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Do I have a creosole problem or is this normal?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by MoBigs, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. MoBigs

    MoBigs New Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    I'm pretty new on the site and have been reading lots of the threads here and finding valuable information which is fantastic. I even built a rail kit for my Harman Accentra Insert with instructions found in this thread from glenc0322. Thanks again glenc0322!

    So after tackling the Harman Accentra that is in our family room on the main level of my house, I've moved on to the Harman P38 I have in my basement where I spend a lot of time in my home office.

    In the process of cleaning the P38, I took the opportunity to snap a few photos of some spots that have some creosole buildup. I'm not sure if I've got a problem or if this is normal? I've always had the "year end" cleaning done by a local business, but I'm trying to save some money (I know, welcome to the club) so I'm starting to do the year end cleaning myself. Thanks ahead of time for bearing with me. :)

    Here are the "potential" problem areas. I would love your feedback on whether I should be worried about this or not?

    I've only burned New England Premium Wood Pellets in this stove and the Accentra.

    Burn Pot
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Top Left Corner

    [​IMG]


    Top Right Corner

    [​IMG]



    Backside of bottom door where you access the ash pan.

    [​IMG]


    Close Up

    [​IMG]

    Blower Cover Latch (behind ash pan)
    [​IMG]

    Thanks Guys!

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  2. newf lover

    newf lover Minister of Fire

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    Some people say there shouldn't be any creosote and you have a problem. I have a P68 and have creosote build up in those exact areas. I do not have a problem until the end of the year after I've burned on low for awhile. My stove burns fine so I'm not that concerned. When we had a warm spell recently, I took a putty knife and it was like cutting butter, it came right off.
    gbreda likes this.
  3. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello

    I have seen worse, yours is not bad. If you have an OAK (Outside Air Kit) and live in a damp area. (By a lake, ocean or there is morning dew) Then the OAK will bring that damp air into the burn pot and exacerbate the ash build up. Only a system that warms and dries out the burn air like Selkirk DT venting can vastly improve that.

    Attached Files:

  4. imacman

    imacman Guest

    We've had this discussion before. There is no proof or data that confirms this. There is no guarantee that using the DT venting will help this, unless you've found new "proof".
    Delta-T likes this.
  5. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    It helped tremendously in my situation, and I hear it is more of an issue in the North East from one of my National Sales managers.
    iceguy4 likes this.
  6. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    how frequently do you clean the area under the burnpot? looks like you're burning a lil bit rich, so it could be moisture, but more likely some airflow restriction somewhere...when you have no igniter its easy to "delay" cleaning that area. Add to that the running on low for a while at the end of the season and I think you'll get what you have there. I say no worries...is not tha bad. P38 is super tough...like Rocky in Rocky1 and 2....maybe Rocky 4 (that was the one with Dolf right? "I break you"...but he didn't).
    stoveguy2esw likes this.
  7. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

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    not something i would worry about.
  8. slls

    slls Minister of Fire

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    Normal for a Harman.
  9. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Exactly like my P-38 after extended low burns in the fall and spring. It will however burn off quickly after a hotter burn .
    After 7 yrs use I pulled (replaced) the auger ,and cleaned the tube back to the slider plate. I found creosote well past the second flight and what I thought could lead to back burn (eventual hopper fire)?
    Low burning a P-38 creates a hot burn at a lower level nearer the tip and auger tube . I believe it was the cause of why the auger tip disintegrated.
    Anyway , I think low burning isn`t exactly an ideal burning situation but the P-38 lacks auto start so you don`t have a lot of options but to turn it down when it`s not real cold. Like everything else in life, there is a compromise somewhere.
    MoBigs and gbreda like this.
  10. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Don't worry about it. Looks normal. Dont listen to these guys that clean the stove after every handful of pellets.:) use it man!
    DoWnAqT, mattyice5290, MoBigs and 2 others like this.
  11. hossthehermit

    hossthehermit Minister of Fire

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    Does the creosole go all the way up the chimbley ??????
    ScotL, SmokeyTheBear and Hoot23 like this.
  12. Hoot23

    Hoot23 Minister of Fire

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    Mine did that on certain brands of pellets, Green Supreme, and I think it was Geneva.
  13. MoBigs

    MoBigs New Member

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    Thank you very much for all the feedback guys. I'm thinking based on all of the responses, my issue is a combination of running the stove on low at the end of the season and possibly a bit of restricted air flow due to a good cleaning needing to be done. I'm going to finish giving it a good cleaning and keep an eye on it when I fire it up this fall. I really appreciate the responses and look forward to learning more from you all of you.

