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Creosote build up

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by guudbears, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. guudbears

    guudbears New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I’m not new to heating my house with a wood burning stove, I’ve been running an Olympic Crest since 1978. Recently we completely remodeled our home which necessitated reinstalling the stove. The old installation had a shorter straight run of pipe which worked well though in hindsight was not in the best spot where it exited out of the roof resulting in some water running down the pipe in heavy rain. The new installation was done professionally and there is no problem with water. However I am finding that I’ve got more creosote build up now having to clean the pipe/stove three times a year rather than once. The new pipe takes an ”S” curve both inside the house (un-insulated pipe) and in the attic (insulated pipe). Could this be the cause of more creosote? Also I’ve been using the stove a lot more as I’m now working from home. My wood is well seasoned, though recently I’ve reached the bottom of an old pile and some of it might have picked up some ground moisture--to offset t his I leave the wood around the stove while it is hot to dry it out some. Also what does everybody think of the “Sooteater” system for cleaning the stove pipe? I’m not sure my local chimney sweep is doing so great a job and at $150.00 a shot I think I can do better and save some money. For thirty plus years I’ve used a standard wire brush and fiberglass rod system but with a taller/steeper roof and my aging bones I no longer want to make the trip to the roof top. Anyway a long winded way of asking for some advise.

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  2. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,424
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Lots of folks here love the Soot Eater . .. in fact I cannot recall a single negative review.
  3. Nick Mystic

    Nick Mystic Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    749
    Loc:
    Western North Carolina
    Anytime you add elbows or as you say, "curves" to a flue pipe you are going to slow your draft down, which in turn means the smoke is going to spend more time in the liner cooling down on the way out. This is going to mean more creosote build up in your liner. Three cleanings a season with a Soot Eater probably won't be too onerous a task once you get a system worked out. I like to do my chimney cleaning from the top down because I want to inspect my cap each time since that is where I'm likely to get the most creosote building up. I have an easy roof to access and my cement chimney top is 3' x 6'. so I can stand right up on top to do my cleaning.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Welcome to the forum guudbears.

    Those "curves" you mention should not pose a creosote problem. If you are having to clean the chimney 3-4 times per season you need to take a hard look at your wood. Your comment about burning since 78 and that means you have plenty of experience. However, we also find that most folks who have burned for a long time tend to not get their wood as dry as it really needs to be.

    We've been burning wood over 50 years now but fortunately learned about dry wood many, many moons ago. Yet we still see folks cutting wood in the fall and burning it that winter. Or folks cutting even now expecting it to be ready by winter. Wrong! Wood will not dry much at all until it has been cut to firewood length and then split. After that it is a matter of stacking it outdoors where wind can dry the wood. Sunshine is good but wind will dry it faster. If you are burning something like oak; beware! We won't even attempt to burn oak until it has been in the stack 3 years or more. Great firewood but it gives up its moisture very slowly.

    So please do not listen to the crowd that says you can burn the wood right after cutting. You can do it, but you fight the fires and also have creosote problems.

    Here's one big benefit of drying wood and getting 3 years ahead on your wood supply; you will burn less wood and get more heat from it rather than sending that heat up the chimney. And for what it is worth, we too used to clean our chimney several times per year. We bought a new stove and cleaned the chimney after 2 years to get about a cup of soot and no creosote. The chimney has not been cleaned since. In addition to that, we used to burn 6 cord or more every winter. Since getting the new stove, the most we've burned in any one winter is 3 cord. Last winter was around 2 cord and this year will be under 3 cord again. That certainly saves a lot of work. Also, this stove is our only heat as we have no backup furnace. Our house is warmer now than it was when we burned 6 cord of wood. We keep our house 80 degrees and higher all winter too.

    I have not used a sooteater but it seems that would work really good for your installation. Good luck.
    ScotO likes this.
  5. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    how much of your chimney is single wall (if any)? Is there more than there was before?
    I agree with Dennis. I've only been burning for around 10 years total (5 with a modern EPA stove) and I was one of those guys who learned alot about seasoning, especially after joining this site. I am over three years ahead on my wood stack, and I can tell you it is a HUGE difference, both in heat output and cleanliness of the flue......
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  6. guudbears

    guudbears New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    About five feet of pipe is single wall including an adjustable elbow, the remaining twenty feet is double wall including another adjustable elbow. I have perhaps two feet more of single wall than I used to have and maybe eight feet more of double wall. Essentially I have the same stove and same wood gathering techniques I've used for thirty years. What's changed is the installation and the fact that I'm running the stove more. My last cleaning, after a month of the coldest weather this winter, resulted in maybe a quart of 1/8" creosote flakes. I used to get less than that after a whole season of burning.
  7. guudbears

    guudbears New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Thanks for your information. I too look to be three to four years ahead with my wood pile and have it stacked where it will get plenty of air running through it. I'm using the same wood gathering techniques I've learned that work well, what's different is the installation and the fact that I'm running the stove more now that I'm working from home. I think I might give the sooteater a try.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

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