A fireplace and a seasoned supply of wood can lead to a great year! Wood fires are the favorite among homeowners, and there isn’t a lot to go wrong with your dream fireplace. However, a couple things about wood can get under your skin-and everywhere else in your house!
The most frustrating part of using a wood-burning fireplace, insert, or stove (other than the wood itself) is the ash it produces! In one burning season, a family that burns three cords of firewood can end up with 150 pounds of ash. Aside from using it like the pioneers to make lye for soap making, it might seem like there’s not much use for so much ash.
Uses for Your Ashes
1. Enrich your compost through the summer by adding ashes to the mix. You need a good balance, however, so don’t overdo the ash.
2. Sprinkle around the foundation of your house and around the garden every two to three weeks to repel moisture-loving pests like slugs and snails.
3. Keep a bucket of ash next to the sidewalk or on the porch to toss down on icy or snowy walkways. Make sure your bucket or container has an airtight lid. Ash can be difficult to deal with if it gets moist.
4. Mix ash with a little water to make a cleaning solution for your flatware, doorknobs, and even that blackened glass on your fireplace or stove.
5. Rub a small amount into your pet’s coat in order to neutralize pungent odors like those from skunk or sewage that lingers even after a bath.
6. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of ashes directly into the hole as you’re planting tomatoes and other calcium-loving plants.
7. Use 1 tablespoon for every 1,000 gallons of pond water to control pond algae without chemicals.
8. Keep a bucket of ash in the garage or workshop to absorb oil spills in the driveway or other pavement. Drop a small amount onto the spill and let sit, or scuff with your shoe.
9. Sprinkle your grass with wood ash, followed by a thorough watering for plush, green grass.
10. Bank a fire for the night by covering hot coals with ashes.
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Furthermore, you want to make sure you leave at least 1/4 of an inch to insulate your coals or the bottom of your wood stove. This makes it easier to relight the fire and banking a fire using coals is the way homeowners kept their coals alive night after night.
You can avoid an excessive amount of ash production by burning only properly seasoned wood in your fireplace. Burning other items, trash, or clothing can cause excessive ashes as well as creosote and soot coating your chimney system.
Finally, to always stay safe handling wood ash, read CSIA’s safety tips. For any other fireplace questions or concerns, call West Texas Chimney and Venting Solutions today at (806) 358-0817.