Do you ever give the mantelpiece above your fireplace much thought? Itâ€™s the ideal area for creating a decorative space in your home and express your taste. However, how exactly should you decorate it? As fireplace experts, Quadra-Fire has a few innovative ideas on how to bring this space above your wood burning fireplace to life.
A wood fireplace is an asset in any home, providing warmth and comfort, and bringing people together. To make sure it’s always in perfect working order, a wood fireplace needs to be looked after carefully and regularly maintained. Here are five ways you can extend the life of your wood fireplace so that it serves you and your family well for many years to come.
Picture the scene. An icy wind is blowing outside, and the rain is forcing the temperature down into single figures. Inside, the family is settling in for the evening; you’ve found the perfect Netflix movie to watch and the popcorn and hot chocolate smell incredible. It should be the perfect winter evening, but you haven’t stacked the fire correctly, and it isn’t heating up the room!
If you’re in the process or are about to course wood for your fireplace, you should first become familiar with some of the info in the Forests Act 1958 and the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978, which set down the rules and regulations for the collection of firewood for residential use.
Residents of Victoria are no longer obligated to have permits in order to collect firewood from designated areas in state forests and parks, however if you do intend on collecting firewood, certain rules do apply. Use this handy reference guide to collecting firewood this winter:
- Designated collection areas
Firewood can only be collected from designated areas and during firewood season Autumn (1 March to 30 June) and Spring (1 September to 30 November). Designated areas are clearly identifiable by markings provided on the ground.
- Safety precautions
It is important to implement safety precautions when collecting firewood such as wearing appropriate clothing and using wood-collecting equipment appropriately. Ideally, you should be trained in how to use them properly. Chainsaws that have appropriate exhaust and spark arresters fitted can be used. You should also be aware of hazards like dead standing trees, uneven ground conditions and snakes and stinging insects.
- Limited quantity of firewood applies
The maximum limit of firewood allowed is 2m3Â per person daily and 16m3Â per household for a financial year.
- Green wood collected in state forests
You should be aware that wood collected from state forests is wet wood, which means that it would have to be dried or seasoned for at least 12 months before it can be used as a safe fuel source.
- Collect only felled trees
The Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning in Victoria makes provision for only felled or fallen trees to be collected.
- Vehicle rules applicable
Vehicles up to 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM) including the trailer can be used in the specified firewood collection areas. No heavy machinery such as bulldozers, cranes or tractors are allowed. Vehicles should stay on formed roads and not veer off tracks.
Lower your home’s heating costs even further by collecting free firewood from state forest designated areas. You need to do this a year in advance as forest wood has to be fully dried out before placing in your wood heater.
Wood fire ash from your wood fire inserts or freestanding stoves is often thrown away by most Australians but if only you knew what power the ash holds, you’d start to treasure the remains of your fire.
Here is a list of the unbelievable benefits of wood ash:
- Greener Grass
You wood fire ash contains elements essential for the healthy growth of seeds, plants and grass. The ash contains calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Also, since ash is alkaline, it will raise or lower the pH levels in your soil, which will help enrich the soil to support healthy plant and grass growth. Calcium loving plants, such as tomatoes, can benefit from the use of ash in the soil. Simply place 1/4 cup of ash in the hole when planting for an added boost.
- No More Pests
A safe, completely natural pest-repellent comes directly from your fireplace. Snails and slugs love to eat away at gardens and vegetable patches, but avoid ash. If you are growing a vegetable patch, laying this on the ground will help prevent pest attacks. You can even mix ash and water, and spray it over the plants.
- Home Cleaner
Ash has a natural abrasive feature to remove dirt from surfaces including frying pans and stainless steel. Your oven’s glass can be cleaned by wetting a piece of newspaper and daubing it in ash. Gently scrub the glass and see the grime lift away!
- Odour Control
The properties in ash have a neutralising action similar to baking soda. Its alkalinity can neutralise odours caused by acidic chemical reactions. Often, there are potent odours found in refrigerators, which can be overcome by placing a small bowl of ash at the back, and changing it every few days.
- Miscellaneous uses
Ash contains sodium, which means it can act like a salt to melt ice. Simply spread ash over iced spots on your driveway or veranda or car windscreens. It also acts as a non-toxic metal polisher. Simply make a paste with ash and water to shine metals like silver.
With these benefits, youâ€™ll know just how much use you can get out of your leftover ash. Now that your use of your fireplace is coming to an end with the warmer months on the way, think of the leftover ash as a great resource to complete many tasks.
Related Tag:Â Wood Fire Melbourne
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