Removing ashes from your stove or fireplace is an important routine maintenance task that is necessary to keep your heating appliance working properly. If you use your fireplace or stove on a daily basis during the winter, you should dispose of ashes once a week. You never want the ashes to get so deep that they come into contact with the grate because this can reduce the life of your grate. Too many ashes in the firebox also reduces how much firewood you can use. When you do remove ashes, you want to take care with this task as hot embers can be lurking within, even when you wait the recommended 24 hours after a fire has been extinguish to remove them. The safest way to remove ashes is to scoop them out with a metal ash shovel, place them in a metal container with a lid, and store them outside on a non-combustible surface. Once the ashes have been contained in the lidded container for three days, you can either throw the ashes away or use them in a practical way. Our staff at Winston’s Chimney Service is often asked how fireplace or stove ashes can be used after they have been removed from the firebox. We would like to share with you a few practical uses for these ashes.
If you are a gardener, fireplace or stove ashes can be very beneficial to you and your garden. When you evenly spread ashes around garden beds, slugs and snails will be repelled from invading your plants. These ashes are also great for enriching soil when you add them to your compost pile. Ashes enhance nutrients in soil, but be careful not to add too many as that can ruin the mix, according to This Old House. And, if you grow tomatoes, placing a fourth of a cup of ashes in the hole before planting them will help them grow.
Dipping a damp sponge in a bowl of ashes helps you scrub off residue from soot on glass fireplace doors. Combining ashes with water to make a paste is a great recipe for polishing silver. Ashes can also help out with cleaning your pets if they come into contact with a skunk. You can neutralize that odor by rubbing a handful of ashes into the coat of your animal. If you have a pond, you can control algae by adding one tablespoon of ashes per 1,000 gallons of water to increase the potassium level that strengthens other aquatic plants that slow the growth of algae. Finally, you can even make soap with ashes! Lye is created when you soak ashes in water. You can mix that lye with animal fat and then boil the mixture to create soap. As the mixture cools down, sprinkle in some salt to help it harden and shape it into a bar of soap.
If you need more tips on maintaining your fireplace or stove, contact us at Winston’s Chimney Service. We are proud to help you use your heating appliance as safely, efficiently, and practically as possible.