    Mo
    gbreda and SmokeyTheBear like this.
  14. gbreda

    gbreda Minister of Fire

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    Did my deep clean and cap off 2 days ago. Same thing in the same places. Happens after the final month or so of burning where I might burn 2-3 times max and they are low burns for a short time with humidity on the rise. If you want to get rid of it, fill the hopper, crank it up an burn it off- then hide from the family because its so hot in the house :). Dont worry about it. Clean and cap it off from the humidity.

    BTW, after my first 2 years of just capping the exhaust vent and resulting in some rust in the firebox, I now plug EVERYTHING with rags and store the firebricks in the ash pan outside of the stove. Outside vent gets capped, rags in OAK intake tubing or at the stove intake port (probably the biggest help here), exhaust tube behind ash pan, exhaust at the T AND 2 tubs of Damp Rid in the firebox (1 in the burn pot and 1 in the ash pan area). Overkill yes but bone dry ! Just remember to take all of these out in the fall ;)
  15. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    What the heck is creosole? Sounds like something spicy:)
  16. slls

    slls Minister of Fire

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    Too low a vent temp, will creosote the vent pipe. I think Eric said it needed to be at least 165 deg F, or something like that.
  17. MoBigs

    MoBigs New Member

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    Ok, I deserve that... I told you guys I was new to this! :p
  18. MoBigs

    MoBigs New Member

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    Ok, so another new thing I'm picking up on from this reply is that I should I should be "capping" my stove and... I should be putting "Damp Rid" in the firebox and burnpot... I've NEVER done either of these things. _g By "capping", I'm guessing from what you've described, you are essentially sealing off any opening that leads to the firebox by stuffing a rag into that opening... correct?

    Should you do this with any stove when it's not in use on a seasonal basis?
    Thanks,
    Mo
  19. gbreda

    gbreda Minister of Fire

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    Yes, if you are in a damp/humid area then it should be capped. My exterior vent is capped with a rubber end cap and secured with a hose clamp. If you have an OAK, that should be plugged as well.

    The rags I refer to are all internal. As I mentioned its overkill, but I have no more rusting since doing this.
  20. MoBigs

    MoBigs New Member

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    Ok well... I have plenty of rags around, I just need to go find some damp rid...

    Thanks again to all of you for your advice/help, much appreciated!
  21. gbreda

    gbreda Minister of Fire

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    Ahhh, just realized you have an insert. So yes, if you slide the unit out and plug the intake and exhaust ports with rags, you should be all set. Damp Rid in the firebox (some put in the hopper as well) will seal the deal.

    Just remember to remove the rags before firing up in the fall ! ! :)
  22. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hi Pete
    We found a better reason in another post
    Selkirk DT does warm the fresh air coming into the burn pot. So there is no cold air mass meeting the warm moist air mass in the stove to produce rain! That is an exaggeration but no moisture precipitates out causing the ash to stick together like the ash turds in the Harman burn pots. These turds are on each side because that is where the cooler OAK air meets the warm moist air around the fire! With Selkirk DT there is no cold air to cause the moisture to precipitate out causing the ash to not stick together!

    In the case of my Astoria being in a basement, the caked ash at the bottom of the burnpot is where the cooler moist air from the OAK met the warm moist air under the burn pot so moisture precipitated out causing the caked ash! After the Selkirk DT install, no more caked ash!
  23. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Some people around here seem to have the opinion that Selkirk DT is better for your stove than other venting... It is not. It doesn't dry out air coming in and it doesn't do anything to improve combustion than installing a regular OAK would do. Yes, cut one very much bigger hole... That's the feature and benefit, all in one.
  24. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    You are correct Scott it does not dry the fresh air, but it warms the fresh air coming in so you do not have a cold air mass from outside coming in contact with warm air inside, creating rain. Well rain is an exaggeration but some moisture precipitating out causing the ash to stick together more. I must say it only happens when running the stove on low heat settings and on damp early mornings. So many people are not effected and may not see that problem. Also, I have seen that problem more on stoves with a manual damper rod and more on stoves installed in a basement where the air can be more damp.
  25. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    What you are explaining about warm air and cold air makes no sense. Warm air and cold air don't make rain. In extreme conditions it may make wind. Rain from air masses is totally different and has to do with saturation and depressurization. Dude, were talking about air going through a tube at a pretty good clip to it's final destination in the burn pot. Let's just say for example that the air coming in was 50::F and the exhaust going out was 300::F...and let's say that the air coming in was actually able to heat up...what? 5::F? 20::F? ...that would also mean that the exhaust was able to cool even more...Sounds like a creosote problem in the vent...wouldn't ya say?

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