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Pictures of Creosote for this site?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by webbie, Dec 27, 2005.

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  1. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Anyone have any pics of drippy pipes or general creosote formation in pipe or chimney that they would allow me to use in an article here on HearthNet?

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    If the house is still here tomorrow I will go up and take a couple. It will be wet slime. Not the dried stuff. That is if the thirty mile an hour winds die down.
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'd like to help you out, but my current system doesn't seem to produce any creosote.

    However, I would like to know why something that's supposedly so flammable won't burn when you put a match (or a lighter) to a chunk of it when it's out of the chimney. I know full well what happens to it once it lights off under actual battlefield conditions in the chimney, but it's surprisingly hard to ignite all by itself.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I think one of the biggest misunderstandings is between soot and creosote....

    Soot, in my opinion, is two things - fly ash which has settled from the fire and also creosote which has already been burnt and then turns into either granular material or little balls.

    The so-called "dangerous" creosote is the shiny tar substance. This stuff will surely ignite easily in a stovepipe, but it very difficult to ignite when it is condensed on a cold flue tile and is not lit from below with a pre-ignited stovepipe fire. Once it has burned, it turns into "soot" and usually peels off and falls...often clogging elbows, etc.

    I agree that there has been a lot of scare tactics used by the chimney industry throughout the years...not that chimney fires are not real, but just that the marketing departments have gotten a bit carried away "You will hear a sound like a train or a jet plane coming into your house, and then get the women, children and pets out of the house...if you still have a house!"

    Again, this is surely possible, but's wouldn't it be like going to the Volvo dealer and having them show you videos of the worst accidents in history!

    I can assure you that the tarry stuff ignites, and does so wih some ferocity...probably because it is inside a small pipe. In a way, it is like a jet or rocket since it feeds on itself. The key, of course, is a relatively tight installation so it cannot get the air to really burn hot and fast.

    Sometime, for your burning pleasure, take a couple pieces of stovepipe that have been lightly coated with that tar outside, set it up vertical so air can enter and light the bottom with a torch. You will probably be surprised at the amount of combustion that takes place from even a 1/8" deposit.
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'll have to try that, Craig. That's right up there with boiling a pot of water on the range when it's 40 below zero around here, and tossing the water outside. It kind of explodes. I do that for my kids when we start to get cabin fever. You guys over in Western Mass have probably never seen anything nearly that chilly, but for us over here in the Adirondacks, it's pretty routine.

    I've had a few memorable chimney fires in my woodburning career. They get your attention too, but I'd prefer not to get that excited anymore.

    Thanks for the description.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    The wife and I visited Saranac Lake one year and stayed in that nice hotel run by the management students (Paul Smith?). We went skiing and to Lake Placid.

    Cold? Wow, it was cold! Actual temps were up to about 5 degrees but the wind was bitter. We get that for about 3-10 days at the most here, but not all winter. Of course, those that I know way up north say that those temps weed out the "riff-raff". No one looking for an "easy" life is about to like up there!
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I am here to tell you that the "freight train" sound can be real. Me and my neighbor were sitting in his family room chatting when his chimney lit off. Roared like a 747 on takeoff. Sucked his woodstove empty.
  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Bet you have not been on the tarmac when a 747 took off!

    Yes, it can be loud, because it is in effect a giant whistle. You've heard those jerks at the ball game and what they can do with just the wind from their mouth...now imagine a whistle 20 feet long and very wide!

    Was his stove a non-airtight? or, did he not try to choke it until it was too late?
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    You burn a lot of wood in a hurry when it gets below zero and stays there. I've found that wood heat, at least central wood heat like I do it, is a momentum thing. Get on the wrong side of the momentum (which is easy when it's 30 or 40 below), and it's hard to get it back on your side, even after the weather warms up some, for some reason. It almost feels as though the cold from the night before is still passing through the walls and into your house. Weird.

    I'd like somebody to explain that to me.

    Last year, as some of you may recall, I burned 21 full cords of good hardwood. Over the summer and so far this winter I've made some major gains in efficiency to the system and I'm guessing that we'll be in the 15-cord neighborhood for this season (he said smugly in late December). Considering how much I love to cut, split, stack and burn wood, that would be just about right, I think.
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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  11. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Well, you're in luck. 60F here the other day so I shut down the stove for cleaning and put the wife's new digital camera to use. I snapped a couple of representative photos...have more on disk if you think these are useful. I don't know if you would really term this "creosote" as opposed to "ash" but have a look...it is really dry flaky stuff and after the pipe is cleaned it looks somewhat wet, but the stuff is really not.


    Corey

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  12. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    and here

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  13. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    and after I guess it looks pretty bad in the photos, but this stuff is really only in the last few feet of pipe...as the focus of the camera fades out, so does the chimney gunk.

    Corey

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  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    One of 'em looks pretty good....the flakely stuff....

    What kind of liner is that - it looks like thick steel!

    I still could use some "tar" cresote if anyone runs across any!
  15. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Here is everybodys old friend "tar" creosote. I took them yesterday like I said I would but didn't post them. We didn't have any sun light so I had to use the flash and wasn't too crazy about the result. After a couple of cords it is about the thickness of a couple of sheets of paper and will either light off pretty soon or start to flake.

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  16. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Craig,

    That is the last couple of feet of my stainless steel liner...it's 6" schedule 40 steel pipe...so yep, pretty thick! You are looking at the very top cap closing off the 12" x 12" masonry flue.

    Corey
  17. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Looking good! That's perfect for the pics....

    thanks
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    "Looking good! That’s perfect for the pics...."

    No problem. Always happy to be the poster boy for "Don't try this at home."
  19. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Corey,

    I am intriqued by the Schedule 40 liner. How about some scoop on how it was installed. Stuff like length, weight, how the heck you got it in there, how it is connected to the stove and stuff like that.
  20. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    BrotherBart,

    I could track down some figures for the weight, but basically, I just wanted a chimney cap and I had some 6" pipe on the scrap pile. Sorry I don't remember the exact dimensions, but as a general description, just imagine a 13" x 13" piece of 3/8" plate steel with a hole in the center and a piece of 6" steel pipe about 24" long welded in that. The stainless steel liner connects to the steel pipe, the plate supports the steel on top of the masonry liner and high temp silicone seals the plate to the chimney liner.

    Maybe it sounded like the whole liner is 6" steel in earlier posts - which would weigh several hundred pounds. But just the 24" piece was pretty manageable.

    Corey
  21. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Phew, thanks. Yeah it looked like it was Schedule 40 all the way down. Loved the idea but the mind boggled at the thought of rental on a 60 foot crane for a day.

    Thanks, looks like a great install.
  22. wingnut

    wingnut New Member

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    Started looking into what I will have to do for an install of a ss="spellchecked_word">Osburn</SPAN> 2200 or PE summit (still not sure what one yet) and I found this mess. I have been burning in this open fireplace for 18 years and I have had one chimney fire about 10 years ago. Believe it or not I have it cleaned every year but I think it gets so bad because I keep the damper only open enough to pull the smoke out keeping more heat in. This allows for a cooler stack and more build up. I plan on running 6in insulated ss flex from top to bottom about 22 feet and wondered how hot does the outside of the pipe get? Will I have to get every inch of this creosote off before I run the Pipe? The flue is 10 x 10 clay so I have plenty of room for the insulated 6in. Everything on the chimney seem real solid they even entombed it with extra concrete were it goes up through the atic. I was talking to the son of the man I bought the house from and was telling me that his dad used to have chimney fires on purpose just to clean it up so I know it has seen some ruff use but like I said I think the thing is built like a tank. Iam just starting this project and would like all the advise I can get. I will also be sending more pictures as I go so others may benefit also.

    Thanks

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  23. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    how does this look?

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