Can Hear Chimney Ashes Splash In Water

January 12th 2018
Can Hear Chimney Ashes Splash In Water

Q:  We’re now using our wood burning fireplace again.  Recently when we cleared the ashes down the ash dump in the bottom of our firebox, we heard the ashes splashing into water.  Is there something we should be doing to correct this?

 

A:  Wood burning fireplaces are built with ash dumps in the base of the fire box to facilitate easy removal of ash debris.  The design of your fireplace (if built the conventional way) starts from well below grade level at the footings of your concrete foundation.  The poured concrete footings rest on the hard pan and form the dimensions of the chimney leaving an opening in the middle of the chimney cavity hence the ash dump. 

During the periods of heavy rainfall or high water table, it is not uncommon to have water come up between the footing walls into this cavity.  This creates a water filled ash dump or a great fire extinguisher in the event any hot coals are scraped down the dump.  That explains the splashing sound.