Video Highlights:
0:06 Reason for chimney maintenance during the burning season
0:16 Two ways to prevent creosote build up
0:53 To prevent chimney fires
1:03 Tips for preventing creosote build up
2:23 Knowing how your stove operates and burns
3:03 Products to aid in prevention of creosote
3:11 ACS Creosote Remover

Hello I am Melissa from NorthlineExpress and today I would like to talk to you about chimney maintenance during the burning season. The main reason for in season chimney maintenance is creosote buildup. While you can somewhat control the amount of creosote buildup, if you are burning wood it is inevitable. There are only two ways to prevent creosote formation in chimneys; keeping the chimney above 250 degree F all the way up, or burning up the gases that form the creosote in the stove before they reach the chimney. Either way, less smoke means less creosote; Burn the smoke and you burn the gases; No gases, no creosote. It is as simple as that.

Even being an experienced wood burner there are still days when you are in a hurry, or just are not in the mood to deal with the fire right now, so you end up breaking some golden wood burning rules. The danger there is that if you break those rules too often you are only increasing your chances of creosote buildup which can lead to chimney fires. Cleaning and maintaining a fireplace and wood stove is only half the equation in preventing chimney fires. The other half is taking measures to prevent creosote build-up during the burning season.

Here are some tips that will help you prevent creosote buildup:

  1. Burn only seasoned wood that has dried for at least one year. You should burn hardwoods rather than soft wood. Hardwood is denser or heavier wood and burns hotter.

  2. Do not attempt to burn (or mix in) green or wet wood. The use of green or wet wood will cause a rapid buildup of creosote. Wood that hisses, sizzles and blackens without igniting in five minutes must be considered too wet to burn.

  3. Do not attempt to extend the burn time by using wet wood. Not only does burning wet wood rapidly build up creosote, but it reduces the heat output by up to 25 percent.

  4. Burn the stove with the air inlet control wide open for 10-25 minutes every time fresh wood is loaded into the stove. Do not load more than 1/4 to 1/2 of the fuel capacity at one time. Loading too much wood at once will cause excessive smoke which contains creosote.

  5. Try to burn with the control open for several minutes various times throughout the day, being careful not to over fire the unit. It will help to warm the chimney and reduce the amount of creosote forming condensation.

These tips are tips but the best way to prevent creosote is to know your stove and develop a routine for the handling of fuel, firing, and operating the stove. Check daily for creosote buildup until experience shows how often you need to clean for safe operation. Be aware that the hotter the fire, the less creosote is deposited and weekly cleanings may be necessary in mild weather even though monthly cleanings may be enough in the colder months.

Yes, you heard me right I just said monthly cleanings, I also said weekly cleanings. That is why it is important to follow the tips I just gave. You can control the creosote buildup, and ultimately how often you have to clean your chimney in season, with careful consideration and use of your stove. If following the tips alone are not enough to make you feel comfortable there are aids that you can use to reduce the creosote buildup during the burning season, like ACS Creosote remover. ACS should be used as a preventative maintenance solution. Not using it creosote will more than likely build up. What the product does is break down creosote and prevents it from causing chimney fires due to excessive build up. If you use ACS on a regular basis creosote should not build up. So what is on a regular basis? For wood fires you would apply ACS once a week during the burning season with about 6-12 sprays in the fire. ACS is available in both liquid and powder forms. The powder you would also apply weekly, about a third of the bottle.

Now with when choosing between ACS in its powder or liquid form consider if you have a fireplace or a wood stove. If you have a fireplace the powder or the liquid will work. The liquid you spray directly into the fire and the powder you would spray up into the flue.

If you have a wood stove I would recommend the liquid over the powder. The powder can be used but will be harder to spray up into the flue, especially with an EPA stove. You first have to build a conditioning fire to build a draft and then spray the powder up towards the flue where the draft will pull it into the flue.

Either option is better than using no preventative measures against creosote build up at all. ACS Creosote remover is a non-toxic and environmentally safe liquid manganese catalyst that attacks and destroys dangerous creosote and soot. It is safe for use in all wood, coal and pellet burning appliances including those with catalytic combustors. I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about creosote buildup, creosote removers, or chimney cleaning give us a call at 866-667-8454. At NorthlineExpress, home of the “Buy and Try” satisfaction guarantee, we are always happy to help!

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