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Great new site, guys - got two questions. . .

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by bobschueler, Nov 18, 2005.

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  1. bobschueler

    bobschueler New Member

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    I scanned as much of the archived questions as I could and did a search as well and couldn't find anything. Here's my situation:

    I recently installed a Hearthstone Heritage stove. By necessity, I have 2 90's and 2 15's in the chimney design. Total rise is about 20'. Inside is double-wall stovepipe going to double-wall Selkirk chimney pipe and it was all fitted tightly and collar-banded as well. Seems like I've got good draft, plus it's windy here where I live.

    Here's my dilemma. I fired up the stove a few weeks ago and yesterday, climbed my roof and did an inspection both topside, as well as at my T - and the inside length of my chimney seems to be covered with resin/tar pretty much the entire length, and the cap is starting to drip the stuff!! After only three weeks?? Something's obviously wrong here - or is it?

    I've read/researched as much as I could and I try to run as hot of fire as I can, I seem to have good airflow, my wood is seasoned hardwood. I think my chimney may be getting too cool too quickly but I wanted to defer to the experts. What do I do?

    Next question - with tar obviously a BAD thing, what type of equipment will I need to clean out my chimney and where do I get it. No sweeps in the area so it'll be a DIYer for me. I'll gladly pay more for quality equipment - any suggestions, recommendations on brush rigidity and techniques?

    Thanks for your help.

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  2. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    I suspect elkimmeg will be along shortly to weigh in on this and correct me if I'm wrong, but if you only have a 20' rise with two 90* bends you may need more height. I think you have to subtract 4 feet from your 'effective height' for each 90*. If I'm right then your effective height is less than 12 feet.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Bob, is this flue mostly outdoor? Creosote builds up more rapidly in cool stacks.
  4. bobschueler

    bobschueler New Member

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    OK, size and location - can you give me the math on the length as someone else did the calcs for me and said I'd be OK. What length do I need and what's that based on?

    The pipe is located in mostly unconditioned space - again, my concern from the onset, but was told that shouldn't be a problem with packed chimney pipe (using Selkirk).

    Two more questions:

    What temp do I want to be maintaining on the stove?

    If pipe is too cool - it's now stuck where it is permanently, so can I insulate it further?

    I hate learning the hard way - UGG!

    Thanks for all your replies!
  5. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    I'm sorry I can't give you the math or answer your other questions. I am regurgitating what I've read in elkimmeg's posts and hoping my memory is serving me well.

    I can see he is online, but he hasn't made it over to this forum yet. I'll bet he'll be here soon.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    [quote author="bobschueler" date="1132370567"]I scanned as much of the archived questions as I could and did a search as well and couldn't find anything. Here's my situation:

    I've read/researched as much as I could and I try to run as hot of fire as I can, I seem to have good airflow, my wood is seasoned hardwood. I think my chimney may be getting too cool too quickly but I wanted to defer to the experts. What do I do?
    --------

    I think some of this related to the time of year and the fact that everything is new. It is a regular thing for "mini" chimney fires to occur and turn a thin layer of tar into dust...which then serves to insulate and protect the pipe from additional tar buildup.

    With a very thin layer like you have, the best bet might be using some of the anti-creosote chems along with some hot burns....a controlled chimney fire. Get it rippin' and then control the air.

    I suspect it is a very thin layer, again easily finding that smooth new (and cold) surface to land upon.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I wouldn't get too stressed out about it yet. If the cap is outside in 20 deg. weather it's bound to condensate and drip until it gets hot. A stove thermometer would probably help. I'm not sure about the Hearthstone, but we have an average running temp of about 500-550 on the cast iron stove top. If I move the thermometer to the metal stack (single wall part) I get roughly the same reading.

