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I have no access to ash dump.

Posted by mustangm (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 1, 12 at 11:22

Hello, My home was built around 1965 with a brick fireplace that has an ash dump door on the floor of the fireplace. I would like to start using this, however it is filled almost to the top with ash. My issue is that I do not have any cleanout access door in the basement or outside. My neighbor's home was built at the same time by the same builder and is pretty much identical. He has a an ash dump with a cleanout door in the basement. When I look at the same wall in my basement it seems like the access door may have been removed and cemented over. A few questions for the forum: Why would the door have been removed in the past? Can a new cleanout door be installed? What issues might I encounter with the installation? Should I just have the ash vacuumed out from the top every few years? The chimney has a cap and water rarely drips down. Every so often after a heavy rainfall we get the ash smell coming from the fireplace. This happens even if the fireplace is clean. Could this smell be coming from the ash dump? Thank you all for your assistance.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: I have no access to ash dump.

There's no real way to tell why the cleanout door was removed - perhaps a conversion of the fireplace to gas? Anyway, installing a new cleanout door is not difficult. The only tricky part is cutting the opening. This usually entails using a diamond cutting blade to score the outline, followed by work with a chisel. It does not have to be a perfectly precise opening - mortar can patch any irregularities around the new cleanout door.

If you're going resume burning wood, it's important to have the chimney cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep. A sweep would very likely be able to install a cleanout door as well if you'd rather not do it yourself.

The creosote smell after a rain is probably due to the ashes in the chimney, but may also be an indication that there's a lot of creosote lining the chimney above the fireplace. Another good reason to have the inspection and cleaning.

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