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Author Topic: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace  (Read 8939 times)

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Offline ronwood

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Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« on: October 31, 2005, 09:43:51 AM »
I recently installed a Central Boiler out wood furnace.  So for I am satified with how well it works. It does not have an ash pan like many of the other outdoor funances and it is getting time to remove the ashes. For those that have stoves without an ash pan how to you remove the ashes without removing the unburnt coals that are mixed with the ash?

Thanks
Ron
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Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2005, 09:53:48 AM »
We have been heating with a Central Boiler (C-40) for about eight years.  When the ash builds up we let the fire die down to a bed of coals.  I park the tractor with FEL by the door and using a long handled shovel proceed to shovel out the ash.  To keep the coals I first move the top layer off to the side.  As I shovel the ash out I jiggle the shovel so that any hot coals on top of the ash mound in the shovel fall off.  Once one portion of the pan is emptied I rake the top layer of hot coals over to the just cleaned section and proceed to shovel out the rest of the stove.  When I am done there is very little ash left in the stove and a nice pile of hot coals.  
Caution:  It is a very hot and dusty exercise.  At a minimum where good gloves and eye protection.  A dust mask is recommended, but I always have trouble with the eye protection foggin up when I wear  a mask so I tend to step back and let the perticulates dissipate btween shovel fulls.  I dump the hot ash in an old bucket from a crawler loader.  After a week or so I transfer the ash to the compost pile or spread it on my trails.
Hope this helps.
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Offline edsaws

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2005, 09:55:07 AM »
My father in law use to screen the ash through a screen over his wheel barrow to separate the coals. Then he would store the coals in a metal trash can and use them for his grill.

Offline ronwood

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2005, 10:31:52 AM »
OneWithWood,

Thanks for the reply.

How often do you remove the ashes? Do you get a lot of ashes over the heating season. I had a high end fireplace (without grate, sealed door, and drew in air from outside for combustion) in my last home and it seems to me that I hd a lot less ash then the fireplace (in my new house) I have now with a grate.

Ron
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Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2005, 10:37:38 AM »
The amount of ash is directly proportional to the types of wood you burn and the amount of wood you burn.  We burn a lot more wood than the average person due to the types of heating (two greenhouses as well as the house and domestic hot water).  Last winter I emptied ash every other Sunday morning.  This winter with drier wood, replumbed water ines in the big greenhouse, and a higher percentage fo white oak in the pile I think I can stretch it out to every third Sunday.  We will see.
Hopefully Chet will chime in on this thread.
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2005, 10:44:02 AM »
.......... I had a high end fireplace (without grate, sealed door, and drew in air from outside for combustion) in my last home and it seems to me that I hd a lot less ash then the fireplace (in my new house) I have now with a grate.

For that reason, and burning wood up too fast, I removed the fireplace grate and now burn 'in' the ashes. Much better control of the fire and more lasting heat, IMO.  As well, the ashes seem to 'compact' together more and requires less removal work.

On my wood-fired hot water system, I just scrape the coals and charcoal to the side, and shovel out the ashes (flicking off any larger pieces of charcoal that appear) and don't worry too much about a bit of wood left. I hang an ash bucket just outside the burner door, and most of the fly ash gets drawn right back into the wood burner.  But depends on the wood that is burned, how much ash there is to remove. I burn oak (red and white) and take a gal. a week of ash out in the coldest weather.  Set the bucket outside to cool off before dumping on the mulch pile.
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Offline slowzuki

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2005, 12:53:52 PM »
I have found burning softwoods and low density hardwoods produces far less ash than normal firewood species.  We burned spruce and fir one winter and may have cleaned out ash once the whole winter?  With maple and birch we are cleaning once a week in the main stove.

Offline Bro. Noble

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2005, 01:37:06 PM »
We have a Taylor without an ashpan.  The dealer reccomended keeping the fire toward the back of the firebox,  so each time I fill it (twice a day when it's real cold)  I push the coals to the back,  take out a shovelfull or two of ashes,  and then put in the new wood.

