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Old Smokey's Fireplace & Chimney's Blog

Hassle Free Chimney Services (appointment tips)

Scheduling a time to have your chimney inspected or repaired is  nerve racking. First, you need to figure out a time of day when both you and your chimney sweep are available, and then you need to make sure your home & fireplace is ready when your chimney sweep arrives. However, at Old Smokey’s, we can ease the frustration that goes along with making a chimney service appointment by giving you a few tips.

Setting a Time

schedule your appointment soon!If you need to schedule chimney maintenance or repairs, the best time to schedule an appointment is in late spring, summer, and early fall. This is because these times of the year are by far the slowest for a chimney sweep, meaning you will most likely get your desired time for an appointment. During the fall as the weather gets colder, people start to fire up their fireplaces and chimneys. This means that our schedule starts to fill up quickly, and we might not be able to work you into our schedule.

Getting Ready for the Appointment

First, we ask that you remove any fragile or breakable items from the fireplace mantle and surrounding areas. We also ask you to remove all valuables far from the fireplace. Although we try hard to be cautious when moving around your fireplace, it makes our jobs a lot easier if we bring our equipment in and set up without fear of harming your belongings.

Generally, we like to have about 6 feet to work around your fireplace. This gives us plenty of room to set our tools out and lay down the protective clothes that we set out to keep your floor clean. Second, any wood or coal appliance needs to have cooled for at least 24 hours prior to our arrival time. If your fireplace is still hot when we get there, we will not be able to work and you will need to reschedule.

When we work on your chimney, feel free to watch us work and ask questions if would you like. We would be happy to help you understand how your chimney works and what we are doing to make it operate more smoothly.

Who Should I Call?

You should always use a chimney sweep that is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). A CSIA certified chimney sweep has been through safety and chimney maintenance and repair training courses, and they have been periodically tested on safety and chimney maintenance techniques. A CSIA certification signifies that a chimney sweep has put in the time and effort to be the best chimney sweep they can be, especially when it relates to your safety. At Old Smokey’s, we require all of our chimney sweeps to remain CSIA certified at all times.

We make scheduling easy! Simply call Old Smokey’s at 260-424-0009 or make an appointment online.

The Many Uses of Fireplace Ash

Do you clean out your fireplace periodically? If you do, you’ve probably noticed that you have a lot of wood ash that you need to dispose of. However, before you decide to just throw your ash out with the garbage, did you know that there are many useful ways you can use your fireplace ash around the home and garden? At Old Smokey’s, we love to be resourceful and we want to share with you some of the neat things that we like to do with our fireplace ash.


Ash can be messy, so you would never think that ash could be used for cleaning, right? However, if used in the correct way, wood ash has a variety of household cleaning uses. In fact, some of the first soaps made about 5000 years ago were made from ash! You can make your own soap by extracting lye from wood ash and mixing it with animal or vegetable fats and letting it dry. You can learn how to make your own soap here.

Wood ash is also a mild abrasive used to polish silver, metal, or glass. Just add a little water to some ash to form a thick paste and let it set a few minutes. You will then have a polish you can use to clean your silverware, windows, and other metal items.

A few other cleaning uses of ash include using it as a deodorizer or as a driveway stain remover. To deodorize your refrigerator or a smelly room, just set out a small bowl of wood ash and it will absorb odors. If you have oil stains on you cement, just sprinkle some wood ash on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes and sweep up.

Lawn and Garden

Another popular use of fireplace ash is for lawn and garden applications. Firewood ash contains large amounts of calcium carbonate, meaning that it has a high pH. Working firewood ash into garden beds neutralizes acidic soil. Ash should be spread at about 25 pounds per 1,000 square feet of soil. You can also use it on your lawn by sprinkling it on your grass right before watering. While this is great for most plants, some plants like blueberries, peppers, and azaleas prefer acidic soil, so don’t use it where you are growing these types of plants.

You can also use wood ash as a calcium and phosphorus amendment to the soil surrounding plants that are deficient in these nutrients. You can either sprinkle small amounts of ash around your plants, or you can fill a 50-gallon barrel with water and put five pounds of ash wrapped in a pillowcase (or something similar) in the barrel. Let this steep for several days and you will have a wonderful nutrient-rich tea for your plants. Just pour a cup around the base of the plant once a week.

We love being resourceful at Old Smokey’s and think it’s wonderful when we can reduce waste. Remember that you should only use wood ash from untreated firewood. Although all types of wood ash are beneficial, in general, hardwoods offer more nutrients for garden use. If you want to know more about fireplace ash, or are in need of a spring cleaning, call Old Smokey’s at 260-424-0009, or schedule an appointment online.

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