Had ash floating from chimney this am?

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MJFlores

Burning Hunk
Dec 22, 2013
184
NH
In mid Nov I had a new insulated stainless chimney liner with cap installed, and am still getting used to the new setup. Last night was very cold (-8) when I woke to restart the stove. The stove was still at 250 degrees, nice bed of coals. I usually let the wood burn for 20 to 30 mins and then close the bypass and see if the cat lights (stove is a wood stock Fireview). I was just about getting ready to close the bypass, stove had reached almost 300 when I saw a 1 inch piece of something float by the window...some sort of black ash. I looked out and there was more of it laying in the snow outside. I went out to see what was happening and there was just white smoke coming from the chimney (normal looking). I Saw a few pieces of this ash laying on the snow on the roof, and like I said more in the driveway and front lawn. I tried to pick one up but when you touch it ...it disintegrates. This stuff floated like a feather, was flat black, maybe an inch and smaller in size. What do you think it was? I waved for my wife to turn on the bypass and the white smoke went away to almost nothing. I've never had a cap before...could this be ash that built up on the cap and then blew off when I started the stove this am...maybe came off due to the extreme cold temps and hot fire being started? My wood is dry (below 20% on the meter)...I feel confident that this wasn't a chimney fire as there was no rumbling sound...and clean smoke coming out. Everything was ordinary except for that ash. I did start with maple and a few birch pieces with the bark on, and have been burning a lot of birch lately. Burch bark burns well but does give off that heavy black smoke that could have coated the chimney cap? I'm also concerned that my draft s too strong now with this liner and may install a damper on the pipe. So what does everything think? Normal? I dont recall ever seeing this sort of thing before I got the liner and cap installed, and my flu has always stayed very clean.
 

TheRambler

Feeling the Heat
Jul 29, 2014
478
CT
The actual "ash" you saw could be a number of things. It probably only came out due to the really cold temps, and therefore a really strong draft today.

It does happen, if you see it frequently then i would be concerned. If its only on these really cold days i wouldnt really worry about it.

It could be ash, the papery birch bark, or newspaper if you use that to start your fires. Or it could be sone light chinney buildup that dislodged due to the really strong draft.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,971
South Puget Sound, WA
Did you use newspaper or cardboard to start the fire?
 

MJFlores

Burning Hunk
Dec 22, 2013
184
NH
This morning there was enough hot coal that I just laid the wood directly on it. Sometimes I use newspaper but usually don't need anything. Last night and this morning really were not the norm as far as wind and cold temps. I'll keep an eye on it. The new liner really seemed to improve my draft to the point that I'm thinking of installing a damper. It'll interfere with cleaning the stove connector pipe but if thats what it needs I'll do it. My burn times seemed to have decreases too afterward so extending that will be good. Still getting plenty of heat. I'll definately keep an eye on ash,,,might go out with a light tonight after startup and see if any more comes out.
 

madison

Minister of Fire
Though you have ruled out a chimney fire, I would not rule it out. Other considerations, cardboard/paper as suggested above, or condensated ash/creosote from the cap screen. Though that is usually heavier than paper ash. If you have right angles in your chimney, possibly it was paper ash that had accumulated in the right angle(s) and was swept up by a stronger draft in the cold weather.
 

MJFlores

Burning Hunk
Dec 22, 2013
184
NH
This sounds like what was happening. Thanks everyone. It made me wonder just because I'd never experienced that sort of thing before the stainless liner was installed.
 

Jacyte

New Member
Jan 8, 2015
24
Bloomfield CT
I had a similar occurrence just a few days ago. I looked outside and saw "snow" falling on a clear day. Checked my chimney and there was only a small trail of white smoke coming from the cap and the stove was drafting and behaving like you would expect trying to burn crappy wet wood. I was struggling with a boiling POS log trying to burn off some moisture before engaging the cat and collar temps were below 400 degrees. The pieces were about the size of medium snow flakes and didn't really appear to be falling very frequently. They looked either white or light grey and were impossible to identify on the ground with snow cover.
 
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