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Dumb question about chimney cleaning

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Heidi, Nov 11, 2006.

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  1. Heidi

    Heidi New Member

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    Hi
    I have a Jotul 500 - been installed for about a year. From time to time I can hear the sound of (I guess) creosote deposits dropping down the chimnney pipe - a bit like the sound of a rain stick! Where does this collect? Also, we have cleaned the chimney today and can find no evidence of deposits in the fire, but they must be going somewhere and need clearing out. Any useful ideas?
    Thanks

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  2. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

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    Hi Heidi. and welcome.
    I also get the same thing, sounds like glass tinkling down the liner. I'm not sure about your stove, but if it has a top baffle, it could be that it is collecting on top, and then burning off afterwards. In my case, I thought this was a big creosote problem too, but after it happened the first few times last year I climbed up and checked the pipe and it was clean. I also noticed that it usually happens during the first big fire in the morning, or after getting things roaring again after letting the fire die down. I now believe that it is a thin film of ice that is building up inside the top few inches of my liner. My liner extends about 18 inches above my masonry chimney, and the combination of being out in the cold air, a cooler overnight burn, the odd bit of wood not as dry as I'd like, etc. is causing condensation and ice. After a good hot blast, it loosens up and falls down the liner where it simply evaporates on the hot baffle.

    But I don't know this for sure. It could be a little creosote. I think others have mentioned the same phenomenom. Any other takers on this?

    Either way, I've learned to live with it, although it can be a little startling sometimes in a quiet room.
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    What that is is a small chimney fire, burning off the creosote that has accumulated in your ss chimney liner since the last little chimney fire. It sounds just like rain on a tin roof. Basically, it's the sound of the liner heating up. You might find little pieces of black or brown soot on the ground around your chimney, shaped like the contours of the liner.

    IMO, it's a natural part of wood burning--a good thing.
  4. Heidi

    Heidi New Member

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    Good news - thank for that. Do you know where all the deposits go? Do they collect in the 45 degree angle joining the liner to the fire - along with any crud from cleaning the chimney? I don't need to try and find a way to clean it then? While we're on the subject of cleaning - can anyone recommend the maintenance/cleaning for the Jotul that I can do (ie so I don't have to pay loads of money to someone in here in France to do it)? The manual is a little vague with regard to this.
    Thanks
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Actually, the deposits burn off. What you're hearing is not chunks of creosote hitting the liner, but simply the liner metal moving around in response to the heat. Most of your creosote accumulation (and you probably won't have much) will probably be near the top of the chimney, because the cold air surrounding the protuding end of the chimney makes it condense on the liner wall. Clean your chimney once or twice a year and you should be OK.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, you might be able to do the cleaning yourself. At the least, will requiring purchasing some equipment like brushes and a shop vacuum. If it needs to be cleaned from the outside, it may need a ladder. What kind of wood are you burning? About how much did you go through last season?

    It would be easier to describe the process if you can tell us more about the installation and the chimney or stovepipe. A picture or two would also be helpful. However, if it has never been cleaned it might be worth it to hire a good pro to come and clean it. Watch the pro carefully and have him (or her) show you how much creosote they removed.

    What part of France are you in? What do they charge for a chimney sweeping?
  7. Heidi

    Heidi New Member

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    We have got up on the roof and cleaned the chimney - seemed to be pretty clean, but we were just concerned that any deposits we did dislodge may be stuck somewhere we can't reach and cause a blockage or fire hazard.

    I live in the SW of France between Biarritz and Bordeaux. The trouble with this area is that it is pretty much miles away from civilisation and the local 'professionals' tend to run businesses that offer Chimney Sweeping, Electrical Installations, Gardening, Baby Sitting and Digger Work. As you can imagine - I'm not keen to use them. We had the fire installed by a decent Jotul outlet - but they are miles away - worth it for the job of putting in a large investment like the stove, but not for a health/hearth check.

    Last year we burned between 8 and 10 cubic metres of wood over a 6 month period - only hard woods (the names of which I have forgotten in the English language).

    Sorry to waffle on . . . .
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That's between two and three full cords, according to my calculations (1 cubic meter = .276 cords)
  9. CK-1

    CK-1 Feeling the Heat

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    I want to piggy back off of Heidi's questions about chimney cleaning. As I read here and other places about chimney cleaning, some people say that if you have a full s/s liner connected to your stove/insert, you don't have to pull it out to clean it...

    In reading this thread, it seems all of the creosote that falls inside the stove during cleaning can be burned away.. is this true?...


    Or.. does the insert/free standing stove has to be pulled out and vacuumed on the inside after the chimney is cleaned?...
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Any creosote that falls directly into the stove can be cleaned out or burned. However, if you get stuff accumulating on the baffle or in a section of stove pipe, like an elbow or a horizontal run, then you need to clean it out as well. A propertly installed SS liner will have a cleanout that allows you to clean the chimney without doing anything to the stove. That's not always possible. Having never owned an insert, I can't say, but if I were designing one, I'd make it so that the "contents" of the chimney could be brushed directly into the firebox.

    Probably the first time you do it, you will want to take the stove or insert out just to see what happened to all the crap.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    OK, that is enough wood to want to clean the chimney. What is the wood called in French? Yes, debris will accumulate in the horizontal parts of elbows and pipe runs. They should be cleaned when the chimney is cleaned. The amount of debris will give an indication of how the stove system is burning. You can disassemble the flue pipe that connects to the stove. This will be somewhat messy, so be prepared. Cover the floor and furniture nearby and have an extra pair of hands ready. I't very important to understand how the pipes join with each other, especially if there is a transistion from one style (say double-wall) to another (say classA chimney). That's why I asked for a description. Sometimes they twist apart instead of screw together. If the pipe goes into a chimney thimble, it may need to be recaulked with stove pipe cement after reinstalling.

    Edit - parallel posts with Eric.
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