modern' tbh. It's a very traditional stove though only 5 years old. It's very clean though and we've never had a single problem with it.

atticusclaw2 Thu 29-Oct-15 11:12:47

Is your chimney drawing properly? that might explain dust getting into the room.

atticusclaw2 Thu 29-Oct-15 11:13:09

X post!

steppemum Thu 29-Oct-15 11:16:12

we have a woodburner, installed about 18 months ago, in our living room.

We don't have any dust in the room, the room is if anything less dusty than the rest of the house
(we have a piano in the dining room which is always dusty - maybe the dust just shows more on a polished surface?)

The burner does get a bit dusty, but during the summer when it was off it got a bit dusty too, so not convinced it is any dustier than normal.

I have no idea why we don't have any dust, but a few things in your post stood out as being different to ours.

We don't have a build up of ash in the door joint. When we open the door no ash falls out, and the ash is all retained in the part where the fire is.

If we are very clumsy adding wood or lighting the fire we may dislodge some ash which falls onto the hearth, but really not much.

We start the fire with newspaper as well, doesn't seem to make any difference. My dh is pretty hot on not letting the fire touch the door, as he doesn't like the glass sooting up, so our wood is always added back behind the fire edge, I think if it was against the door it would make ash against the door.

We also never buy wood, but we have a wood store on the garden. freshly cut wood eg from a tree is stacked and stored for 2 years before we burn it (so we have a huge stack that we haven't touched yet) scrap wood like pallets is stacked under cover so it is dry. Don't know if green wood or wet wood makes any difference??

steppemum Thu 29-Oct-15 11:20:38

oh and we never empty the ash pan, until it is packed full blush as I simply could not be bothered and would give up having a fire.

Agree with others about the draw, we don't get any smoke or ash coming our into the room when we open it.

ragged Thu 29-Oct-15 12:07:10

How often does OP actually clear ashes out of the burner? She implies she can't do it daily because she's vacuuming the ash (why would you do this & ruin your filters)?

I spade ash out in morning if I burned all day previously; put it in a metal can then it won't matter if a few hot embers are still there. Then onto compost heap. Leave a thin layer (min. 1 cm deep) in stove to start next fire with. Need some ash to protect the metal from warping.

Do you have a stove flue thermometer, btw? Used to be highly advised.

Reminds me, my pet burner needs feeding now.

steppemum Thu 29-Oct-15 16:41:09

just occurred to me, if it is an older burner, cold the door seal need replacing?

WelliesAndPyjamas Thu 29-Oct-15 16:50:48

We don't suffer with dust. We light it with kindling though, which might help? And the tray is emptied very often (it's even possible to do a quick dash while the fire is lit, as long as it is carefully coordinated, with help opening and closing doors, you know exactly where you want to put your ash outside, and the wind is not against you!!).

ShowOfBloodyStumps Thu 29-Oct-15 17:27:44

I think you should get it checked out. Do you have a carbon monoxide monitor? Inefficient burning or the failure to remove smoke or contain ash, does leave you at risk of the wood burner leaking carbon monoxide. Get somebody round to check the flue, the chimney, the seals etc.

WelliesAndPyjamas Thu 29-Oct-15 22:20:18

Good point, showofbloodystumps

ancientoak Wed 02-Dec-15 09:34:59

Appreciate this thread is a bit old but possibly can help. If all's been checked out then maybe it's just the use of a brush that's causing the problem ? I got very excited about my new wood burner until I realised the faff of cleaning it with an old fashioned brush & pan set ( and the clouds of dust that whooshed into the air with every brush stroke).
Bought an ash-vac from Amazon (under £40 ) - now takes 2 minutes - dust problem solved - and it vacs up all the wood bits that get dropped out of the log basket & kindling bucket.

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