Reminds me of a guy I taught with about 25 years ago.  He was one of these 'back to nature'  guys who who had just made his move to the country.  He had bought a new stove and the directions said to keep some ashes in the bottom of the stove.  He was wondering where he could buy some ashes :D :D :D   I made him a real good deal ;)
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Offline johnjbc

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2005, 02:16:06 PM »
I find that the amount of ash is dependant on the soil the tree grows in. Wood from where I live near Carlisle with Limestone soil makes a lot of ashes. Wood from my wood lot makes about half as much and oak from the ridge tops in Union County Pa makes far less. Empting the ash pan can go from twice a week to once a week to every 2 weeks.
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Online SwampDonkey

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2005, 05:36:57 PM »
Once I start burning wood (usually when the ground stays frozen) I clean ashes every 3 or 4 days from my forced air furnace in the basement. I put them in the garden untill the snow gets deep. Then I put them across the road in the ditch and the snow plow spreads them. ;D I have a shovel and a 3 gallon pale and try to shovel the hot coals to one side and just take out mostly grey ash. There are always a few ambers in the ash, but I take it outside promptly. I've been away from the house a few days in the winter and cleaned ashes than had live coals burried in them. I like a few of those coals, helps rekindle the fire without drywood and paper (or birch bark). ;D
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Offline wiam

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2005, 07:09:42 PM »
I have had a CB for about 7 years.  I do just as One With Wood and agree with "it depends on the wood"  In winter when I am burning green maple, I clean every other week.  In summer I burn blowdown whatever, pine, hemlock, fir,  just junk, mostly softwood.  It has been probably 3 months since I have cleaned out ashes.  It has built up too much and I need to do it soon.  I use an old steel wheelbarrow most of the time, but sometimes I use an old 150 gal galvanized watertub.  It has a hole through both sides that a round bale spike will fit through.  :) :)

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Offline neslrite

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2005, 07:53:43 PM »
      I clean the ashes out of my HEATMOR about every 1 to 2 weeks, it has a grate so the coals stay in the firebox and the ashes fall through to the auger. I have never had any problems with the auger getting stuck with nails or tramp metal, I burn a lot of pallets and hardware filled logs that we reject from the sawmill.
     If I am burning slabs I get about twice the ash that I would get if I were burning split wood for the same heat output.  Another factor for ash acumulation is the amount of paper if I burn, paper generates a lot of ash.
   How many folks burn paper in the outdoor furnaces?? I dont burn plastic or garbage but most of our junk mail or anything with our name or address on it gets burned.

We have had the unit for 6 years and are very happy with it. :)

Kevin
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Offline farmerdoug

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2005, 08:02:45 PM »
In the fall when I am heating only the house I clean my CB 74 once every two months.  That is mainly because I burn mosly pallets and scrap wood and the ash is half nails.  When I start heating the greenhouses in January I clean it every 2-3 weeks and that is mainly cut firewood.  I heat six greenhouses and am adding more.

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Offline woodbowl

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2005, 09:50:58 PM »
  In summer I burn blowdown whatever, pine, hemlock, fir,  just junk, mostly softwood. 

  Why do you burn wood in the summer?
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Offline chet

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2005, 11:25:16 PM »
The amount of ash is directly proportional to the types of wood you burn and the amount of wood you burn. We burn a lot more wood than the average person due to the types of heating (two greenhouses as well as the house and domestic hot water). Last winter I emptied ash every other Sunday morning. This winter with drier wood, replumbed water ines in the big greenhouse, and a higher percentage fo white oak in the pile I think I can stretch it out to every third Sunday. We will see.
Hopefully Chet will chime in on this thread.

I really can't add anything. OWW summed it up pretty well.

I normally clean mine out about every 2 to three weeks. It is not a very big task.
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Offline Corley5

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2005, 11:41:57 PM »
  In summer I burn blowdown whatever, pine, hemlock, fir,  just junk, mostly softwood. 

Why do you burn wood in the summer?

To heat domestic hot water 8) 8) 
  My Crown Royal has rocker grates and an ash pan.  I rattle them every two or three days and empty the pan once a week or so.  I like it.  Dad's Heatmor is like Kevin's but Grandma's new one has the rocker grate option.  It was a compromise.  Dad insisted she get a Heatmor.  I wanted her to get one like mine so we came to an agreement 8).  It's a nice stove but I think Heatmor oughta have an ash pan ;) ;D
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Offline ronwood

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2005, 12:45:02 AM »
Thanks for all the replies.

Ron
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Offline IndyIan

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2005, 09:30:11 AM »
A question for the outdoor boiler users, do any of you get condensation or water build up in the bottom of the firebox?  I read somewhere that it sometimes happens and when the water is mixed with ashes it becomes very aggresive in corroding even stainless steel. 

Anyways, I'd think having less ashes would solve this problem if it ever arose.
 

Offline Corley5

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2005, 09:39:07 AM »
When our furnaces were fired the very first time they developed condensation.  Water seeped out of mine for a couple weeks and then quit and hasn't done it since.
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Offline ronwood

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Re: Cleaning Out Wood Furnace
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2005, 10:56:24 AM »
Corley5,

I seen that with mine also. Thought it was because I burnt some green wood. Not seen it since. CB recommends that you pull the ashes from along the corners and back of the firebox to front and middle.  Not sure if that has anything to due with the issue that IndyIan brought up.

Ron
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