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Any Creosote experts identify this buildup? How do I clean it?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by scooby074, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Blazin

    Blazin Member

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    If you take out the "T" ,move the stove under the chimney, and run the pipe straight up from the stove, your joints will be tighter and it will be easier to clean. You will, however, have to let the stove cool and remove the baffle to let the sweepings fall into the burning chamber.

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  2. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Was there a reason that the chimney couldn't go directly over the top of the stove?

    Insurance wanted the T for what reason?
  3. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    I don't know why. Cleanout and inspection maybe? Or maybe because there was a T in the original stove setup? Originally the T was close to the ceiling when we bought this place.

    I do know I like having a T, it makes cleaning much easier. Because the stove is my sole source of heat, I need to keep it running as close to 24/7 as possible. Having to wait several hours for it to cool so I can remove the baffles wouldnt be ideal.
  4. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I would say were your stove got dampened down on the air so much is the main issue here.
  5. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I'm no expert, but:
    1) ICC, which manufactures an insulated double wall pipe and chimney, which both keep flue temps higer and reduce chance of creosote build up) , advises one must sweep one's pipe and chimney within 48 hours of shutting the stove down for the season. I'm sure this is because otherwise any creosote can convert to the shiny type you have. I'm wondering whether you had any time between sweeps when you had your stove cold for 48 hours? With your creosote build up, and single wall pipe, probably a good idea to sweep as soon as your stove cools down anytime you are going to let it get cold.

    If you can afford it, I'd replace with double wall, which will minimize your creosote formation.

    Also, if you have room and floor protection, I'd move the stove out any install straight pipe, which will increase draft and result in lower creosote formation. You can probably still install a T off the pipe at a right angle to the back for cleaning...I'm not sure, but don't see why not. At the very least, I'd change that connection to 45s which will slow smoke down less. But, I'd really try to go straight, and whether ot not I could, I'd get rid of that wierd cleanout. You can go to adjustable stovepipe, which you disconnect to sweep from below...easy to do.
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I believe that the 48 hour recommendation was actually to remove the creosote at the end of the burning season vs. letting it sit inside the stove all summer. During the summer, the higher humidity and time will create more corrosion than a clean flue. Also safety so you don't forget to clean it before the first fire. Creosote doesn't convert to shiny stuff on its own.

    It is true that a horizontal seciton of pipe must be a certain distance from the ceiling. However, there is no reason for you to have anything in your flue close to horizontal. You need an offset in order to connect your stove to your ceiling box unless you move the stove. An offset if two bends with a straight section between them. The first bend attaches to the ceiling box and the second bend is above the stove at a height determined by the geometery.

    What you have is a failure to communicate with your insurance company. They had a problem with something, the horizontal clearance, and ONE solution was that goofy tee setup. There are smarter ways to accomplish the goal and solve their problem.
  7. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Just a few thoughts.

    1. With good burning habits, you won't need seamless pipe, although double wall pipe would be much better because it will stay above creosote temps longer.

    2. You're getting a double whammy with wood that's probably too damp (have you measured a fresh split yet?) plus the air control too low for the conditions.

    3. If the offset was needed to clear ceiling joists or rafters (not sure), then using two 45 offsets would probably be a better solution, although having a straight cleanout access sounds useful.

    4. You probably will be fine with the current setup with good, dry wood and better burning methods. I'm sure that next year with better wood and more experience with the stove will be much better.
  8. northernontario

    northernontario Member

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    It's a shame they don't make a cleanout "Y" instead of T. Have the incoming pipe enter at 45° (/) instead of 90° (-)... In this setup, it would allow for two 45° bends, instead of two 90° bends in the piping.
  9. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Yes i agree that setup is slowing down the gases. That i think is part of the issue.
  10. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    Great info guys. Thanks.

    Today I had some time to kill so I went to get current prices on a new PE Summit (I hate my current stove, it doesnt really produce heat and although it should heat my house, it fails). My friend has a summit and it heats his house fine, and his house is bigger, and even more important his wood is poplar and very wet (just cut and delivered this fall). So I know it is a good brand and does well with questionable wood. It's been in my upgrade plans since last year.

    Also looked at an Enerzone, which Im going to do more research on.

    Anyways, while there I talked to the saleswoman about my ongoing creosote situation. Like most here, she thinks one major issue is that 90* and the T. She also suggested a "straight up" design for the pipe to have the best draft. And I should be running double wall because that is all they use in their installs.

    Great I say, Ill upgrade the current stove to a straight through double wall. Then if I get the Pacific, I'll just reuse it... That was until she told me that a 5' piece of telescopic double wall was $155.00:eek:

    Is that a good price? Seems real high to me. I figured under a hundred for sure. Im going to do some comparison shopping monday. Is it a worthwhile upgrade? Will it make a difference? Will i get more heat from the stove and less creosote? Is one brand better than the other and is it worth the additional cost?
  11. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I don't know if it's a good deal or not. By all means, shop around. Having said that, you will have a much cleaner install. With seasoned wood and a clean install, you'll be amazed at how little creosote there will be. $155 is probably less than a sweep is going to charge to scrape off that black shiny stuff. The telescopic pipe makes things much easier for chimney cleaning.

    On the new stove issue, Summits are nice stoves, but I don't know any modern stove that is forgiving for wet wood. Some people burn with wet wood anyway, but seasoned wood causes most "stove isn't producing heat" problems to go away.
  12. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    That install with the pipe is not all that strange..if most of it was outside the house.
    .
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Before replacing the stove I would replace the pipe. That double 90 is slowing down draft unnecessarily. I would replace it with straight up double-wall, with a telescoping section to facilitate cleaning. Even if you upgrade I would do this, but you might as well do it now and see if that helps the Napoleon perform up to expectations.
  14. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, thats the plan. Between the advise I got here and the sales woman, I think a straight pipe will help. On top of that, it will be reusable.

