With spring and warm weather upon us, many homeowners are shutting down their fireplaces until fall and cooler temperatures come back around. If you’re among them, you can’t wait to get out and start enjoying the sunshine! Just make sure your fireplace is properly cleaned out before you kickstart any of your plans!
While you may have been leaving a small pile of ash behind all winter to help you build fires, ash should never be left on the fireplace floor during periods of disuse. This could draw moisture and lead to corrosion, water damage, and rust, all of which will lower your chimney’s lifespan significantly. The good new is, this leftover ash can be used for plenty of things you encounter in your day-to-day life!
Before using your fireplace ash for anything, it’s important that you give it time to properly cool off. Embers can stay alive in ash for days, so improper removal and storage can lead to injuries or fire. To begin, use a metal scoop to remove the ash from the fireplace, then place it in a metal container with a slightly raised bottom, a handle for carrying, and a secure lid. Once you have your ash cleared out, place the bucket on a non-flammable surface, such as concrete, brick, or cement.
The ash should be kept in the sealed bucket for a few days (at least) to ensure every possible ember or spark has been extinguished. Once the waiting period is up, you’re free to put your ash to good use around the house!
Wood ash is great to use in your garden! It enriches the soil and helps a wide range of flowers, vegetables, and fruits grow better and stronger. Just be sure to do your research first! Acid-loving plants, like blueberries and peppers, will not benefit from the addition of wood ash and should not be exposed to it. Tomatoes on the other hand – along with carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and plenty more – will love the extra calcium!
You could also throw it in your compost pile for later use in the garden, or sprinkle it around the edges of your plot to repel snails and slugs. The slimy creatures find it less than appealing! Just be sure to reapply it after every rainfall.
If you have anything made of silver, metal, or glass, add a bit of water to your ash to form a paste, then apply it to the object. Let it sit for a bit, then scrub it down. You’ll be amazed at how well it shines afterwards! You could also leave a bowl of it in the fridge or in stinky areas of the home to help reduce odors.
Have an unsightly oil stain in your driveway? Use ash to remove that, too, as well as sprinkle some on ice patches in the wintertime to increase traction and lower your risk of falls.
Many choose to wait until fall for their annual inspection, but why not knock it out right now? Come fall, you’ll be all set and ready to go, and we can tackle any chimney repairs, waterproofing needs, and sweepings before the busy season kicks off. Give the team at A-1 Chimney Specialist a call today. We’ll set you up right!