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Fireplace chimney cleaning

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by ScottF, Sep 9, 2008.

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  1. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    411
    Loc:
    Southern NH
    I have a question about a standard open fireplace. ( actually I just wanted to use my new avatar (just kidding)) I have a traditional true rumford fireplace that I have burned for years. I will use it just for ambiance this year now that we have a seperate stove.

    A friend of mine who works for the local fire dept told me that you never have to clean a flue in a standard open fireplace because there is no way to restrict the air to the fire and therefore it will never produce creosote. After 9 years of burning I cleaned the flue and only got less than a small cup of creosote from the first 18 feet of the chimney. It would seem as thought he is correct. I only burn dry wood that has been seasoned a year or more. What is the concensus on this? Do you really need to clean the masonry flue of an open fireplace?

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  2. Valhalla

    Valhalla Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    909
    Loc:
    Essex County, New York
    All fuel flues shoud be inspected. The fuel and air ratios can change the buildup and time cycle for cleaning. However, inspect when there is any doubt on the condition. That means all fuel flues should be inspected for condition and buildup, then repaired and cleaned when necessary.

    Safety first, as I have had a chimney fire in my flue 30 years ago. It looked and sounded like a jet engine. I will NEVER repeat it, ever. I repeat - Safety First. Sleep safely.
  3. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
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    2,026
    Loc:
    Western CT
    Generally mine stays very clean even with questionable wood. I try and burn good wood in the fireplace but that really is where I burn some of the punky, undesireable for the wood stove, a bit damp, longer, larger, have to get rid of pieces. Still a very clean flue. Cleaning around the damper and the throat of the flu seems more important than the entire flue.
  4. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    411
    Loc:
    Southern NH
    Thanks CTwoodburner, that is about the same experience I have. Thanks for your reply.
  5. Apprentice_GM

    Apprentice_GM Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Messages:
    237
    Loc:
    Central Coast, NSW, Australia
    I burned in an open fireplace for 2 winters before knocking down the fireplace and chimney - putting a sky window in it's place - and installing a slow cumbustion fireplace between 2 large rooms. The house was 25+ years old and the previous owner had burnt all sorts of crappy non-seasoned wood in it. When I knocked it down, the bricks were covered in black soot, but it wasn't that sticky or glazed looking creosote that I've seen here, as far as I could tell. It was a very thin layer anyway. Neither the previous owner nor myself had ever cleaned the chimney. The chimney was 2x2 bricks in cross section, about 16 foot tall, it went up about 3 foot, then took a sideways 45 degree slant for about 3 foot, then up vertical the rest of the way. I was told that 45 dogleg in it improved the draft, yet all postings here I've read through suggest a long straight section is best for draft (which intuitively sounds right to me to).

    Mind you, we are in a very temperate climate and only burn afternoons and nights during winter - perhaps that combined with the short chimney height means very little creosote buildup as well.

    Here are some pics of the inside of the 25 year old chimney:
    Apprentice_GM chimney removal

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
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