Maintaining your fireplace is easier said than done. There are often a few steps that need to be done before and after starting a fire that are essential to avoid any potential fire hazards and ensure the safe and efficient operation of your fireplace. This includes annual inspections by a certified chimney sweep, cleaning the chimney and fireplace, and checking for any signs of damage or wear.
It is also important to regularly remove any ash and debris from the fireplace to prevent build-up and minimize fire risk. To maintain the appearance of your fireplace, you can periodically clean the hearth and surrounding areas. You can also add a fireproof hearth rug for extra protection around the fireplace.
Fireplace ash is the residue left after burning wood in a fireplace or wood stove. Cleaning up fireplace ash is one thing, but what can you do with ash after clean-up?
While it may seem like a nuisance, fireplace ash has several practical uses. We’ll walk through three easy uses for fireplace ash that are environmentally-friendly solutions for creating a closed-loop lifecycle.
How to Store Fireplace Ash
It is crucial to store ash properly to prevent any potential fire hazards. One of the best ways to store fire ash is in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. This prevents it from sparking and starting a fire. Keep it away from flammable materials and store it in a well-ventilated area.
Some people store their fireplace ash in their garage or storage shed area, on a shelf, or in a bin. In addition, ash should not be disposed of in large quantities in a single area, as this can affect the soil’s pH balance and end up doing more harm to plants than good. Make sure to follow local regulations and guidelines for ash disposal.
If you are unsure how to dispose of the ash in your fire pit, it’s best to consult a professional or seek advice from your local fire department or waste management authorities.
How to Safely Remove Fireplace Ash
To safely remove ashes piled up in your fireplace or outdoor fire pit, the first thing to do is wait until it’s safe to clean the fireplace. Even after the fire has gone out, ashes can retain heat for several days. Ensure the ashes are completely cool and collect them in an air-tight metal container.
Use gloves and a shovel to handle the ashes and avoid skin contact. If your fireplace is especially dirty, wear a face mask to avoid breathing in fumes.
After gathering all the ashes and storing them in the metal container, place the container in cold water to cool. Leave the sealed container outside for a few days.
Be careful when reopening and closing the container, paying attention to your surroundings. Grass, leaves, and twigs could all be fuel for ashes to scatter on, and you want to avoid any fire hazards in and around your home.
If you intend on using your fireplace or outdoor fire pit again soon, leave some ash in the fireplace. Since ash retains heat, it acts as a firestarter for the next time you ignite a fire. Don’t leave more than an inch of ash in the fireplace, as any more can leave it clogged up.
What to Do with Fireplace Ash
If you’re wondering what to do with fireplace ash, don’t throw it away in the garbage. Instead, some simple, practical solutions can reuse ash and repurpose it. Something that you may clean up and think to throw in the trash can be used for other purposes, like garden fertilizer, a de-icer, or a barbecue base.
1. Use as Garden Fertilizer or Compost
Fireplace ash can be used as a natural fertilizer for gardens, as it is rich in nutrients such as potassium and phosphorus. Add ash to your compost heap or fertilizer, but be careful not to overdo it.
2. Use Wood Ash as a De-Icer In the Winter
If you’re all out of road salt, use some of your old fireplace ashes. Ash can be spread on icy sidewalks and driveways to provide traction and melt the ice, making it a convenient winter tool.
3. Barbecue Base
Fireplace ash can be used in barbecues as a base for cooking coals, helping to regulate the heat and produce more flavorful food. However, it is essential to remember that ash can contain harmful chemicals and should always be handled carefully and disposed of properly.
How to Safely Dispose of Fireplace Ash
If you cannot repurpose fireplace ash and have no choice but to dispose of it, there are safe ways to dispose of ashes.
Following backyard fire pit safety is imperative for maintaining your outdoor space. Coal ash usually cannot be repurposed like wood ash, so coal ash should always be disposed of safely. To do this, wait until the ash has cooled to throw it away. Collect the coal ash in a metal container or bucket, and dispose of it appropriately. Your local waste management facility will have instructions on how to dispose of coal ash.
Ash from your fireplace or outdoor wood fire pit may be easy to forget, but it is necessary for proper fireplace maintenance. What’s more, if you regularly clean ash from your wood stove, your food will improve in taste.
Fireplace, wood burning stove, or fire pit ash can be repurposed in a clean and environmentally-friendly way. Regular maintenance will not only improve the performance and safety of your fireplace, but it will also extend its lifespan, saving you time and money in the long run. Plus, you and your family will enjoy the amazing fireplace features in your home.