What's the opening at the bottom of my fireplace?

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Old 12-13-16, 01:04 PM
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What's the opening at the bottom of my fireplace?

Sorry for the lack of pics (which I can post if necessary), but I wanted to know what the 'trap door' is at the bottom of my traditional fireplace.

My fireplace basically looks like this:

https://www.northlineexpress.com/med...e-door-2eb.jpg

In the center of the floor of the fireplace (beneath the thing holding the wood) is some kind of door/vent.

I had never noticed it before (it must have been closed), but after we had our chimney swept last fall they must have left this vent/door slightly open (as I just noticed it the other day when lighting our first fire of the winter).

I closed it as I didn't want the ashes going down, but I have no idea what it's for.

Thanks for any thoughts.
 
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Old 12-13-16, 02:14 PM
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It leads to the ash pit. You brush the ashes into the opening and they fall into the ash pit, which part of the foundation of the chimney. Look in your basement or perhaps outside, and you should find a little metal door that allows you to clean out the pit if it ever gets full. Unless you use your FP a lot it won't ever get full....
 
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Old 12-13-16, 03:44 PM
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But I'd still find clean out door and check the contents at the bottom of the flue at least once a year! Ash and soot could potentially burn and will absorb moisture, probably not a problem but it's better to be safe than sorry.
 
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Old 12-13-16, 04:35 PM
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Thanks everyone. I do know where that door is in my basement, so I'll take a look.

Am I better off just carefully vacuuming with a shopvac or using a dustpan to remove the ash from the fireplace?
 
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Old 12-13-16, 05:10 PM
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Comes down to personal preference. When I had a wood burner I found it a lot easier to use the ash pit. If I tried to use a brush and dustpan I usually ended up with ash powder everywhere.

They make ash vacuums that are safe for the occasional hot ember. I wouldn't use a shop vac unless you wait several days to be certain there are no embers....they can stay hot for a long time. And empty the vac before just in case.
 
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Old 12-14-16, 02:43 AM
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IMO a brush or anything that puts the ash in a dustpan is fine. I use a mini shovel to clean mine out. Fine ash can seep thru the bag/filter on some vacuums. It doesn't need to be perfectly clean you just don't want a build up of several inches or more.
 
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Old 12-14-16, 05:13 AM
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Ditto on what has been said. I have found hot embers 4 to 5 days after a fire, which is why I like to leave several inches of ash. Digging out a few hot embers always makes starting a new fire much easier.

I use a woof stove now so no trap door and I just shovel the ash into an ash bucket which gets moved outside in case of hidden hot embers.

Bud
 
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