Don't need to clean chimney much with cat insert, s.s. liner?

WinterWarmLg Posted By WinterWarmLg, Apr 5, 2013 at 1:50 PM

  1. WinterWarmLg


    Apr 5, 2013
    Southeastern PA
    We've got a Vermont Castings WinterWarm Large insert. Maybe 10 years old. We burn only seasoned hardwood, have a full flexible stainless steel liner inside a masonry chimney that is sandwiched between the family room and the garage, catalytic combustor. We tend to burn fairly hot (too hot, have to replace some warped pieces this year). Hubby says that every time he inspect the chimney, he just sees "fluffy flyash". Skeptical me checks from below through the damper, and I feel/see/get pretty much the same thing. The only time we get gunk on the chimney cap screen is when the combustor quits - when that has happened, we also get some lightweight gunk on the ground, alerting us to replace the combustor.

    Anybody have similar cat stove/wood/s.s. liner - and little to no creosote? I've read through some of the forums, and it seems that this combo results in an "ungunky" chimney, but I'm a nervous Nelly, and wonder if we should clean it anyway - like now, when we need to replace the upper fireback. Appreciate any feedback!
  2. mellow

    Resident Stove Connoisseur

    Jan 19, 2008
    Salisbury, MD
    Sounds like you are burning correctly, and under those conditions you should have very little to no creosote buildup. I clean my liner every year, I could probably get away with not cleaning it for several years, but the peace of mind of knowing it is done is priceless.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  3. rideau

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 12, 2012
    southern ontario
    Don't know if I am interpreting this correctly. Are you saying that in ten years you haven't cleaned the liner? Personally, I'd clean it initially after one year, assuming on monthly visual inspection that all looked well. If I had extremely little residue, I might go two years before cleaning again, then would be guided by what I had found then. Anytime I saw "gunk", I'd be sweeping.
  4. charly


    I'm sure Dennis will chime in here as I believe burning his Fireview Cat stove he hasn't cleaned his chimney in a number of years.. First year with my cat stove, insulated flex liner in a masonry chimney and all looks well, even my cap looks good,, full heating season and will clean it just to see at the end of the burning season,,, here it's April and still burning,, I like it!;lol
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  5. Jags

    Moderate Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    Northern IL
    Please explain "light weight gunk on the ground"
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
    Minister of Fire

    Feb 14, 2007
    Like Jags, I'd be interested to know about that lightweight gunk that is on the ground. I'd also be interested in what is "too hot?"

    We've had our Woodstock Fireview for 6 full winters now. We did clean the chimney after 2 years of burning to get about a cup of soot and no creosote. That was 4 years ago and we have not cleaned the chimney since. We'll check things over when we do the annual cleaning and if it needs, we will sweep the chimney. If not, it will go another year.

    The key is not only the catalyst but also burning good fuel. Ours is typically burned after being split and stacked anywhere from 3 to 7 years.
  7. aansorge

    Minister of Fire

    Aug 12, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    I clean mine every year and get basically nothing. Dry wood!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  8. gyrfalcon

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 25, 2007
    Champlain Valley, Vermont
  9. gyrfalcon

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 25, 2007
    Champlain Valley, Vermont
    It's not just a cat stove. Mine is non-cat and have the same thing-- no bad creosote, just a cup or two of powder every year, despite not always having perfectly seasoned wood to burn. With a good draft, a good chimney and a good EPA stove, it take some work to build up the nasty stuff. I still have my chimney cleaned every year out of an abundance of caution, but it's fairly clearly I don't really need to.

    If you can easily get a good look yourself up your chimney so you know what's going on in there (I can't), you can probably get away with not having it cleaned every year. Still,whether you do it yourself or have to pay somebody, it seems like a small enough price to pay for serenity...
    firefighterjake likes this.

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