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Chimney fire or no? Could it have been just the junk on cap?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Bub381, Feb 28, 2012.

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  1. pen

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

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    And therein lies the problem.

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  2. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    Around 300 and not usually over 400 unless it's around 0 outside.500 for maybe a week this yr.Stove too big?It would roast us out.Had to get this sized stove for overnight burns but can't run her hot.500 degree stove would put stove room in the 90's.Big floor fans running cold air in 24/7 along the floor.I'm moving the air right.I have done the tissue test.Moves good.
  3. Burd

    Burd Feeling the Heat

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    go with smaller hotter fires our OPEN a window
  4. bormat70

    bormat70 Member

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    Perhaps it's normal to get the dry, grainy/flaky stuff on the cap then. Maybe my problem is that I overfired and had too much flame going up the chimney. How often is normal to have to clean the cap?
  5. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Should not be anything in the chimney to burn if you are doing it right, that's why you should not be afraid to get the flue hot.
  6. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    Wood wasn't seasoned long enough Spark.I'm learning though.
  7. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    OK, it will be like a new stove when you get some better wood, you will have more control over the fire.
  8. burleymike

    burleymike Feeling the Heat

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    After 2-3 months my cap gets about 1/2" of the fluffy soot on it. I take it off and wipe the soot off with my hand. The pipe will have 1/8-1/4" of soot in the last 5' or so and mostly just fly ash the rest of the way down. My exterior masonry chimney was too short so I put nearly 4' worth of clay tiles to extend the height. Then I put my insulated stainless liner down the chimney. That last section even though it is insulated still is cooler than the rest which I why I get that little bit of soot.

    Last year was a lot colder and I burned larger, hotter fires though I still had the same buildup on the cap and top section of the chimney. This year I load the stove about 50% at night and burn it at about 650° then in the morning and cold evenings I put 4-8 pieces of pallet wood in there and it gets up to about 450-500°. I would have thought all the small fires would be depositing more in the chimney. This year is like one big shoulder season.

    When the cat on my old stove failed I burned the rest of the year without it. The cap I had at the time was a wind directional cap and it would plug like no other every other week, the chimney would have 3/4" of really nasty stuff in the same period.

    My neighbor took his cap off years ago, it would plug solid with what looked like black tarry potato chips. Unwilling to get rid of his smoke dragon or stop smouldering his fires he opted to junk the cap.
  9. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    Right.I have so many batches of wood some that may have been cut a couple months apart and it is hell to know what seetings for which.Also the shorter wood this year for a N/S load will be great.Thanks for your reply.
  10. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    Mike, the stuff that came off my cap looked like lava rock but was quite light.Of course it had been burned.
  11. burleymike

    burleymike Feeling the Heat

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    Lava rock is a good description for what I used to get on my cap with the old stove. Since your chimney is so clean it is probably a combination of the not so dry wood and the normal crap that forms on a chimney cap. Too bad somebody does not make an insulated cap. Perhaps get a moisture meter so you only burn the driest wood you have?
  12. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    I have a moisture meter.I stay under 25%.I did throw maybe a couple arm loads of 30% in.My biggest problem was leaving so many 6" to 8" maple unsplit.I used to have a Vigilant so this wood was prepared for that stove.Will split all over 4" from now on.
  13. pen

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

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    As far as the low temps, do you burn the stove that cool because you can't get it any hotter? Or do you purposely keep it that cool to keep from overheating the house?

    If it is the later, then play around w/ different loading techniques, strategies, use of the air control, etc. For me, when I need little heat, my stove top still sees at least 550, but not for long. I keep the ashes very deep in the stove, and arrange smaller splits (3 or 4 depending on size / shape) in a way that burns as effeciently / quickly as possible considering how air enters my stove, and leave the air open a little higher than normal.

