Fall temperatures have set in and you've fired up your wood burning stove or fireplace to warm up your house. The wood you burn to keep warm continues to be beneficial even after it has been burnt because the ashes have many different uses.

Humans have been using fire to heat and cook for millions of years and according to census.gov about 1.9% of Americans still use wood as their source for heating their homes. More than half of the new homes in the country have at least one fireplace, which is interesting since in the old days if you didn't have wood burning capabilities you were going to freeze.

Solely relying on wood burning for heat is a lot of work.

  • The first step is making sure you have access to firewood. Not everyone has a forest in their backyard to harvest from, so finding the wood can be a chore sometimes.
  • Next you have to make sure to keep producing heat, you have to keep the fire burning. Figuring out the perfect amount of wood to have in the stove to keep your stove heating is trial and error.
  • Then you have to make sure to keep ash in your stove/fireplace cleaned out, but not cleaning it out too much because you need some ash to help start a fire and maintain it while burning. Confusing, right?
  • Once you clean out a large amount of ash, you have to find the proper place to dispose of the ash so it doesn't make a big mess. Thanks to American-Outdoors.net we now have 10 smart ideas of how to keep the ash working for you.

1. Use it as week killer - Ash changes the PH level of the soil and if used in the proper locations, can stop anything from growing there.

2. Natural De-Icer - instead of spreading salt on slippery walkways, you can use ash that contains potassium salts and will melt the ice. (it is messy, but effective)

3. Keep ants & Slugs away from your plants

4. Composting - adding a layer of ash will help in the breaking down the material faster

5. Supplementing your soil - wood ash can enhance the PH levels of your soil to help your plants grow.

For the remaining five uses, check out this video from American-Outdoors.net. If you've been thinking about adding wood heat to your house, we have included a video from Jill Winger - Old Fashioned on Purpose

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