Burning wood means making ash. Even if you keep your hearth area clean, there is still the matter of cleaning the firebox itself–removing the ash!
Make a Schedule
Instead of stirring up a large amount of ashes when they accumulate, you can instead make a schedule. Clear out the ashes regularly, on Sundays, or every time the fire goes completely out. Remove them before they cover your coals. Once the ashes reach this height, they can prevent oxygen from reach your hot coals. This keeps your fire from burning hot, and can even lead to overcrowding in the firebox. If the firebox is too crowded, you may see logs and coals falling out of the hearth, which is dangerous.
Make it Safe
You can purchase a fire accessory tool kit at a local home improvement store that includes a long-handled shovel, poker, and small broom. The long, durable handles allow for safe ash removal and fire stirring while staying a safe distance from the heat. Make sure you wait until the fire has gone completely out before you remove the ashes. Don’t wear loose sleeves or leave hair loose. If you have respiratory issues, you can wear a face mask to protect your mouth and nose. Finally, you need a metal bucket with a handle to hold and carry your ashes safely.
What in the World to do With Ashes
Ashes change the pH level of soil, so it can be used for gardening. In fact, there are many uses for ashes.
Use ashes to change your topsoil. You may find that ashes can perfect your soil for the summer garden. You can also sprinkle ashes on the edges of your garden and between rows to deter certain garden bugs and slugs.
You can use ashes to polish and clean many household items. Add a bit of water and polish silver and doorknobs. You can also use it to clean ovens, sinks, cookware, and more.
Ashes will not melt ice unless hot, but keeping some around to sprinkle onto driveways and sidewalks will provide a safe and gritty barrier to walk on.
–Odor Control and Cleanup
Ashes will neutralize odors. If your pet is skunked or has a foul odor, dust some ashes into his fur. If you spill gasoline or oil in the garage, cover it with some ashes, and clean it up later with a broom and dustpan. Ashes can even neutralize the stink of your kitchen trashcan.
If you have an ash dump, and it hasn’t been checked or cleaned in awhile, call Chesapeake Chimney at 410-535-0052.