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I recently had my fireplace inspected and started using it again.

I went to clean the ash out and noted I had an ash dump door. This door appears to be stuck. I expect to be able to open it from the inside and just shovel the ashes down into the cleanout.

How do I correctly open the ash dump door? Just lever it open with a poker?

If the door is stuck how do I safely unstick it? OK to use normal techniques as long as I clean up well and let any flammable solvents evaporate before the next fire?

I am somewhat annoyed that the inspection didn't catch this, but thats another question.

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Solved my own problem.

To unstick the ash door from the inside:

  1. Sweep the loose ash off of the door and away from all the edges and hinges
  2. Wire brush around the edges of the door
  3. Sprayed a rust spray (PB Blaster brand) around the edges
  4. Let soak for 15 minutes
  5. Operate door using the poker several times
  6. Tidy up inside
  7. Clean out the ash dump BEFORE the next fire. A solvent puddle could be dangerous.

I did all the opening and closing of the door using a poker. This is the tool that should be used when the ash door is opened normally. Using something more aggressive like a pry bar may have simply bent the door.

The exterior access will be a weekend project. Previous owner painted it shut.

I am following up with my chimney inspector. I feel he did an adequate inspection of the chimney but for my money I would have preferred he checked EVERYTHING. Ash dumps can sometimes hold debris or varmints.

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