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Creosote Pictures

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by quads, Dec 2, 2006.

  1. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    This first picture is of the crunchy type creosote. It forms in my single wall pipe between the stove and the chimney (also in the stove sometimes). I don't think it's too dangerous, since it seems to be burnt already. It's kind of like cinders. It crunches and shatters, and cleans easily from the pipe. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v604/quads/creo-crunchy.jpg

    The second picture is of a paper-like stuff. It doesn't seem too flammable either. It forms inside the main part of the chimney and is almost like black, brittle paper. It mostly flutters to the bottom all by itself. Almost self-cleaning. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v604/quads/creo-paper.jpg

    The third picture is the bad stuff. It's what chimney fires are made of. I usually only get it in the top 6-12" inches of the chimney (you can see where it ends in the picture, at the weird wave-like creosote ring down below). It's almost like glass, but not as brittle. Adheres quite well to the chimney and requires a little scrubbing to get rid of it. Black, but often has a brownish tint. When you hear of creosote dripping out of a pipe, or creeping through bricks and into the wall, this is the stuff. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v604/quads/creo-bad.jpg

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  2. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    Great information for a newbie like myself. I'm wondering however, how much time did it take for the cresote to build up like that at the top of the chimney? What type of wood are you burning?
  3. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    I last cleaned it on October 26th, until today.

    Burned Oak exclusively.

    The creosote buildup you see really wasn't caused by the chimney, the time elapsed, or the wood. It's the stove. The old Klondike could make creosote from kiln-dried lumber soaked in gasoline! But, it's on about the 31st season this year and has become a dear friend. Plus, if I want, I can get 3 fist size splits to last 12 or more hours while I'm gone. No heat of course, but crack the drafts open and away we go again. Don't need heat when I'm not home anyway, and it's kind of nice never to have to re-light the fire. I use one piece of newspaper per month when I re-light it after chimney cleaning. From then on it burns all the time until next chimney cleaning.
  4. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Those are nice photos of creosote. Maybe we can add some to them.

    There's at least one other common form I used to see in uninsulated, single wall stove pipe of an old Franklin I had that burned a lot of maybe not so dry deadfall. I'd describe it as a mostly dry, very fluffy coating, about an inch thick in my case, that completely coated the pipe's inside, but that was easily swept out. I wasn't aware of the need to clean chimney's back then, so in many years, it was only cleaned out on a couple occasions when the single wall rusted through. Consequently, we had a couple exciting chimney fires. Ironically, we still didn't think to clean out the chimney. Maybe I shouldn't be admitting this...

    BTW: I don't believe you really live on the moon (Sea of Clouds, aka: Mare Nubium, which I think actually means dark horse, doesn't it?). From where do you hail?
  5. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Oops, I confused Mare Nubi[um] with Mare Imbrium, but that's still on the Moon, isn't it?
  6. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    (Shaking my head)...
    Dude you don't have a stove...you got a science experiment there! Just out of curiousity? Have you ever experienced a chimney fire before? If you are making that much creosote you might want to keep a "chim-fex" fire extinguisher handy. Good thing you got a solid class A' chimeny by the looks of it. I take it you don't have neighbors close by..???(LOL)

    Cleaning that flue must be a real bear...better you than me (ouch)...
  7. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Dude...first off great pics (definately an asset to show what creo looks like)!

    Now don't take this the wrong way...but:
    That creosote is formed by the manner of operation I would say....to each is to own.
    Thanks for the post...great topic for discussion!

    On a scale 0f 1-10 (1="ultra-paranoid, scrubbing the flue every week" 10="on the ragged edge flirting with Satan's cigarette lighter")....you get the "10" score in my book after looking at those pictures...you have way more faith than I...thanks for sharing with the forum. Good post!
  8. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    To quote Mo Heat:
    I applaud you for sharing your experience...
    That is in the spirit of this forum...sharing experience with those that want to learn more and can benefit from it!
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Hell, that stuff ain't nothing. Here is the pic of my chimney last year that made the Hall of Fame and got used by the webmaster as an example:

    Attached Files:

  10. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Brother Bart...Nice pics....
    ..But I beg to differ...your chimney(while it does have potential of becoming "Satans' cigarette lighter") only would "scale between 5-8" on my previous mention scale. While that creosote could lead to a "Stage ONE chimeny fire"..it still has a long way to go to get to "stage Two" (like the one above...ready to get to "stage 3").

    Stage 3 is when "the boys" show up to "offer assistance" with the assistance of this fine tool:
    ...lol

    Attached Files:

  11. CountryGal

    CountryGal Feeling the Heat

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    I'm having my stove and chimney cleaned this Friday. I have noticed less draft and I can't keep the glass clean at all. I am anxious to see what they say since we had our first fire 10/31/2006. Our wood had been here over a year but we had to buy more and I am concerned about the moisture content.
  12. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    BB,

    that's why (for peace of mind) when I installed mine I cleaned the chimney and, to be certain there's no fire inside my terra cotta flue liner, I instead ran a 1-piece SS liner all the way through the chimney to the top AND used 1/2" insulation around it.
  13. juliodog

    juliodog New Member

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    I just breplaced a 70s vintage silver dollar saver wood furnace made in allenton wi with a used klondike made nby hawkinson in wisconsin rapids wi. if it is the same model as you have let me know .have only fired it a few times this year, but seems to be fairly clean burn if i keep the stack temp at 300 or better (very little smoke) also have fabricated a stainless shelf that sits on the inside rail about 3/4 of the way up the inside of the fire box in effect creating a lower and upper chamber with only 6 inch open to the upper chamber in the front of the firebox this helped a lot with getting a good clean burn . your thoughts and advice appreciated
  14. Freeheat

    Freeheat Minister of Fire

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    OK you guys have scared the SH%& out of me, I read alot of post and would never have thought to see creosot like that from dried wood. Is the stove part of the problem or the pipe . The pipe that was installed
    in my house was SS Insulated and little to no buildup at the first cleaning.
  15. pen

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

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    The first picture of the "crunchy creosote" is what I have found after seeing a chimney fire. I bet that's in the part closest to the stove since you have a mini chimney fire there all the time.

