Use and Disposal of Fireplace Ash

A common inquiry for those with a fireplace is what should be done with the ashes? If they are not properly disposed of it will not only be damaging to your fireplace, but can also be a safety hazard. Depending on the nature of your fire (what was burned, for how long, etc.), ash has the potential to stay hot for days, which could lead to fires occurring wherever the ash was disposed.

Leaving Ash in the Fireplace

While leaving some ash in the fireplace is often beneficial in building new fires, this should only be done in regulated quantities. A small layer of ash will cause no major issues throughout the burning season and helps maintain the longevity of the new fire that was built. Yet, a build-up of ash will be harmful. If the ash is high enough that it makes contact with the grate, the grate will suffer and need to be replaced earlier than usual. Also, once you have reached the end of your burning season, all of the ash should be cleaned out, as moisture is attracted to ash and is known for causing major damage to one’s fireplace and brickwork. Despite the type of fireplace you have, the acid in the ashes combined with this added moisture will always have damaging effects.

Disposing of AshAsh Disposal Pozzi Chimney Sweep Aurora IL

When the time comes to dispose of the ash, it is recommended to wait until the ash is completely cooled, which may take days. Once the ash is cooled, use a metal container to transport it out of the fireplace. The use of metal is important, as is keeping this container away from any flammable objects. Wetting down the ashes is another safe tip for reducing potential fires.

Other Uses of Ash

  1. Gardening – By placing ash in the garden, many plants can be given more opportunity to thrive. If adding compost to the soil, putting limited amounts of ash into it beforehand is known to enrich it. Also, for plants that are known for soaking up calcium, some recommend adding a quarter of a cup of ash to each plant while putting them into the ground in hopes of keeping them healthier.
  2.  Outside Uses – If you have a pond near your garden, ash will help aquatic plants grow stronger, thus fighting off unwanted algae. Also, placing ash around your gardens and outside plants will help to repel snails and slugs, which are known for causing harm to many plants.
  3.  Cleaning – If your fireplace doors are dirty and building up residue, ash works as a great cleaner. By dampening a sponge, adding ash, and scrubbing away, you are given an easy and affordable cleaning technique. Ash can also be used in making soap. Lye is often combined with animal fat then boiled into soap. Lye can be created by soaking old ashes with water, offering the groundwork for homemade cleaning products.

There are many techniques and uses involved when disposing of ash, but the main thing to remember is to be safe when going through these processes. By following proper procedures and finding out-of-the-box uses for ash, you can enjoy your fireplace to its fullest, while maintaining other areas of your home, as well.