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Ceosote buildup-what's normal??

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by brian_in_idaho, Sep 19, 2006.

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  1. brian_in_idaho

    brian_in_idaho New Member

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    I know we have had all kinds of comments on the evils of creosote buildup and the importance of proper cleaning, I'm wondering what most of you would consider a normal buildup?

    In my last place (I'm waiting on my stove for the new place) I had a Quad 5100i insert, with about 24 ft of class A in an outside chase. I burned close to 24/7, as long as someone was home there was a fire. Our typical buildup throughout most of the chimney was more a fine layer of soot, you could wipe it off with your finger, more a film than a layer. The only area where there was buildup was the last 6 inches to 1 ft of the pipe, I had maybe 1/4-3/8 inch of flaky deposits. My spark arrestor was lacking, the screen in it was the thing that showed by far the most buildup, with the screen often being coated enough to restrict draft. I can't remember the model, finally changed it out after a few years, the newer more open one worked much better.

    Anyway, I'm wondering if this is pretty typical buildup over a seasons burning. To clean I used to pull the secondary air tubes, top firebrick and blanket, and sweep down into the stove. I'd have maybe a pint to a quart of "dust" to shovel/vacuum.

    Thanks all.

    Bri

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  2. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    Rutland, VT//Southern Quebec
    We clean our class a chimney once a year, about 18-19 ft total length, 7 inch pipe, when i disconnect the single wall, we get less than a cup from the class a alone, interior chimney. 5 cords a year 24/7.. in the stove scooped out a cup of really powdery ash, on top of the blanket..The single wall had less than a 1/4 inch but did not brush it the year before, because it looked clean..also burned some stuff this spring, in retrospect, that was too punky...

    The top 4 ft is outside the roof, the last foot gets some of the flaky stuff..
  3. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    My experience is closer to Vintage. I just cleaned my liner. It's about 23' of liner inside a Majestic double wall fireplace chimney. I had nothing but powder all the way up. The spark arestor had some of the same on it. I had no flakey stuff at all, just a little creosote stain that was similar to the stuff that shows up on the glass if a peice of wet wood goes into the stove. I'd say the ash volume was similar also. Maybe a cup or so.
  4. Robbie

    Robbie Minister of Fire

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    East Tennessee- Great Smoky Mountains.
    I burned wet wood last year. I just cleaned mine and it was 1/4 inch thick in most places. Got at least a gallon out of approx. 14 ft. pipe, the stove inside with pipe is next. I expect another half gallon or so...............this year will be different, I have dry wood.


    My screen and cap was also the worst..........lucky to have any air come out !


    Robbie
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I burn 5-6 full cords per year. After the third year I had a professional sweep come out to inspect and clean if needed. After a pretty intense inspection he got to the pipe. After climbing out of the stove he said that what ever I was doing - keep doing it. He said that the pipe wasn't shiny, but darn close. He didn't even run a brush through it. Said it was a waist of time. He was glad to see someone that new how to run a stove correctly but a little sad that he could only charge me $60 for the house visit. The pipe had NOT been cleaned in the 3 years I ran the stove. By the way, this sweep has been in the neighborhood for many years and is held in very high regards as a true professional in the business, so I did trust his judgement.

    I will have to admit that I am QUITE finicky about proper burning. Good wood, Good Fire!
  6. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I had a Quadrafire 2100i insert in the last place. It got very little deposit. The pipe was in an enclosed chases. I took out the blanket and brushed it down to the metal baffle plate and vacuumed it off; no removal of pipes required. My new 2700i insert in the new place has a fibrous baffle of some sort that is very fragile. I would not use the same method to clean.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We just pulled down our old stack. 20 yrs old and I stopped cleaning it (still inspected every year) about 8 years ago. When I took it down there was less than a cup of creosote after burning approximately 24 cords of wood, including a lot of oily, sappy fir. I attribute this to clean burning habits, interior chimney and clean burning stoves. I'll be watching the Castine very closely for the next several years and will definitely clean until I establish the new setup's behavior.

    For comparison, our neighbor with an older smudge pot that gets dampered right down and smolders, has to have the chimney cleaned twice a year.
  8. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    A proper chimney cleaning isn't cheap. Seems like it would be worth it for your neighbor to replace the stove.
  9. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    100% wood heat 24/7 , EPA stove ,5' double wall black pipe, 20' of stright up Stainless steel class A pipe inside of the house , 4 cords of wood burned and clean out of the whole pipe was around 1 cup of black ash/soot. Inside wood stove was light brown soot that just wipes off with paper towel. No flakey creosote.
  10. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I agree with this. I have not cleaned a chimney in 20 years of burning, I do however, inspect in the fall before burning.