    For me, that setup makes a fire which gets hot, but doesn't last long so the house doesn't overheat. But, the deep ashes help preserve the coals so that I an still reload w/out starting a fresh fire for a good many hours.

    pen
  14. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    To keep from overheating the house.I will try the quick fire and i do leave a good deep bed of coals.It's just the stove room that gets hot.
  15. pen

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

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    Then a good floor fan, or tower fan, or similar on low blowing the cooler air into that stove room may be helpful if you aren't doing so already.

    pen
  16. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    Doing it from 2 directions.Big box fans.We have them on low,should we crank them up?
  17. pen

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

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    Never hurts to try. If you are in the room, and too hot, then I'd turn the fan up just to feel more comfortable. If I wasn't in the stove room, I'd keep them on low. But, fool around w/ them and see how it works. Never hurts to try.

    pen
  18. yanksforever

    yanksforever Member

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    Sounds like your wood is not seasoned correctly. You should not have your cap oozing with creasote. Season your wood for at least a year and if it is oak you should season for at least 2-3 years. If you are buying wood and they say it is seasoned already...you should still season it yourself before burning. Most of the people selling wood will tell you anything you want to hear to sell you their wood. Although there are some honest ones...but they are few and far between!
  19. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    No it's not as i posted earlier.It sucks to read back.lol I'm not in stove room but will turn them up.
  20. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    300 is too low to burn at and that is a big part of your problem if not the problem. Add less than desired wet wood and you your answer lies within those two.
    Either burn smaller hotter fires for shorter durations, get a smaller stove, try and circulate the air better in the house, or open a window.
    Your stove is either oversized for your space, or the floorplan of your home is on that does not have a good convection loop going on.
    A cat stove may allow you to burn that low. But def start by trying to move the air around your home better for starters.
    IMO no matter how dry your wood is, at that low a temp your going to get buildup, And that runny stuff is the bad stuff.
  21. Burd

    Burd Feeling the Heat

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    well said
  22. hoyajohn

    hoyajohn New Member

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    I totally agree with the 300F stove top being to low. I know someone else said it doesn't matter but I think it does. Creo forms when the smoke temps are too low and if your not burning the smoke with a CAT or secondaries at a 300F stove top the smoke is leaving the stove at too low a temp and by the time it's near the top it's prime for creo production (probably sticky too). It's good that you frequently brush but if you're getting sticky/tar like build up a brush doesn't do you much good. If you have to stay with what is clearly to big a stove for you then I would take the advise of others and find a way to burn hotter than a 300F stove top. My goal is to have my stove top around 500-525F, right in the middle of where my gauge says is optimal (400-600F). Unlike you I'm fortunate to be able to do top down cleanings a couple of times a season and my cap will have some build up but it's always flakey stuff that falls out with a couple of raps of the screw driver handle I use to take it off. Also, better to be too hot than have a chimney fire.
  23. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    I burn as small of a fire as i can (1 split at a time) and they say not to burn under 300 so i thought that was safe.I understand now after reading these replies what to do and it is a number of things.I agree with the too low temp and and try to move air better (which has baffled me as to how) also the unseasoned wood which we all know is bad.I agree with ya Hogwildz.Burning at 400 today and working at speeding the air up also.It's been a hard winter to know if i have an oversized stove but i'm thinking so.As far as a chimney fire i guess it's common sense that i had 1 but it was just the cap as i thought.That was the big question i guess and now for the solution which i think we have now.Wouldn't i be nice if we had too small of a stove that we could just add another firebox section on.I bet somebody could do this.Shoulda got me a Fireview.Loved em anyways.
  24. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Try 3 splits instead of 1 at a time. One at a time will cause lots of temperature swings up and down, and will never keep that box hot enough for a decently clean burn.
    Try the upside down V method of putting a split north/south(front to back) spaced a few inches apart. Usually spans the dog box outlet in the front inner portion of the stove.
    then lay a 3rd split on top of the other tow in a sort of diagonal position spanning the to splits below.
    And yes, this winter is not the winter to judge for heating capacity. But in time, you will learn to burn that stove at relatively desired temps. This you will learn most during the shoulder seasons.
    Circulation/convection loop is the key to having the stove heat more of the house, or cook the room its in. If air ain't moving, that room will be fairly hot no matter what you put in there, especially if it has standard height ceilings, single/narrow doorway and is a smaller room.
  25. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    I've tested it and there's good flow.There's actually 3 doorways in this 10'X13' stoveroom.There's 2 big fans on the floor in 2 of them. Running it at 400 today.Running primary at half instead of 3/4 but hate to burn wood to throw it up the chimney.I burn with a slow lazy flame and it keeps it at 300,i'll just try this and take it up a notch.I never have 2ndaries except on a reload when i shut it up after i get it roaring.They say shut primary so much so as not to let all heat go up chimney yet use 2ndaries to burn off gases.So to keep 2ndaries i'd prob have to run at 50% primary.
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