    Have your fires so far been mostly break in fires? Have you let the stove burn for many hours at a time? Short fires will produce more creosote. Creosote vapors will condense in cool pipes when there is a slow or short burn. How much smoke is coming out of the chimney after the stove is up to temp? There should be none or very little visible smoke. Also, how were the fittings joined? If this is eVent pipe, then Selkirk says to have the male end installed toward the chimney. (If one is using standard stove pipe, then the crimped end is installed so that it is always towards the stove). - Hope that helps a bit.
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Thanks to Craig for weighing in. I wasn't going to recommend lighting that chimney off. All hell would have broken loose here. Craig has the credentials.

    On the subject of creosote removers though, a few words. Since our prime mover is "low tech" creosote is a way of life. It is for the high tech stoves to. Those start up fires generate a bunch of it. When you use the catalyst products use the liquid, not the granules. Starting with a cold stove get your kindling burning pretty good and when you add your first couple of splits spray the heck out of them. Twenty pumps or so. It won't put out the fire. After that shoot your reload splits with five or ten shots and like Craig said, let'er rip. The flue has to get over 275 degrees for the stuff to work. In other words, coat the flue with the start up fire and then put the stuff to work with your regular burn. If you have a class three creosote glaze in the flue all the brushing in the world ain't gonna get it out. You either burn it out with the controlled chimney fire or the anti-creosote chemical will soften it so that you can brush it out. To soften it takes a few fires.

    Get the stuff at Wal-Mart. They get six dollars and change for the Rutland product where other places get eleven bucks for it.
  9. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Detail your setup how it is configured from yhe stove collar to the chimney cap. Then post your model and if you know it a link so I can review your manual and also the exact model of the chimney pipe to be reviewed. Before I spout off I want some facts.
    You would not the first one to get bad advice seems there is plenty out there to go around. What I read here so far I agree. I thinking on the terms to what Mo was telling you
  10. Dozerjim

    Dozerjim New Member

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    Dont know about your problems but the guys here are top notch and they will answer your questions.
  11. bobschueler

    bobschueler New Member

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    Elkimmeg - I'll need a day or two to get back to you on that. I'll get specs for you and post a .pdf with a less-than-perfect drawing with dimensions for your perusal.

    Craig - that makes good, logical horse-sense. I 'juiced' the wood yesterday with some Rutland spray (about 4 oz as directed on bottle) and just took a look up my chimney and the tar now has a soot coating. Does this nullify my previous concerns and confirm what you said? Additionally, do I need to now sweep the soot out?

    On the fires - It's been cold here, and my fire has been kept rippin' consistently for two weeks. That much was covered in mfr's stove useage specs.

    My pipe has been installed according to mfr's specs. Pipe has label w/arrows pointing which end is up, each section snug, secured and clamped. All parts are Selkirk.

    Yep, I'm a newbie, but at least you guys are kind (so far, LOL).

    Plus I'm just enjoyin' the heck out of not having to use my rip-off gas utility to heat my house.

    Thank you all for your wisdom.

    Bob
  12. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    Bob,

    you could purchase a special "rotary" wire/cable brush to help with creosote removal. You use a power drill along with the brush and rod to rotary clean the build-up.

    I would be willing to bet your creosote is a combination of poor combustion efficiency, caused by poor fuel or improper settings of your dampers and air controls (no disrespect inteneded, you said you were a newbie so you may have to learn the proper techniques yet) and a colder than normal interior wall of the chimney. Outdoor chimneys are often harder to deal with than interior chimneys. If you will not be putting an insulated chase around the chimney I recommend you work on your technique to get the flue warm before you load and damp down your stove.

    You may have to "prime" your chimney by burning only some paper at first. You may have to burn paper two or three times before you start building your kindling fire and then start adding splits. When you do add splits make sure they are small and dry and burn it hot. And do not spare the kindling. Get a hot fire going and a good bed of coals before loading your regular splits.

    Most of the time the problems you are describing are directly related to the wood itself. You say you have seasoned firewood but that is a very subjective term. It means differenct things to different people. I have found that modern non-cat clean-burning stoves need almost perfect wood to operate properly. Catalytic models can handle less-than-perfect wood a little better. But I usually discover that what is called "seasoned" is not seasoned enough for todays modern clean-burning stoves.

    Good luck,
    Sean
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