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1st chimney cleaning

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Researcher1, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Researcher1

    Researcher1 Member

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    So I did my first chimney cleaning after burning for 3+ months last year and about a month this year. Here is what I have and what I discovered. There is 23 feet of stainless steel chimney on the outside of the house and about 3 feet of double walled pipe from the stove to the chimney. When I took off the bottom and shined a flashlight up the chimney I thought "oh no" as I saw black shiny material the entire length of the chimney. I did a bottom up cleaning from the outside through the plug using a 6 inch poly brush and the flexible rods and then took off the inside double wall pipe and cleaned it in the yard. I wish I would've put some newspaper down to catch the material but i didn't think about it. After running the brush up and down the chimney twice I looked at what came out and want some opinions. I probably had enough to fill a 12 ounce cup (maybe less) so not anywhere near came out what looked like was in the chimney. What I did have was small and granular but definitely black and shiny when hit with the flashlight. In the double wall pipe from the stove to the chimney was black powder so that looked ok to me. Last year the wood burned was seasoned between 2 and 3 years. This year the wood burned was about a year seasoned up to this point. The chimney didn't have much material left inside it at the end. Opinions.

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  2. jwoair23

    jwoair23 Burning Hunk

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    I think after 4 months of burning a 12 ounce cup isn't too bad. Your wood sounds like it is seasoned long enough (unless the one year stuff was oak?). I hear a lot of people (including my grandfather) saying that they never ever get any creosote, and I believe them, but I don't think all stoves/chimney's work that way. I think you are well within the confines of "normal", and since you are able to sweep it yourself you can do it as often as your peace of mind dictates.

    It only takes me about 15 minutes from the time I go outside to the time I'm done sweeping my chimney, so I usually do it 3-4 times a year. My stove does not burn very cleanly (different topic), so I do it often to ensure I have no problems.

    Also, nice to see another member from Pittsburgh here! :)
  3. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    Hi Reasearcher. FWIW I have under 20' straight up and last year burned mostly weekends and off time (vacation, etc) from late Sept thru to June with 1 or 2 exceptions where the weather turned warmer. I cleaned once at the end of the season and got @ 1 plastic cup full of similar stuff. I could reach down the pipe and almost put a shine back on the stainless last time i had the cap off, so I think I did ok. No signs of runny, drippy, greasy anything that I could see which I believe would be more of a concern but others may have more to say about that....
  4. Researcher1

    Researcher1 Member

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    Ya this is the first time I have cleaned a stainless steel chimney and I haven't cleaned any chimney since I was younger with my dad's chimney so I didn't know exactly what to expect. I feel better now that I saw what came out after what I perceived it looked like. Everything was dry but still shiny but nothing wet, greasy and a lot less that what it looked like when I looked up the chimney.
  5. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    Yeah I recall looking down the pipe and thinking man, there's a lot of crap in there. Then sweeping it down and finding hardy anything. I think there might be some threads here somewhere with some examples of really bad chimneys? My memory is fuzzy -maybe others can sanity check? Sometimes a classic example of what you don't want to see helps put things in perspective. I think once I get to 24/7 burning I'll be cleaning mid-season for my peace of mind but so far I'm pretty happy with the once-a-year sweep.
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The question is "Is there still black shiny stuff in the pipe?" that the brush couldn't get out.
  7. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    One might expect black shiny stuff on the cap, and top few feet of the pipe, if that was top to bottom, regardless of the amount, you need to consider what about your burning practice was causing it, especially since it sounds like you had decently seasoned fuel.

    pen
  8. Researcher1

    Researcher1 Member

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    The pipe is clean and honestly not much came out, at least not what I would call a lot. I understand none is the best choice but I am not sure how to go about that. Something I don't understand is does the class A pipe contribute to creosote because when I am burning hot 600 F plus in the stove only the first 4-6 feet of the chimney is warm to the touch on the outside. The only time the stove top really gets below even 300F is overnight when the fire dies down towards the morning. thanks for the replies. I will try to get a picture of what came out tomorrow.
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Sounds like you are doing fine.
  10. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    No expert at all - just a careful burner of wood and strong belief that a few views and brush runs on nice days throughout the season is good for my piece of mind. At least until I get a handle on how this new stove eats wood. Last year I cleaned 3x periodically in season burning a non epa unit and found satifactory levels of accumulation in the pipe. This year I have already cleaned once after shoulder season and there was much less in comparison probably related to the better stove and better wood.

    To answer the class A question I would say, "NO" it does not increase build up and very likely reduces it, all other things being equal. I think this is because of the insulation of the pipe keeping more heat inside and therefor keeping more gas, "gas" as it goes up as apposed to a lesser pipe cooling quicker and feeling HOTTER to the touch.

    This is just my opinion and others may correct me. I will report my experience after I do a end of year, J1, cleanout.
    pen likes this.

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