1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Black dark gooey icicles running off chimney and roof.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by B_BPP, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. B_BPP

    B_BPP New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    So it hit -14 last night, and we have been burning a lot of oak wood. At night the air intake is closed, so by morning the glass is black. We then use the coals to fire it up hot, and it burns off just fine...

    Just noticed today, however, that there are dark poopy colored icicles hanging off the chimney and roof.

    First wood-stove winter for me, so I don't know, are these creosote stalactites normal? They don't look to be hurting anything except making my neighbor's eye's sore, but just thought I should ask, just in case.

    Thanks.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    676
    Loc:
    NW CT
    What stove are you running and what's your setup (chimney height, type, etc.)?

    Those stalactites do not sound normal and it sounds like your wood is not seasoned...oak needs to be split and stacked where it will get air flow for at least 2 years. Last year I tried burning some 6 month or so oak and it blackened my glass too...so did the 3 month ash (that I'd heard the old timers in town saying you could basically split and toss in your stove...not...with an EPA stove anyway).
  3. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,242
    Loc:
    Soutwest VA
    Sounds like your oak is not seasoned well.

    If it is red oak it needs at least 2 years to be ready to put in a stove.
  4. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    5,472
    Loc:
    Indiana
    It could be normal if you have a catalytic stove. Although it should be brown, not black and gooey. My Blaze King would get ice-cycles hanging on the cap when it was very cold out. The only thing that the cat doesn't consume is water, it turns to steam and condenses on the cap. Since it's black and nasty, I would say that the wood quality is the biggest reason for the mess.
    nate379 likes this.
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    30,897
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    Gotta know what you are burning, what you are burning it in and how you build the fire before we can even hazard a guess.
  6. B_BPP

    B_BPP New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    Thanks all for the input! I am running on a Lopi Answer (smallish air-tight 18"er), and I know the chimney is about 3 feet too short, as my roof is very steep. The other possible point of interest is that I have a 6" stove pipe running into a 8" chimney. Not a huge issue I would venture, but may be part of it. The wood seasoning sounds a little more apt.

    I bought the wood about 2 weeks ago, and was told it had been seasoned for 2 years and was oak (not sure what kind of oak). But truth be told, I have no idea what any kind of wood looks like, be it pine, mahogany, or balsa. It is mostly whole 8' round logs. I have not been splitting them, just tossing them in, because they seem to burn longer that way (and it is less work).

    ... but now that I think about it, because they had not been split, and even if they had been dried 2 years, they still could be wettish in the middle.

    Could running hotter fires help, say in the 600-700F range?
  7. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    5,472
    Loc:
    Indiana
    That would help, the best thing to do is split it up small, or use it next year. You are right, it's still wet inside.
  8. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    black icicles are BAD......to reiterate what others already said, you gotta get the oak split ASAYC (as soon as you cut) get it stacked and let it go for at LEAST two to three years. The longer the better.

    As for gettin your stove temps up in the 600 to 700 range, you'll be needing something mixed in with that wet oak to get that done. Good luck, we've all been there before. Make sure you check your flue out on a monthly basis as when burning wet wood, you're gonna have lots of creosote.
    Backwoods Savage and Butcher like this.
  9. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    5,472
    Loc:
    Indiana
    They aren't burning longer, they are taking longer to burn!
    blujacket, Motor7, nate379 and 4 others like this.
  10. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    4,015
    Loc:
    SE MI
    I have oak that I split and stacked in the wide open, in the fall of '11. Even after this summer, with over two months of no rain and many, many 90°+ days, it still is over 30%. Two years is okay if it is split, maybe. Three is better.

    Eight inch rounds are nowhere close to ready to burn.
    corey21 and Backwoods Savage like this.
  11. B_BPP

    B_BPP New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    Thanks all for the advice. I will have to be a bit more discerning when buying wood next year. As for my plan, I will be sorting the wood while splitting it, and setting out the already the pre-split obviously dry wood to be burnt now.

