How Safe is It to Leave Ash in a Wood Burning Stove?

Multi Fuel & Wood Burning Stoves


How Safe is It to Leave Ash in a Wood Burning Stove?

If you are looking for an efficient way to warm a place up, wood stoves are a great choice. They can radiate heat in all directions in a quick manner. Moreover, the use of oil and LPG can be expensive, so burning wood provides you with the benefit of reduced heating bills. However, choosing wood-burning stoves would only be advantageous if you know the right way to use and maintain them properly. 

A critical task in the ownership and maintenance of a wood-burning stove is regular cleaning, which includes removing layers of ash from time to time. If this all sounds new to you, we will tell you everything you need to know about the wood-burning stove and the ashes it requires to function well. 

How Safe is It to Leave Ash in a Wood Burning Stove?

How Much Ash Does a Wood-Burning Stove Need?

You might have heard people recommending you clean out your wood-burning stove entirely before you start a new burn. However, most wood-burning stove suppliers suggest otherwise. They advise you to leave a specific depth of ash—around 25mm or one inch should be enough—into your stove before starting another fire. 

The remaining ashes help the wood burn faster. The ashes have properties that allow them to enclose the fire’s warmth and reflect it into the wood, resulting in a faster burning process. The ashes also act as the stove’s secondary combustion chamber. Even if the fire subsides, it can still trap heat for many hours. At the same time, the burning process would be much cleaner. Your wood would be used efficiently, and the air within the stove door would stay clean. 

Moreover, if you keep cleaning your wood-burning stove, your stove may get permanent damage to its metal base, resulting in a warped or cracked bottom. Keeping enough layers of ash would prolong its life.

You have to keep in mind, though, that a thick layer of ashes is not recommended. If there is too much ash in your stove, it can block the airflow from the vents. The ashes might also take up space that is supposedly for the wood. 

The Ideal Timing for Removing Ash

Indeed, a layer of ash is needed to keep your stove running efficiently. Nonetheless, it does not mean that you should keep the old ashes and never get rid of them. Since the burning of wood would eventually lead to more ash, you might get an unwanted buildup. It would be best if you let go of the overused ones and make room for newer ash. 

The frequency would depend on how often you use your wood-burning stove. The more you use it, the more ashes you would collect. Make sure you follow the recommended depth of ash needed and stay consistent with it. 

Important note:  ashes have many uses. Before fully letting them go, you can also use them as fertiliser for your garden. They contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus that promotes growth in plants. 


Keeping a layer of ash in your wood-burning stove can be beneficial for your equipment and household. Aside from helping with insulation and easier wood-burning, it also keeps your investment protected from damage. If you have a wood stove at home or decide to get one now, keep this advice in mind to prolong your wood-burning stove’s life.

Should you decide to purchase a wood stove in Scotland, make sure to only get from a reliable supplier. Stove Scotland can supply, install, and maintain wood-burning stoves. Contact us today to learn about your options. 

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