    If I go with a straight shot, this will require moving the stove out from the corner approx 1' (the horizontal distance of the 90* and the T). Right now I have the stove tucked in as close as recommended to the corner so it's out of the way. Is there any benefit to moving the stove out? Maybe better airflow?

    Are their any brands of pipe that are better? All that I know that's available locally is Selkirk Superpipe.http://www.selkirkcorp.com/supervent/Product.aspx?id=58 If I go out of town there may be other, perhaps better options, but I need to know what to look for.

    Is it better to have a single, long telescoping pipe, or a short non-movable pipe with a short telescoping section attached?

    With a straight pipe, is there any way to have an easy access cleanout like I have with the T now?
  15. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    What company manufactured your chimney? I'd stick with the same brand, because it will fit properly.

    One long adjustable piece should be all you need. They are easy to clean. just disconnect, atach a plastic bag to ceiling support, cut slit in upper side of bag for brush, and clean from below. Take the adjustable pipe outside, clean well. Remove bag and throw out (no mess). Reinstall pipe. Simple.
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    For double wall you will want to match the chimney brand of pipe. It looks like your chimney may be Supervent. If so you will need a chimney pipe adapter (JSC6ASE) which may already be in place to connect the single wall connector. Then connect with Selkirk DSP pipe. You have given the link for the correct pipe in your posting.

    How much chimney pipe is there from the ceiling to the top cap?

    Note: if they are selling you the 38"to 68" double-wall for $150, they are giving you a good price, comparable to online pricing.
  17. tlc1976

    tlc1976 New Member

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    My ex wife would choke the fire to turn it off too. I tried to tell her that was the one thing that would load up the chimney like nothing else. Because it was. If you can start with a clean pipe and burn small hot fires rather than choking it down, the pipe will stay clean longer.

    But I do have some air leaks due to using the split pipe in the house that every store around here sells for woodstoves. Before next season I plan to put in some seamless pipe. I also keep a fan running on high to push the hot air out of the corner and I would think that prematurely cools the pipe too and promotes buildup but I really don't have a choice there. I still get some buildup and yes I get the glaze which looks like gloss black paint. I have to clean the pipe every few weeks and when I clean it, the chimney part is not bad but the house pipe is horrible. And yes once the buildup starts, further buildup snowballs. I am always tapping on the pipe to listen to if it is a hollow ring (clean) or a dead thud (dirty) and that is what I go by for cleaning.

    I used to use Rutland Creosote remover in the fire which did help make the glaze easier to remove with the brush. But what I have found that works even a little better is Meeco Creosote Destroyer. Looks and priced similar but is more powdery than grainy and actually contains different ingredients.
  18. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Put the stove directly under the pipe and go DBL wall up to the thimble. I have the same set-up more or less in my living room and clan from the bottom up. The stove does not need to go completely out or cold, just down to about 100 degrees. The pipe telescopes so you just remove 3 screws and pull it down a couple inches and remove the pipe. Run your brush up and bonk the cap a couple times - back down and your done. Use the box the brush head comes in with a little hole in it to catch all the chimney dust. I poked a hole and put duct tape over it so my rods are going through a duct tape squeegy so to speak. As I said, I am in my living room and the mess is minimal and quick to vaccuum up. No need to remove the baffles - just put t he vaccuum in there and pick up any creo or dust build up.

    After a few runs I can do it in 1/3hr or so and be back running hot is less than an hr. Just seems like a simple fix to all the issues except the wet wood. My Dura Vent telescoping pipe cost around $200.00 shipped to my door and is simple to install.
    northwinds likes this.
  19. JessicaL

    JessicaL New Member

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    I was just like your wife until a few weeks ago - terrified of a chimney fire. That's because we had a fire last January, and it was one of the scariest things I've ever experienced.

    Insurance paid for a new wood insert and new sleeve up the existing fireplace chimney. (FYI, our chimney also had two 90 degree angles in it, which the install guy and insurance agent said was a huge no-no, and against code here in NY. So I agree with the other responses that that should be replaced with either straight or 45's.)

    Until a few weeks ago, I was always shutting down the damper when we hit 300 degrees, out of pure terror. And my husband was letting me get away with it!! Plus our wood wasn't the best.

    A few weeks ago we had the chimney cleaned and it was full of scary gunk.

    So I've done a LOT of research in recent weeks, including coming here for some awesome advice.

    What I've learned, loud and clear, is this: The hotter the fire, the SAFER you are!!

    It seemed counter-intuitive to me, but once I researched everything it made perfect sense.

    Please tell your wife that I used to be just like her....terrified. And she needs to either take your word for this, or get on the Internet and this forum, and research it for herself. Or have her talk to the folks at the hearth store or the chimney sweep - ours was very informative and really helped to put me at ease.

    FYI, when our chimney looked about as gunky as yours, we simply didn't burn at all until we had it cleaned. I think your wife is right that a hot fire right now, with that much creosote, could spark a nasty fire. Just my .02....
    northwinds likes this.
  20. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Well yes and no . . . a hot fire is good . . . but there is such a thing as being too hot. I prefer to take the "Goldilocks" approach and not burn too cool or too hot . . . but just right. Hot enough to reduce the amount of creosote being produced and the "really bad" creosote . . . but not so hot as to ignite any creosote that does build up.

    Of course running the stove at the right temp is only half of the equation . . . the other half is burning well seasoned wood . . . and then the other "half" (;)) is inspecting and cleaning the chimney on a regular basis. Folks that inspect and maintain the chimney, burn seasoned wood and run the stove at the right temps have a dramatically reduced chance of seeing me or any of my brothers or sisters at 3 in the morning.
    rideau likes this.

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