Creosote is a by-product
of a poor Wood Fire and poor FireWood. Creosote has burned down many a house,
so it's in your best interests to minimize this bad culprit by using good
Not only does Creosote
cause a Fire Hazard, but it can also reduce Draft to the point where Killer
Gases may escape into your home.
This photo shows
hardened Creosote which was removed from a Wood Burner Stove Pipe.
Note the curvature
of the large piece on the left. It indicates a 6" diameter and the degree
to which the Stove Pipe was plugged.
RULE # 1:
Keep your Chimney clean !
Liquid Creosote looks like
Tar. Solid Creosote has a texture and appearance somewhat like Coal. It
burns with a ferocity surpassing either when assisted by the Draft it creates
in a hot Chimney. When you hear of someone having a "Chimney Fire" chances
are that they really had a Creosote Fire. There are no combustable materials
in a clean Chimney:
RULE # 2: Burn only dried
("Seasoned") FireWood !
Creosote is caused by warm, moist Smoke which contacts a cool surface
and condenses on it. This condensate contains the unburned particles which
make Smoke visible. When this condensate dries, another layer can condense
on top of the first. Eventually, these layers can completely plug up a poorly
designed Chimney or an improperly operated Wood Burner.
RULE # 3: Keep a HOT fire
Wherever a metal Stove Pipe leaves a heated area and enters a cooler
area, there are conditions which may cause the formation of Creosote. A
double-layered Stainless Steel Stove Pipe with Insulation between the layers
has been designed to minimize these conditions. But its effectiveness is
still determined by the amount of heat that goes up the Chimney. A hot Chimney
minimizes the condensation of Creosote.
RULE # 4: Keep Fresh Batteries
in your Carbon Monoxide Detector(s) !
The tiny fire
on the left is much more efficient and safe than the smoldering mass on
the right, even though they may both be providing the same amount of heat
(BTUs). Of course, the tiny fire needs more attention to maintain its efficient
|Creosote is often formed where warm air leaving the flue is met
by heavy cool air trying to get to the bottom of the Wood Burner.
There is turbulance
where they collide and condensation is formed on these cooled surfaces.
Salt is said to fight
Spreading a Cup or so
of Table Salt or Rock Salt on a bed of red-hot Coals every few days has been
reported to dry out Creosote deposits, causing them to flake off, drop down,
and be harmlessly consumed by the fire. How often this treatment is needed
would depend on how dry your FireWood is and how hot you maintain your Wood
The secret to stopping
Creosote is a fire hot enough that minimal Smoke is seen coming from your
chimney; the Smoke has been consumed by the Fire. Some Trees produce more Creosote than other species.
TWO Carbon Monoxide Detectors
are better than one.
Locate one near the
Wood Burning Stove, and the other in your Bedroom. If one quits, you may be very glad for the
If you assemble your Stove
Pipe with the small corrugated ends down, it will keep the unsightly and
dangerous liquid Creosote inside the Pipe.
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