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Creosote check this weekend.

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by CHeath, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. pen

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

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    Because I didn't install it and never knew for certain if it was entirely up to snuff and never wanted to test the limits. Fewer masonry chimneys from the 70's and 80's were properly built as folks would like to think, so erring on the side of extra caution with them is simply wise.

    As it turned out, it's a good thing I kept up with / did more than necessary with the maintenance and never tested things out. A few years ago I found the thimble was incorrectly built and was way too close to combustibles. One chimney fire in that thing might have been one too many.

    As it was I never got much out of the monthly cleanings but with an exterior masonry chimney it potentially could accumulate more creosote than a stove operated the same but connected to an interior chimney.

    With a rebuilt thimble that meets clearances, and a liner that has insulation, I have a pretty high level of margin in the event the wife or I accidentally turn the stove into a light bulb and burn whatever little creosote there is in the chimney. Even going 2 or 3 months between cleanings now, I still don't get much more than peace of mind and hope it stays that way.

    For what I do get, there's no reason I couldn't extend the cleanings out to once per season or once per year even. But, if it's easy, it just doesn't make sense to me to not go the extra mile.

    Each and everyone is free to do what makes them sleep best at night.

    I hope the original poster now has a plan that he's comfortable with.

    pen
    Shane N likes this.

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  2. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Hey Heath, that chimney you have there is smaller than most. It looks like a 6 inch brush might be too small, and a 7 too big. Measure the brush at the hardware store before buying.

    In any case, to line that chimney would be tough. I am now not certain you need to do so. I think your setup should run like it is.

    1. I think you were burning less than optimum wood, too wet, unseasoned, too much moisture content, etc.
    2. I think on top of that you were burning WAY too cool.
    3. I think the hole in the bottom of the chase was BAD, real BAD, sucking in all kinds of cool air and compounding the problem.

    I'd get me some chemicals, try and get that shiny creosote to a crispy stage, and/or brush that chimney clean. Then get that chimney base all patched and tightened up, along with your piping, get that stove pipe installed properly, nice and tight.

    Then get some dry/seasoned wood, and burn that puppy hot.
    Shane N, DexterDay and pen like this.
  3. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    As best as can be seen from the washed photo, the tape says the inside is 6 1/4 to 6 1/2 in inside. I would get a 7 in square and trim it. It takes a while but not that difficult. A 6 in is going to be to small.
    CHeath likes this.
  4. CHeath

    CHeath Member

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    So I don't have a slammer !!! Lol
  5. pen

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

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    Naw, those are in fireplaces.

    For what you have, you look to be connected appropriately.
    CHeath likes this.
  6. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Thats all I wanted to know pen, you can do what you want but I focus on not making any creosote, sure I check the chimney but dont run a brush through just for fun.
  7. CHeath

    CHeath Member

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    Ok pen and old spark. What's a good pipe temperature for YOUR pipe to keep creosote to a minimum?
  8. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I use the guide lines on my flue thermometer (it was made for a flue) and it is 250 to 450, on start up it will go higher than that but for running I keep it at 400 or below. I have used those guide lines for 30 years and never a problem.
  9. CHeath

    CHeath Member

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    Now we are getting somewhere. Ok sooooooo at 10 pm or so, I go down Stairs and fill my stove up. I have a nice 4 inch bed of hot coals and all is well at a cozy 380 pipe temp. I let it draft for a few minutes to get flames all around the box and the temp climbs to 450. I shut the door and "crack" my drafts because my stove will only last 6 or 7 hours with low or no draft settings. Well, when I do this, about 4 am the flue temps fall well below 250 because the drafts are closed mostly off. Now, does this happen to you guys? How do you guys keep your temps up through the nights? I have less than 20% moisture dry wood and it still drops below 250. Now, I can keep it on 300 but ill run out of wood and have no coals at 7 am. Thoughts?
  10. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    If I read your manual correctly it states that you can expect a 6 to 8 hour burn. Well, what I think that means is when you load your stove it will be down to coals in 5 or 6 hours :)

    Your manual also clearly states that all connections should be sealed with stove cement. It says all air should enter the system through the air controls.

    As to how hot to burn, you need to keep your chimney temps above approx. 250 degrees, NOW that doesn't mean 250 coming off the stove, that means 250 all the way up and out the top, so just take a guess how hot that bad boy needs to be at the base, seeing how it's masonry, for it to remain 250 at the top?

    I'm not sure but your unit doesn't appear to be a catalytic or otherwise. EPA rated stove. Correct me if I'm wrong. My Jotul, when operating, you cannot see smoke coming out the chimney, so there is no creosote to form.

    My stove top temps, measured with an el cheapo stove thermometer, go up to 600 daily, some times I run it up to 700 degrees with that therm. on the top of the stove. Now just guess what the chimney temps are if the stove top reaches 700?

    You can't compare your setup to guys running EPA stoves and/or Catalytic. Yours is a whole house furnace, it will operate differently.

    When you line a chimney with an insulated stainless liner, that allows the chimney to reach operating temps much faster. That is why I have always suggested doing so. Your setup will work but you cannot shut the air down to the point where you want to lengthen your burn times, causing the flue temps to drop....will not work!

    In the normal cycle of burning a load of wood, no creosote will be forming when you are on the natural downside of the load burning down, creosote will form when you shut off the air on a fresh/full load.