    I watch the chimney like hawk to make sure I'm getting a clean burn, burn dry wood (softwood and hardwood), and use common sense. Pay very careful attention to the stovepipe and connections to make sure there are no leaks, etc.
  11. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Sandor is so right about good connector pipe connections. If using a mansory chimney seal the ash cleanout door. Any cooler air mixing in there adds to cresote amounts
  12. Robbie

    Robbie Minister of Fire

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    Well I'm done as of today. Cleaned stove inside and then cleaned pipe to wall. Much harder then I thought it would be since I had to remove my pipe off the top of my stove all the way to the wall.

    Removing the pipe was not too hard, but cleaning the inside of my stove was. I used a shop vac with a hose run through a window that made it easier. Just messy because of so much creosote in top area of stove. I learned a lot about my stove today that I did not really realize.

    One thing that I thought but was not sure was there are 5 bricks mounted on heavy steel frame over the top of the stainless burn tubes, then what appears to be heavy steel over that where stove pipe connection is welded.

    Man these Avalon stoves are made very well. I stated above in an earlier post that I thought I would get about a gallon of creosote out of my pipe to wall and stove, I ended up getting about half a gallon, but some nice large clunkers came out of the top of my stove area.

    This has taught me a good lesson..............burn dry wood.

    I'm ready to go now though, got dry wood ?


    Robbie
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I agree, but even improving burning habits would reduce cleaning. Unfortunately the response is that "I've been burning for xx years and know what works". Right, I only regret that I am downhill from them when there is a low pressure system .
  14. Robbie

    Robbie Minister of Fire

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    I did not want to start another thread for this one question, still on topic. I wonder if a person has really well dried wood, cured to the max, and then still dampers way down sometimes. I don't plan to damper as much as I did last year but I still need to damper sometimes.

    Do you think this would still cause a lot of creosote ? If it does cause a lot, then I will just be cleaning my pipes a couple times a year instead of once.


    Robbie
  15. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    If you get some good dry wood you will be fine.

    You can damper it down when you need to... just be sure to open it up for a load here and there to clean out the chimney.

    Dry wood should make all the difference because your wet wood would never get hot enough to clean out the chimney.
  16. brian_in_idaho

    brian_in_idaho New Member

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    Robbie, I think that's why I got the amount of creosote I did, I tended to burn a split or 2 at a time, dampered down to keep secondary burn going, but not much more. Thats when I was getting the amount I described above. My last winter burning I tended to load larger loads, run the air more open and let them burn down more, I found that I got a lot more heat and a lot less creosote, and no clogging of the spark arrester. Its been 3 years since I have had a stove, big time withdrawl symptoms now.

    Bri
  17. Robbie

    Robbie Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Marty, I hope this year will be much better, my wood is really dry.

    Brian, you don't have any wood stove now ? How do you do it ? Gosh.............I'm sorry.............. :long:


    Robbie
  18. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I'll have to second my condolences. Why don't you go outside, pile up some rocks for a burn pit and burn some sticks. I'm sure it will make you feel better. When are you going to get one?
  19. brian_in_idaho

    brian_in_idaho New Member

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    Not soon enough-I sold my old place and am building a new one, hope to move in in about a month. We've been living in a pole building on site while building. The hearth is done, I had a Mansfield delivered a couple weeks ago, but when it was delivered we found some damage. I have a new one coming, should be here around the first of December. I amuse myself outside burning slash and brush in the meantime.

    Bri
  20. Robbie

    Robbie Minister of Fire

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    Hang in there, sounds like you'll have a nice set up soon I'm sure.


    Robbie
  21. Hinterlander

    Hinterlander Member

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    I just had my chimney swept professionally yesterday, $79 for the complete job by the dealer who did the install. The cap has a 1/4" mesh screen on it, and it was about 20% blocked after burning about 3 cords of fairly dry to fairly wet wood last winter, about 50% of each. The stove is a Lopi Revere insert, 24' of insulated stainless liner running up an exterior boxed chase. The stove was choked down pretty tight each night to maximize burn time. The Sweep said I had about 2 cups of creosote come down the liner and most of the deposits were toward the top. I must admit, last year I didn't really know what I was doing burning that half-dry red oak, but this year I have bone-dry ash and hope become a more efficient wood burner (thanks in great part to contributors to this forum, I might add!).
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