Wood fuelled boilers, stoves and room heaters should be kept clean and swept regularly to remove ash. Ash quantities are generally very low (<1% of fuel volume), but you will still need to empty the ash bin of a wood burning stove or boiler. This is likely to be weekly and never more than once a day.
A log fire requires ash removal before every use. Some appliances particularly boilers have self-cleaning systems built in. A self-cleaning system will collect ash from the combustion grate and the heat exchanger tubes. If there is no automatic ash cleaning mechanism in place the boiler will need to be shut down periodically so that this can be done by hand. If the ash is not cleaned out regularly, it will build up and adversely affect combustion conditions, which can lead to boiler failure and shut down.
Some boilers have a mechanism for compressing the ash which reduces the number of times the ash bin needs to be emptied. With automatic ash removal and cleaning of the heat exchanger the only maintenance requirement will be occasional ash removal and an annual maintenance check. If you have a wood burning stove or boiler the chimney and flue pipe must be swept regularly to remove all soot deposits and prevent blockage. HETAS recommend that this “should be done at least twice a year, preferably before the heating season to check that the flue has not been blocked by bird’s nests for example and also at the end of the heating season to prevent soot deposits from resting in the chimney during the dormant period.
The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps recommends that chimneys used in conjunction with wood fuel should be swept quarterly when in use. Further information on chimney safety can also be found in the National Association of Chimney Sweep’s leaflet Heat your Home Safely. Burning wet wood increases the amount of soot in a chimney and with it the chance of a chimney fire. Logs should always be seasoned (air-dried) for at least a year before being burned.