Most Any Brand of Wood or Pellet Stoves!
When wood is burned slowly, it produces tar and other organic vapours, which combine with expelled moisture to form creosote. The creosote vapours condense in the relatively cool chimney flue of a slow burning fire. As a result, creosote residue accumulates on the flue lining. When ignited, this creosote makes an extremely hot fire. The chimney connector and chimney should be inspected at least once every two months during the heating season to determine if a creosote buildup has occurred. If creosote has accumulated, it should be removed to reduce the risk of a chimney fire.
- Highest smoke densities occur when a large amount of wood is added to a bed of hot coals and the air inlet is closed. The heated wood generates smoke, but without ample air, the smoke cannot burn. Smoke-free, clean burning requires small fuel loads, two or three logs at a time or 1/4 to 1/2 of a fuel load and leaving the air inlet relatively wide open, especially during the first 10 to 30 minutes after each loading, when most of the smoke generating reactions are occurring. After 30 minutes or so, the air inlet can be turned down substantially without excessive smoke generation. Wood coals create very little creosote-producing smoke.
- The cooler the surface over which wood smoke is passing, the more creosote will be condensed. Wet or green wood contributes significantly to creosote formation as the excess moisture that is boiled off cools the fire, making it difficult for the tars and gasses to ignite, thus creating dense smoke and poor combustion. This moisture-laden smoke cools the chimney, compounding the problem by offering the smoke the ideal place to condense.
In summary, a certain amount of creosote is inevitable and must be lived with. Regular inspection and cleaning is the solution. The use of dry, seasoned wood and ample combustion air will help to minimize the buildup.
The result of excessive creosote buildup is a chimney fire. Chimney fires are dangerous. Chimney inside temperatures can exceed 2000 degrees F. This causes much higher than normal temperatures in the chimney and on its exterior surfaces thus ignition of nearby or touching combustible material is more likely during a chimney fire. Proper clearances are critical during such a fire.
Chimney fires are easy to detect; they usually involve one or more of the following:
- Flames and sparks shooting out of the top of the chimney
- A roaring sound
- Vibration of the chimney
- Prepare to evacuate to ensure everyone’s safety. Have a well understood plan of action for evacuation. Have a place outside where everyone is to meet.
- Close air inlets on stove.
- Call local fire department. Have a fire extinguisher handy. Contact your local fire authority for further information on how to handle a chimney fire. It is most important that you have a clearly understood plan on how to handle a chimney fire.
- After the chimney fire is out, the chimney must be cleaned and checked for stress and cracking before starting another fire. Also check combustibles around chimney and the roof.
The services of a competent certified installer are strongly recommended.
There are two ways to avoid chimney fires:
- Do not let creosote build up to a point where a big chimney fire is possible.
- Do not have fires in the heater that may ignite chimney fires. These are hot fires, such as when burning household trash, cardboard, Christmas tree limbs, or even ordinary fuel wood; (eg. with a full load on a hot bed of coals and with the air inlet wide open).
Keeping your gutters clean is important. Clogged gutters can cause water leakage into the house as the water backs up. Clogged gutters can also lead to stagnant water build up which allows mosquitoes to breed and also allow grasses and weeds to grow in the gutter.
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