    I've burned my share of old smoke dragons and while they do produce more creosote in the chimney, I'd say this is a bit excessive. I think I'd be cleaning this chimney more often. Even w/ a good chimney what is seen here is a damn lot of fuel if it were ever to really take off. But, if you are comfortable it is of course your home.

    pen
  16. geardoc

    geardoc Member

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    Wow, I get about a cup full after a whole burning season....
  17. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Yes, that is the same place that my stove came from.

    I never keep my stack that temp, only stoke it up when needed. With this big old stove I can't keep the temp that high or it would drive us out of the house.

    My stove was built with a smoke shelf/baffle already permanently welded in it. So possibly yours is a different model. Either way, the old stove is going to make some creosote. Keep your chimney cleaned.
  18. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    It's the stove. An old stove, 7 cubic foot firebox, and I keep it choked down a lot. I can make creosote from kiln dried lumber with it. Chimney is SS insulated, triple wall/air cooled, or whatever it's called.
  19. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Yes, the crunchy creosote is from the single wall pipe on the stove. That's the creosote that helps heat my house on the colder days. Saves on wood too.

    Well, excessive maybe, but it is hard for you to tell exactly how much creosote I make with the old stove just from a picture of the very top of the chimney, a little bit on a spatula, and three small pieces! HAHA! I am not afraid. I have never once had a chimney fire of the class that Dad often did when we were kids, and I never will. And this is one of Dad's stoves! Eventually the brick chimney at Dad's house couldn't even be used anymore because the creosote seeped right out through the bricks after it had been heated up and cracked so many times.

    Creosote doesn't scare me, I respect it and have a system for dealing with it. It really doesn't get too bad, with nice dry wood and in the middle of January when the big old stove can stretch it's legs a little bit. You should see how everybody else around here burns! And they all think I am crazy because I am the only one that cuts/stacks/splits my wood 3-5 years ahead. They all still cut it this Fall to burn it this Winter. Some even cut it today and burn it tonight, in their box stoves and Round Oaks.
  20. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    From a 45 year old Klondike stove made in Wisconsin Rapids? Sorry sir, but I do not believe you! :) HAHA!
  21. 70marlin

    70marlin New Member

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    Apples & Oranges! A chimney fire is always best avoided. There's a big difference between an air tight secondary air or cat stove and a whole house solid fuel furnace! Vigilance is the name of the game when you’re tying to heat a whole house. “Check your chimney offend!!!!!!!”
  22. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the pics quads, very helpful. I didn't see anything like that in my chimney after the 1'st year, even with less than ideal wood & lots of start-ups. Guess that shows how much safer the newer stoves are. What I saw was mostly grey & fluffy like ash (is that even creo?), with a bit of stuff looking like pic 2 up around the cap. The cap screen had a bit of black coating that looked like maybe the first bits of creo like in pic 3, but not much thickness to it.
    It's easy to make judgements & criticize based on a few bits of info on an anonamous forum, makes some people feel good about themselves I guess. Personally I don't see much fuel for a raging chimney fire there & agree that most who burn the old way will make much more creo than that & never think of cleaning (or come on HDC to talk about it) because they just don't care. Throw wood in stove, make fire, heat house, go take care of all the other stuff that needs doing. My dad still burns a big ole' top-loading beast in the uninsulated basement using dead-standing or downed wood cut that fall. Based on the cracked & spawling brick on the chimney, I'd say he's had a few chimney fires over the years & never even knew it. That man is about as stubborn as they come & I know better than to try to change his methods. He's seen how I do it & will change if HE decides to. I just try to steer him toward the driest wood whenever I get home to help bring some in. He'd think you were nuts too for drying wood 3-5 years.
  23. pen

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

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    Some people make it to 80 years old smoking 3 packs a day. Many do not. The risk that is acceptable to you is your choice. I just feel like sharing my opinion also and by the fact that I clean 5 chimneys (not counting my own) attached to smoke dragons and never seen any of them get nearly that bad at the top so it's not the stove, it's not the wood, but this is a result of having the stove smoulder.

    Additionally, the "puffy" or "crunchy" creosote is evidence that small chimney fires are occuring. It's good fortune that it hasn't spread to the rest of the chimney.

    My concern is I just don't want some newbie looking at the pic of that chimney top and thinking that the normal thing is to let it get that bad. I'm not knocking quad for his choice, just don't want others to think that is acceptable for all applications.

    pen
  24. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for your concern Pen! It is much appreciated! Sometimes it brings a tear to my eye to see how caring complete strangers can be. But rest assured, I have a much better handle on this stove after 25 years of it in my house, than I did with any of the box stoves, trash burners, airtight automatics, or cheap Franklin fireplaces that I had before it. And I even have a better handle on it than Dad did when he had this same stove in his house decades ago, before I inherited it from him when he passed away.

    I agree, much of it is caused by letting the stove smolder. It's the nature of the beast. If I ran that stove so that the pipe was always above 400° in my 1000 square feet house, we would have to live outside where it is cooler.

    DISCLAIMER TO ALL YOU NEWBIES OUT THERE, READ THIS: in case you haven't figured this out already, creosote is a bad thing. I am a professional. Do not try this at home. I posted these pictures 4 years ago to show people what creosote looks like.
  25. pen

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

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    well said. It sounds like a mythbusters is about to start. Maybe we could get them to do one on chimney fire / creosote myths?

    good idea?

    pen

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