Creosote building up in bottom corners of smoke shelf

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Marconis

Member
Dec 13, 2021
44
NY
So I’ve been burning since early November, about 2-3x a week for 2.5-4hrs at a time. Wood is very dry, no hissing, burns quick, minimal smoke in the fireplace, and there’s virtually no smoke that exits the chimney, really just a heatwave. I start my fires with those little nuggets; one log front and rear, three diagonal over that, and then two straight on top.

Since it’s my first season burning in this fireplace, I’ve been monitoring my smoke shelf/chamber/flue tiles quite regularly just to get an idea of how things are going, and to adjust the way I manage my fires if needed. I’ve noticed that I’m getting some (very minimal) hard creosote deposits on the corners of the shelf/chamber, while the rest seems to just be fine soot. It’s gotten worse after each couple of fires, so I want to get ahead of it and adjust my habits if necessary. Is cool smoke just swirling around in those corners? Indicative of a cooler fires? The brick here is showing it’s red only because I got in there with a brush just because 😃

Thanks!

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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,441
central pa
So I’ve been burning since early November, about 2-3x a week for 2.5-4hrs at a time. Wood is very dry, no hissing, burns quick, minimal smoke in the fireplace, and there’s virtually no smoke that exits the chimney, really just a heatwave. I start my fires with those little nuggets; one log front and rear, three diagonal over that, and then two straight on top.

Since it’s my first season burning in this fireplace, I’ve been monitoring my smoke shelf/chamber/flue tiles quite regularly just to get an idea of how things are going, and to adjust the way I manage my fires if needed. I’ve noticed that I’m getting some (very minimal) hard creosote deposits on the corners of the shelf/chamber, while the rest seems to just be fine soot. It’s gotten worse after each couple of fires, so I want to get ahead of it and adjust my habits if necessary. Is cool smoke just swirling around in those corners? Indicative of a cooler fires? The brick here is showing it’s red only because I got in there with a brush just because 😃

Thanks!

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That looks pretty typical. Parging the smoke chamber and rounding off the corners would help. Eliminating the smoke shelf would help allot as well and it wouldn't be hard with your shallow shelf
 

Marconis

Member
Dec 13, 2021
44
NY
That looks pretty typical. Parging the smoke chamber and rounding off the corners would help. Eliminating the smoke shelf would help allot as well and it wouldn't be hard with your shallow shelf
Thanks for the reply, bholler! Good to know. Not really significantly concerned about it, just thought it was building up rather quickly. As I've said in another post, parging is definitely in the plans for next season. What are the benefits of eliminating the shelf?
 

ctyankee

Burning Hunk
Oct 25, 2019
184
connecticut
Just relax and enjoy your fireplace. Check it again after you are done burning for the season, and clean some at that point, if you wish. I personally would not alter the design of the fireplace. A solution in search of a problem, as they say.
 

Marconis

Member
Dec 13, 2021
44
NY
Just relax and enjoy your fireplace. Check it again after you are done burning for the season, and clean some at that point, if you wish. I personally would not alter the design of the fireplace. A solution in search of a problem, as they say.
Oh, for sure am. Just trying to get an idea of how things are supposed to “look” since I’m new to this. Appreciate your input
 
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ctyankee

Burning Hunk
Oct 25, 2019
184
connecticut
Oh, for sure am. Just trying to get an idea of how things are supposed to “look” since I’m new to this. Appreciate your input
Looks good to me. Some black, some creosote here and there, soot in spots, that is unavoidable and normal. The way you are burning basically rules out any problems within a burning season.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,441
central pa
Thanks for the reply, bholler! Good to know. Not really significantly concerned about it, just thought it was building up rather quickly. As I've said in another post, parging is definitely in the plans for next season. What are the benefits of eliminating the shelf?
Eliminating the smoke shelf eliminates a lot of turbulence and really makes fireplaces work much better. I certainly don't see anything concerning at this point just keep an eye on it.
 

Marconis

Member
Dec 13, 2021
44
NY
Eliminating the smoke shelf eliminates a lot of turbulence and really makes fireplaces work much better. I certainly don't see anything concerning at this point just keep an eye on it.

Interesting, thanks. Yeah I’m gonna get a sweep every year so I’ll stay on top of it.
 

Marconis

Member
Dec 13, 2021
44
NY
Question for ya'll: does the Rutland line of creosote removal products actually work? The reviews online are good, but I wonder if I should just save my money and wait 'til the sweep comes in the spring. Just thinking ahead to try and make the crusted/glazed portions easier for them to clean. It's such a tiny amount, so even with that alone it may be $20 down the drain.

Thanks!


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