Are Wood Burning Stoves Messy?

In Indoor Fireplaces, Multi Fuel Stoves, Wood Burning Stoves by James O'KellyLeave a Comment

Burning wood in your home can sometimes be a messy process. Piles of ash are left behind after a fire, and the longer the fire, the more ash is needed to be cleaned out.

Wood burning stoves created an enclosed environment in which to burn wood, and so are wood burning stoves messy?

Wood burning stoves themselves won’t create a mess on the floor of your home, as ashes are either held within the base of the stove or within an ash pan located beneath the firebox. There may be some mess created when ash needs to be cleared out from the stove.

I’ve explained below whether we find our own wood burning and multi fuel stoves to be messy, and how we clean out our stoves between fires.

Are Wood Burning Stoves Messy?

Wood Burning Stoves

Wood burning stoves are commonly installed to help improve the efficiency and heat output of burning wood in your home.

Small bits of charred wood and ash are typically left behind after a fire in a wood stove. The longer the fire was maintained and the more wood that was added to the stove, the more the ash will have built up at the bed of your stove.

Thankfully wood burning stoves are enclosed appliances, meaning that any ash left behind by a fire can be shut away behind the door, and out of view.

Ash left behind in our wood stove from a fire
Closing the door on the stove helps to hide the ashes from view

Furthermore, a fire inside a wood burning stove can burn better if built on a bed of ash, as it can help to insulate the fire and make it burn more efficiently. Ashes therefore don’t always need to be cleaned out between fires, and you can let a couple of inches of ash build up within a stove before some of it needs to be cleared out.

As for actually cleaning out our wood burning stove, we simply remove the metal grate at the front of the stove, and sweep out any excess ash from the stove with brush.

Although there’s a flat base at the bottom of our wood stove, there’s a few edges around the inside of the stove where ash can gather, and it can sometimes look a bit messy.

The wood stove can get a bit messy around the inside edges

While taking photos of the air vent located underneath our stove for another article, I noticed that the ash has been slowly building up under the stove through mess created from regularly clearing the ashes out after fires. It looks a bit messy when you’re actually looking under the stove, but otherwise it isn’t noticeable.

Some mess created under our stove from periodically cleaning it out

Overall we find that our wood burning stove isn’t very messy at all. Any ash that falls out of the stove when the ash is being cleaned can be easily swept up, and we can simply close the door on the stove to hide any ash if needed.

Multi Fuel Stoves

The setup for collecting ash on our multi fuel stove is slightly different to our wood burning stove.

As multi fuel stove are designed to burn types of solid fuel other than wood, such as coal, they work slightly differently compared to wood stoves.

Wood only needs a source of air from above to burn efficiently, which is why you’ll find wood stoves have flat bases and can have a bed of ash at the bottom of the stove. Coal on the other hand needs a source of air from below to be able to burn efficiently, and so multi fuel stoves can’t have flat beds otherwise the coal wouldn’t burn very well.

Multi fuel stoves therefore typically have a metal grate at the base of the firebox to allow air to get to the fire from below. There are separate air vents on our multi fuel stove to provide air to both above and below the fire.

Multi fuel stoves have metal grates at the base of the firebox for ash to fall through

Multi fuel stoves will also have ash pan compartments located beneath the firebox to catch any ash that falls through the metal grate during a fire. An ash tray is located within the compartment, and can be removed once the door to the stove is open in order to be able to clear out the ashes.

The ash pan can be removed to clean out the ashes

Because multi fuel stoves have these dedicated compartments for collecting ash, we find that’s it’s easier to clean out the ashes on our multi fuel stove than our wood burning stove, and that there’s less mess as a result.

Multi Fuel Stove Ash Pan Clean
Ash from multi fuel stoves can be cleaned out with minimal mess

Any excess ash left within the multi fuel stove can be swept into the tray from inside, which helps to reduce the amount of mess made when cleaning the ash out.

There’s also a control on our multi fuel stove that helps to shake any bits of wood or ash into the pan. By sliding the handle in and out, the metal grate rotates and helps the ash to fall through.

The handle that controls the grate rotating mechanism

If you’re looking to be able to burn different types of fuel in your home, as well as keep the mess down, then a multi fuel stove might be the right type of stove for you.

Further Reading

Parts Of A Wood Burning Stove Explained

How A Wood Burning Stove Works

How To Use A Wood Burning Stove

How A Multi Fuel Stove Works

How To Use A Multi Fuel Stove

Wood Burning and Multi Fuel Stove Differences Explained

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