Can I cover over a chimney cleanout?


  #1  
Old 02-05-14, 09:36 AM
G
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,634
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Can I cover over a chimney cleanout?

I'm planning an attached garage at my cottage and it's likely the garage floor will be above the height of my exterior chimney cleanout door. I've never used this door for anything--I think it's way easier to shovel/vacuum the fireplace floor from the hearth. Is there any reason why I shouldn't cover this door rather than take expensive measures to avoid it? This is the first home I've owned with a fireplace and I don't "get it" what the door is used for.

 
  #2  
Old 02-05-14, 10:02 AM
J
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 4,294
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It's so you make a mess outside not inside.
 
  #3  
Old 02-05-14, 11:23 AM
B
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,524
Received 37 Votes on 34 Posts
Not likely, but a fire inside that door, if unprotected from combustibles, would be a problem. It isn't just you, it needs to be safe for generations and hidden openings to chimneys are a major source of problems. Your fireplace probably has an opening where you (or someone) can dump the ashes down to that cleanout. It needs to remain accessible and safely spaced from wood and such. If you need an official opinion, that would come from your local fire inspector, or insurance agent.

Bud
 
  #4  
Old 02-05-14, 12:01 PM
G
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,634
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I'll seal the door & fill the access full of sand if there's really some concern that a fire can start in a cement cavity below the firebox.
Right now there's a tiny steel flipper door in the firebox floor that leads to the outside door--but the flipper is so small it's useless for cleaning out the ashes & chunks. Maybe there's better versions than what I have.
So how is it supposed to work? I can't scoop anything from outside and shoving a vac hose up there will only suck in the small area right in front of the flipper.
 
  #5  
Old 02-05-14, 04:02 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
Remove BOTH the outside door AND the fireplace door. Brick in the outside, fill the area with inert material and brick over the opening in the fireplace floor.
 
  #6  
Old 02-06-14, 06:33 AM
G
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,634
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
That's about what I was thinking--replace some of the base firebricks to eliminate the little door.

But just so I know what I might be missing if I do...
So how is it supposed to work? I can't scoop anything from outside and shoving a vac hose up there will only suck in the small area right in front of the flipper.
 
  #7  
Old 02-07-14, 01:27 AM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
So how is it supposed to work?
Well, theoretically you are supposed to use the little broom that often comes with a set of fireplace tools and sweep the ashes down the hatch. Of course if you end up with larger chunks of charcoal instead of pure ash you can't sweep those down as they will clog the passageway, as will the heat-treated nails that come from burning scrap wood.

Honestly, the clean-out doors in fireplaces are more of a pain in the rear than of any actual use so removing it is not a loss. The one thing that you MIGHT be able to do is to convert it to an outside air entrance for more efficiency when using the fireplace. You would probably need some means to prevent hot coals/embers from falling through and a grate on the outside instead of the door. Maybe asking the right person at a fireplace shop would give you some ideas.
 
  #8  
Old 02-07-14, 08:36 AM
G
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,634
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Glad to hear it's as useless as I have found it to be--so I'm not "doing it wrong".

This fireplace already has a fresh air intake (small white grill in picture, post #1). Fortunately it's higher than the cleanout so I should be able to keep that from being covered over when the floor is poured.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: