1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Yet Another Creosote Thread

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by mayhem, May 20, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    So here we are, end of season and counting...still burning and burning...been 24x7 this week, hope to put the stove to bed soon so I cna start working on next year's wood.

    Trouble I'm having is very poor efficiency. Slow burning, very smoky and I get massive smoke intrusion into the house when I load. Stove won't get hot enough to do a secondary burn, I'm thinking I've got enough blockage to partially smother the fire, looking at my vent cap I see alot of black, which I take to be creosote buildup...logically if there is some there there is probably a nice lining of it all up and down my stack. Its going to be awhile before I can have it properly cleaned from the rooftop and I'm wondering if anyone here has used any products that have proven effective enough to bother with. I want to try to improve my burning quality and of course want to make sure I don't wreck my stove. Stove is a Morso 3610, its a non-cat EPA stove, less than 1 year old.

    I located two items today, one is called Jiffy Stick, its an anti soot and anti creosote tube of sodium chloride mainly for oil burners, but allegedly can be used for wood stoves as well. The other product is called CLR (or similar initials...its not the calcium lime rust cleaner), which is a log thing...you toss it ina nd let it burn out and then don't use your stove for a few months so it all dries up (store guy's advice, not the box).

    I've heard others here mention tossing in some TSP and others gainsay the advice, so I'm wondering if there is a consensus here on any product...obviously sweeping is the best choice, but its not a viable option for me in the next month and I'd prefer to use the stove than the boiler if I can.

    Thanks.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,425
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    If those products do, indeed, work by making the deposit brittle and flakey (without corroding stove and pipe)- then I would be worried that at the stage you're at, larger pieces of schmutz coming off the inside would totally block the pipe. I've heard anecdote about a sheet of creosote coming loose and just leaning across the flue- then you're basically screwed.
  3. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Messages:
    984
    Loc:
    CT
    you may have just gotten into some wetter wood to if you think there is that large of a build up you should not run the stove any more till it is properly cleaned the other problem it may be is the weather what have the temps been in the berkshiers?
  4. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Messages:
    776
    Loc:
    Middlefield, Ma
    If you have a vent cap with screen around it that may be the biggest problem. The screen loads up with creosote from cool fires, wet wood.etc and our rainy weather cools the upper parts of the chimney which adds to the creosote problem. I just took my cap off but I have an 8" tile chimney. Probably not best if you have a metal chimney. Good luck.
    Ed
  5. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,700
    Loc:
    CNY
    I's recommend you just shut down with the wood burning and call in a chimney sweep. when we had our non EPA stove we'd burn hot hot for 3 minutes twice a day to lock down any creosote buildup...and whenever we had the sweep in he say 'not bad at all'.
  6. stanleyjohn

    stanleyjohn Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Messages:
    474
    Loc:
    southcentral Ct
    Others here have asked me why when i had my ss liner installed and the installers cut away the screen on the vent cap i think you have the answer here.Secondary burn on the three times i used the Harman has worked well!so hoping creosote wont be a problem.
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    28,740
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    Screens in chimney caps are evil.
  8. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Messages:
    997
    Loc:
    Ashfield, MA
    If you see a lot of evidence of creosote buildup in the cap at this point (my opinion) is that none of those chemical treatments will help at all at this time of year. The chimney, cap and stove needs a good thorough cleaning. If you can't get to it now, I don't think I'd run the stove anymore.

    Temps around here are probably real close to what you have in Peru - cool enough that you want to have a fire, but maybe a little too warm to get a real good draft. Next week should be warmer. Maybe the creosote built up recently because of that, or maybe during the season because of the wood you burned - real tough to tell. Either way - I'd really stop burning now, since you know there is a problem, rather than taking a chance.
  9. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    Thanks guys. I'll stop burning till I can get up on the roof and see whats up...or down as the case may be. I do in fact have a screened cap and I got a closer look at it while I was staining my dormer this evening...it looks pretty gunked up. Is there a style or brand of cap that anyone recommends I should use instead of the screened cap? I've had poor draft since day one and I wonder if the cap is part of the problem.
  10. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Messages:
    776
    Loc:
    Middlefield, Ma
    Yup, that is at least one of the problems. Also make sure the chimney extends at least two feet above the any roof portion within ten feet. The 2/3/10 rule for chimneys is the chimney should extend at least 3 ' above the highest point where it passes through a roof, and at least 2' higher than any portion of a building within 10'. Sometimes builders tend to fudge and draft problems are the result.
    Ed

    Edit. If you have a tile chimney, try not using any cap. If metal or you have water running inside causing problems just buy an cap with no screen to keep water out. Course if you have wooden roof shingles I would keep a screen for fire safety.
  11. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    I'll double check, but I think the height is good. Pipe is at least 2-3 feet above the peak of my roof...probably a 5-6' run from the point it exits the roof. Chimney is 100% metal, double wall black pipe inside, triple wall silver throught the roof and outside. I'll see if I cna find a photo I'll toss it up. Roof is standard asphalt roofing shingles.

    I think my draft is partially a problem with the pipe itself, I think I may have some air leakage into the pipe at some of the joints, I know I do at the base where it meets the stove flange because I saw light coming from that area when I lit it last week, so it looks like its a couple tubes of black goop too.

    Can the mesh be removed off my existing cap without mauling it or do I need to replace the cap?
  12. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Messages:
    776
    Loc:
    Middlefield, Ma
    Depending on the gauge, try wire cutters, hacksaw, sabre saw with metal blade, metal cutting disc. Should not be a big problem. Possible LP may have your size and save the hassle.
    Ed
  13. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,670
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    hi mayhem

    i use the csl log every year. using that log is not going to take the place of
    sweeping. some people seem to think that it does nothing. if you ever sweeped your
    chimney yourself you know how hard it is to get some of that thick buildup
    off. what the log does is that helps dry up the creosote faster than letting it set there.
    so how i use it is on the last fire of the season i light a small amount of kindling to get some draft going then throw in the log when the kindling is almost done and close the door. it's suppose to run cool so that the smoke of the log sticks to the creosote. then let the chimney sit for a month then brush. it makes brushing 3 time easier. just don't forget to brush in a month. if you forget and start a fire next year you will probably be calling the fire dept.

    you can learn that from my exp :down:
  14. Tfin

    Tfin New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    556
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Had the same issue as you back during the end of Feb. The cap screen was choked with creosote. Popped it off, scowered it with steel wool, and a perfect draft/burning session was restored.

    I plan on leaving the screen on during the non-burning season (to keep birds/what have you out) and taking it off before the up coming burning season.
  15. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,036
    Loc:
    New Jersey USA
    I figure a screen is necessary to prevent small animals and birds from getting into the chimney. If you take the screen off, how to you keep critters out?
  16. stanleyjohn

    stanleyjohn Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Messages:
    474
    Loc:
    southcentral Ct
    As i said before!the installers cut the screen off before installing.In the 8 years since the house was built i have never had any critter go down the open chimney.Maybe a screen with big gaps like chicken wire would be good enough to prevent birds and other small animals from getting in and prevent creosote build up.
  17. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,425
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    Before I put in my insert, I started the first fire of the season and went out to get something- leaving the wife in charge- after about an hour. 20 minutes later I get a frantic call- a squirrel was evidently on the shelf in there and dropped down into the fireplace. It climbed the fire screen and jumped straight across the room onto the couch.

    At this point- she was holed up in the bathroom with our 2 little dogs and a fireplace shovel screaming for me to come rescue them. (I kick in the door with BB gun ablazin'- yeeehawww)

    The joys of a log home- they think it's a big tree and can run right across the side, or up and down the walls.
  18. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,036
    Loc:
    New Jersey USA
    Well, I have a regular frame and brick home and I got a squirrel in my basement stove when burning coal put enough acid up the stack that the rain cover/screen blew off in a wind. I noticed and decided to do nothing. Then one night coming home from the air port, wife was gone to visit our daughter, I went directly to the basement to stoke up a new coal fire. I put in some paper and small hard wood pieces to get the heat needed to ignite anthracite (hard) coal. Then while setting at my computer I hear something banging around in my stove, wonder "WHAT??" the fire isn't hot enough to be popping, I opened the side door (no window on this stove) and out pops a smoking squirrel, not a very happy one I'm sure. Well, it was late and I really need to get to bed, so I put some sunflower seeds in my shop room and went up stairs. When I came back down 30 minutes later I crept over to the door to my shop and flashed a light in and could see some seeds had been eating, so I closed the door and thought I'd come back in the morning and get him outside somehow. In the morning I came down with a laundry basket, went into the small room and started poking around, out onto the floor comes the squirrel, and "gazam" over his body goes the laundry basket, next I slip a piece of cardboard between the floor and the basket, and out we go. I dropped him/her in the snow and "zip" gone....

    Now this squirrel must have found the heat escaping up my chimney attractive, fell down three stories to the clean out for that masonry chimney clean-out at the basement floor level, hence back up the, I assume cement block below the entry of the stove chimney which is about 4' off the floor, into the horizontal tile run to the stove pipe and into my airtight stove.

    So there's a true story, an existence proof for my concern.
  19. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Messages:
    545
    Loc:
    southern Ohio
    Jerry,

    After being in the chimney and stove, I assume it was a "black" or at least dirty grey squirrel? ;-)

    I really clogged up our pipe when we had warm weather back in March. Conclusion? That kind of weather is when the pellet stove is worthwhile. A little warmer and then the AC/heat pump is probably the most cost effective.

    Ken
  20. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    So I went home last night with every intention of climbing up on the roof and scrubbing the crap out of the cap and peering down to see just how bad my chimney was...but mother nature had other plans and I was greeted with a torrential downpour instead. So I did what anyone else would have done in my place...I grabbed a rubber mallet and proceeded to smack the stove pipe all up and down the length of the stack inside the house...which is about 20 feet or so that I can reach. A bunch of crap rained down from above, and I yanked the pipe off the top of the stove and shop-vacced the pile of junk out of the pipe. There wasn't all that much there considering the length of the pipe so I grabbed a flashlight and peered up the stack...clean as can be and I could see daylight at the top, indicating that the vent is not totally blocked off. So this got me to wondering what else it might be...which led me to examine the white filter media thats inside the stove...sure enough the thing was plugged solid with ash and soot. I pulled it out of the stove and lit a fire...not a puff od smoke comes into the living room now.

    I have to wonder exactly what the purpose of this thing is though...is it an emissions scrubber that needs annual replacement or cleaning? The manul doesn't seem to mention it as a maintenance item. It must do someting to help the stove retain heat internally though because even a roaring fire didn't really get the stove overly hot...which tells me alot of my heat was going right up the stack.

    Ideas? Comments?

    Thanks for your help.
  21. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Messages:
    984
    Loc:
    CT
    I think you are talking about the insulating blanket it helps to hold the heat down in the box for secondary combustion. was it colder last night then it had been in the past?
  22. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    Correct, the stovetop temps barely brok 300 degrees, despite a roaring fire, normally I run around 600 or so stovetop temps in the winter. I figured it was there to help scrub the exhaus and the help hold down some of the heat...but mine ws so full of ash and soot tht it wasn't allowing any exhaust to pass at ll. Do you know if this is a cleanable part or a straight annual replacement item?
  23. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Messages:
    984
    Loc:
    CT
    you can vacum it but be carefull not to rip it i would find it odd that would be causing most of the problem it sounds more like you have a poor draft due to temp or that you have gotten into some wetter wood that blaket being dirty should not prevent the draft.
  24. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Messages:
    776
    Loc:
    Middlefield, Ma
    I tend to agree with stoveguy. You may just have some wet or wetter wood and even if your fire is roaring you are busy making steam from the wood which will keep the temps down. Go buy a small bunch of wood sold in the local stores and see if burning that raises your temps.
    Ed
  25. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    Wood is absolutely not wet...we're talking 2 year old pine...you can light the splits with a match. Before I took the blanket out I had the smoke actually snuff out the fire (the night before I started this thread)...there was no exhaust, or at least not enough to keep the fire going.. I've always had puffs of smoke intruding into the house when I open the side door to feed the fire. But this past week we're tlaking set off the smoke detector and open the doors and windows to get rid of the smoke. Removing the blanket last night and lighting a fire I can now leave the door wide open and no smoke comes out at all...can't even smell it, let alone see it. I fele like I'm missing somehting here...something isn't quite right and probably hasn't been since I bought it, its just really showing up now.

    I'm sure the springtime temps have been playing a part in the poor draft, but we're down in the mid to low 30's at night and still no draft...can't just be temperature.

    Not sure how, but that blanket was pretty much fully blocking the exhaust. I don't know how it could, but it was. It wasn't lying flat anymore, so it may have gotten damaged or something during the winter. I never touch the roof of the stove, so I'm at a loss to explain how this could be. Is the blanket washable or just vacuum and be done with it? So ong as its got the ash removed and its in one rectanugular piece I should be fine, right?
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page