    You gotta seal up that hole at the bottom of your chimney and any other air intake areas other than air controls on your stove.

    I believe your stove will heat your home if you get your setup fine tuned, but you won't be able to load it and come back 5 hours later and see a pile of wood in there burning at a feverish pace, it'll likely be burned down....that's part of the cycle you need to learn.

    If I'm wrong feel free to kick my butt ;)

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/creosote_from_wood_burning_causes_and_solutions
  11. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    The flue temps I am talking about are single wall surface, the thermometer is about 18 inches above the stove so that is where you read the temp, if you have ever taken a IR temp gun you know how much the temp drops off just a few feet above that so no way are you going to get it to 250 at the top of your chimney with out glowing metal at the stove. I have mine about 3 feet above the stove and using those guide lines have never had a problem.
    It will fall below that temp later in the burn and that is no problem, the creosote is formed in the early part of the burn so later on it makes no difference.
    I ran a non EPA stove for 30 years and now run a EPA stove and they are more alike then not IMHO.
  12. CHeath

    CHeath Member

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    Not sure if my englander 28-3500 is EPA or not. Thanks guys for the great replies.
  13. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    When I get a chance I will try and find some more information about flue temps but good info is hard to come by.
  14. CHeath

    CHeath Member

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    That's true, I've done the same. I don't have the mirror finished glaze like in that picture but there are places that are shiny and its all in the last 10 feet from the top of the chimney. The bottom is just sooty.
  15. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Its not EPA Certified. Has no Cat or Secondary system. Just draft caps...

    Some models say EPA approved :) But what that means is that its Exempt from the EPA regs. Like the dreaded Boxwood that US and Volgzang have sold so many of.

    That doesn't mean that you cant get that stove to burn clean. You can, your just gonna have to run it a lil hotter
  16. CHeath

    CHeath Member

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    yea, I understand now. Theres sometimes when Im outside and I look up there and there is nothing coming out but that molten lava hot air. No smoke at all. You know shes runnin clean then :) Ive just got to get use to running it 450 or higher on the pipe.
  17. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Just remember, there's a balancing act that you need to dance with.
    Too hot and the pipe melts (well, don't think that would happen...I hope:oops: ), too cool and you get creosote and a possible flue fire.
    Isn't this fun?
  18. CHeath

    CHeath Member

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    haha. yea its still pretty fun knowing Im sticking it to the power man. $100 power bill on a 2500 sf home with 4 females in it rules.
    ansehnlich1 and PapaDave like this.
  19. red oak

    red oak Minister of Fire

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    Great advice here. I agree 100%.

    I have a cheap stove pipe thermometer that's supposed to go 18 inches above the stove. It gives me a rough guideline of what to shoot for. I like for it to read around 400 - when it does, the house heats good and no smoke is to be seen.
  20. CHeath

    CHeath Member

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    VIDEO!!!

    Ok guys, I swept the Chimney today. Its 6.25 square and I only could find a 6 inch brush and I ordered a 7x7 off amazon as couldnt find one local. The good news is that the glaze was not as bad as I thought. I was expecting rock candy like supermans kneecaps but instead, it was removable with a fingernail scrub. The 6 inch brush was naturally not aggressive enough because it didnt cover the entire inside but it was pretty good. I am certain that the 7x7 will get the job done.

    I had about 3 inches of a 5 gallon bucket of very find creosote crystals. No big chunks at all. There are still some glazed areas in the chimney (see video) but nothing like it was. Im happy that it something that can be resolved with good habits. I purchased creosote powder from Rutland as well as the spray as well as a log. Im not sold on these but for $20, ill try them per the directions.

    I was able to patch the hole inside the flue with concrete. The smaller hole at the top was about an inch long and half inch wide and was uncoverable because it was almost upside down. I really dont think the super fast drying concrete would have worked. That will just have to be ok.

    I think I may fire it back up this weekend. The new brush wont be here until later next week. Im going to seal the stove pipe outlet and then seal where the pipe goes into the flue. That should take care of any air leaks. Its the Rutland 2000 degree stuff.

    Ok, check out these, let me know what you think. Thanks!

    Post sweep Video.....


    Flue Video Post patch......
  21. CHeath

    CHeath Member

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    Ok it's buttoned up, chimney is clean and swept, hole patched in the chase, loose creo vacuumed out of the chase, high temp gasket sealer sealed around stovepipe outlet and also on the inlet into the thimble, creo powder, spray and fire log. Stovepipe is solid and tight, inserted all the way to the stop lip. I think it's ready.
  22. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Let us know how it works, sounds good.
  23. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    I agree.. Sounds like you have learned a lot about your system, made a few improvements, and also gonna burn much safer as a result
    PapaDave and Shane N like this.
  24. pen

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

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    I look forward to hearing how you make out. Sounds like a much improved system and plan of operation.

    As a note, did you use high temp RTV on the pipe to seal it to the thimble? If so, that stuff might start to stink on you as it's not meant for that much high heat. Generally, furnace cement would be used to seal up any stove pipe joints.

    Good luck!
    Shane N likes this.
  25. CHeath

    CHeath Member

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    I actually used the wrong Rutland stove cement. But nevertheless I used the 2000 degree stuff. I didn't know the difference between stove cement and one you use to ahear the fiberglass gasket lining with. My tube has the red banner and the other has the black banner. I think I should have gotten the one with the black banner but hopefully it will be ok.
    DexterDay and pen like this.

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