Company Blog


For each cord of wood you burn, you’ll create about 50 lbs. (5 gallons) of ash. It is essential that you have a safe and reliable means of storing and disposing of the ashes you’ll create.

ash storage canEmbers can re-ignite for days after a wood fire has long been burned. Ash is one of nature’s greatest insulators; Native Americans used ash inside of animal skin pouches to transport hot embers from one location to another to easily start a new fire.  

Ashes from your fireplace, wood stove or outdoor fire pit should only be emptied and stored in a metal container with a tight fitting lid and an insulated bottom, then placed on a non-combustible surface. If the ashes must be stored for any time, make sure that container is a safe distance – at least 10 feet away – from nearby combustibles including the walls of your home; never store ashes on your deck or in your garage.  If you’re scattering or dumping them outdoors, then make sure it’s not a windy day and that you wet them first.


Gardeners and homesteaders actually save their ashes for many practical uses.

  • NATURAL ICE MELT – just sprinkle ashes over your walkway or driveway like you would salt and let the natural minerals in wood ash melt the ice for you.
  • GLASS CLEANER – a chimney sweep’s trick to cleaning the glass on your wood stove door is to dip a wet paper towel in the firewoodashes; they’re mildly abrasive and great at removing that burnt-on gunk. Then use a second wet paper towel to remove the streaks, and throw the paper towels into the stove when you’re done! You’ll also find this trick handy for cleaning cloudy headlights on your car.
  • SILVER POLISH – wood ash on a wet rag is the old timers’ trick for cleaning silver, too.
  • MOISTURE RINGS ON WOOD can be repaired with a wood ash paste. Wipe on, let it sit a few minutes, then wipe off
  • ODOR ABSORBER & DESSICANT- wood ash, like baking soda, can help absorb odors. Put some ashes in an open jar (and this works even better if there are some bits of charcoal in it) then set the jar in your fridge, basement, etc. The ashes will not only fight odors, but mold as well.
  • NATURAL FLEA AND SKIN PARASITE TREATMENT FOR PETS – Back before there were all sorts of chemical treatments for dogs and cats, wood ash was rubbed into their coats, working much like diatomaceous earth is used today. 
  • CHICKENS – Wood ash is still used by many chicken keepers for dust bathing spots and to cut down on odors in chicken coops. Wood ash can be added to chicken feed (1:100 ratio) to increase uptake of calcium and potassium. This helps control internal parasites, increase egg production and reduce chicken manure odors. It also works like grit to aid their digestion.
  • SKUNK ODORS can also be cleaned from your pet by using wood ash rubbed into their coats. Leave the pet outside a few hours then bathe thoroughly.
  • GARDENING is where wood ash is put to best use! 

* Add layers of wood ash in your compost bin to reduce odors and lighten up your compost consistency. It also helps repellayers of wood ash critters that may dig through your compost for a free snack.

* Wood ash is high in potassium (the “K” number in fertilizer). Have a soil test done; if it lacks potassium then add some wood ash. 

* Use in place of lime, but in double the quantity

* Wood ash is also high in calcium, making it an effective amendment for tomatoes, roses, lilacs and clematis. If your tomatoes tend to suffer from blossom end rot, try adding 1/4 cup of wood ash in the hole before planting

* Sprinkle wood ash on the perimeter of your garden to help deter snails and slugs. Reapply after it rains.

* Add 1 tablespoon per 1000 gallons of water to control algae in fish ponds

* Do not use on acid loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, blueberries, strawberries, apples, basil, carrots, corn and cucumbers

*Always wear gloves when handling wood ash to protect your skin.

Now that you know there are so many uses for your wood ash, just let us know if you want us to save them for you when we clean out your chimney and fireplace so you can put them to good use all around your home!


You are cleaning out the fireplace after a long winter of burning fires in your fireplace.  You see that the mortar is loose or cracked and the back wall of the fireplace looks deteriorated.   The firebox, where you build your fires, is the part of your chimney system that gets the most use. However, it probably gets little attention except to remove ashes and sweep it out occasionally.  

Did you know that that dirty fireplace is probably one of the most important things about your fireplace system that keeps your house from burning down?  Think about it. How safe is it really to build a fire smack dab in the middle of a pile of sticks (2 x 4’s). That firebox keeps the fire you build in the middle of the house securely in its place.  If it fails, the result can be disastrous. 

The Design…

Design has a lot to do with many firebox problems.  If a firebox is built with inferior or incorrect materials or even shaped incorrectly, it won’t be able to perform its intended purpose.  

  • It may not keep the fire securely;
  • It may not vent the smoke efficiently;
  • It may not radiate heat into the room;
  • It may transfer too much heat to nearby combustible building materials.

When built correctly, the firebox should prevent heat transfer to the building materials, draft the exhaust up and out of the chimney, and radiate heat into your living area.

What to expect…

Over time, even if built properly, the firebox will deteriorate.  The brick can weaken or loosen with repeated heating and cooling, or if overfired on a regular basis.  If the chimney experiences a lot of water intrusion, water can weaken the refractory mortar between the firebrick.   Firebox damage can be minimized when you schedule annual chimney inspections.  During inspections, your technician will document any deterioration and monitor it annually.   Regular maintenance can interrupt serious issues and help you get as many years as possible from your fireplace before a rebuild will be necessary.

Schedule Spring Services Now…

If your fireplace’s time has come, Spring is a great time to have your firebox rebuilt.   Consider it an investment in the future and securing the value of your home. Rebuilding a deteriorated or badly designed firebox will keep your chimney system working efficiently, help to keep your family safe, and ensure many warm fuzzy winter evenings with loved ones.  

Spring scheduling will also allow you plenty of time if you’d like a fireplace upgrade.  Perhaps you’ve been considering completely new, efficient (heat producing) fireplace design.  Do it now and still be ready for next burning season. Schedule in Spring to avoid the Fall crunch, allow time for the rebuild, an inspection, and any necessary repairs to the rest of your system.

We are experienced.  At Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth, our lead masons have over 30 years of experience.  Not only are we determined to give you a finished product you’ll love, but we are determined to work to a standard that would make our Granddaddies proud.  

Call Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth today to have your fireplace system inspected and readied for next year’s cozy hearth experiences.