    ... but just to be clear, would running a super hot stove help at all? I can get it up to 800F or more with this wood if I pump it, but would this even help with the creosote build up?
  12. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    5,472
    Loc:
    Indiana
    It dries it out, but then you would need to sweep it.
    ScotO likes this.
  13. Butcher

    Butcher Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    530
    Loc:
    N. central Ia.
    I'ld say you best get up there and clean that chimney out in a hurry. That aint right.
    ScotO likes this.
  14. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    5,740
    Loc:
    Northern MI - in the mitten
    First, welcome to the Hearth.
    Do you have next years wood already, or will the wood you buy next year be for next year?
    If you buy wood next year to burn next year, the cycle will just continue.>>
    Try to get wood for next year (2014) now, if it'll be oak. Wood for this year should have been in your possession last year or sooner. If you don't have it yet, get it ASAP. c/s/s.
    This is the chronic lament of most new wood burners and you are not alone. Most of us have been there at one time or another.:cool:
    I would at least get up there for a look.
    Ashful, ScotO, corey21 and 1 other person like this.
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Welcome to the forum B_BPP.

    As PapaDave stated so well, do not buy next year's wood next year! Burning wood is not like burning oil or gas. You can not just call to get fuel when you need it. All wood sellers will tell you their wood is "seasoned" and ready to burn. Never believe it. Wood simply will not dry until it is cut to firewood length and split. Then it needs to be stacked off the ground and out in the wind; not in a shed. The wind is your best friend when it comes to drying wood. Sun is good too but wind is even more important.

    In addition, I would advise to specify that you do not want any oak. Oak is one of the very best but it simply takes too long to dry and if you need it now.... We always wait 3 years before burning oak.


    Can you get the stove up to 800 or more and would it help? You might get it that hot but you probably would not like the results. That is a great way to start a chimney fire! You do not want that.

    Because of what you have been burning, please do yourself a big favor and either get that chimney cleaned or do it yourself as soon as possible.
  16. B_BPP

    B_BPP New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    It is great to hear from you all, I need the advice!

    I installed the stove myself this year and cut the gas to my house many months ago: committed, but brash. We arrived in the dead cold of winter from a trip abroad a couple weeks ago, and started heating 100% with the stove. And let me tell you, Minnesota is cold. Hard to get the small house up to 60 some days, to say nothing about keeping the basement pipes from freezing.

    I'm on a hill so a windy spot can be found. And from what you all have said, I will need a hefty 3 years supply on hand. I will now focus my research on wood seasoning. I hope cut it all myself, so I will need to study up a lot.

    Thanks again, and I am heading to Menards for a brush presently.
    corey21, PapaDave and ScotO like this.
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    B_BPP, this is beginning to sound like you will be a top notch wood burner really soon. For sure it is work to get 3 years ahead but you will never be sorry. Besides, if some unfortunate thing happen and you can't put up wood one winter, you still have plenty without relying on someone else or having to buy it then.
    corey21 and ScotO like this.
  18. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    5,199
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    Find a source for pallets. Many places will give them away for free. They are super dry so they are a good thing to mix in with wet wood. They got me through my first winter.

    Matt
    ScotO likes this.
  19. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I wouldn't start the seasoned "timer" until you have those 8ft logs cut into stove length pieces, split and stacked. Are you cutting as you burn :oops:




    I will agree that SOME wood sellers do this, but the ones that want to stay in business are truthful. Sell someone soaking wet "seasoned" wood and that's the last time they will be handing you money.

    I have NEVER told a customer that what I was selling was seasoned if it wasn't.
    Oddly enough, I had trouble selling the several cords of seasoned wood I had. A few customers actually complained that the wood was grey/weathered, had cracks in it and was old looking. Had one that called this fall wanting different wood as what I sold was "burning too fast".
    I can only guess they had an open fireplace that runs with essentially a wide open draft?
  20. B_BPP

    B_BPP New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    So, just an update. I got the brush and am ready, but it is too cold for me to get worked up enough to get on that darned steep icy roof. That is okay, I think. I will watch it closely and clean it out as soon as it gets a little more comfortable.

    As for burning, I am splitting the wood into 3-4 inch pieces, and using only the ones that were split and smaller before I was given them. The 8" rounds are being split and stacked for next year. Overall the wood does look to be pretty dry, but I am no expert. I can tell you though, the stove burns a lot hotter and I can keep it puffing at 600F with the damper almost all the way shut.

    Thanks all again for the advice!

Share This Page