Chimneys

Published on October 19th, 2012 | by Henri

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Keeping chimney clean when burning wood

Q.    I always find your articles so easy to understand. I have a weekend house in Davenport, NY, and have a wood-burning stove inserted in the fireplace. I try to burn only hardwood but I am sure some softwood slips in. My neighbor mentioned that he throws some rock salt in the fire that helps keep the chimney clean. Is this true?

A.   Careful! Rock salt is corrosive to metal. A far better way to prevent creosote formation, and even eliminate existing creosote, is to use ACS (Anti-Creo-Soot) regularly in your stove. Everyone burning wood should use ACS regularly. It is a catalytic solution that should be sprayed on the logs to be burned and on the inside of the stove. It changes the nature of the combustion gases to a fine ash and actually attacks the creosote deposits inside the stove and chimney. You can spray it on firewood that’s stacked outside or inside, or you can spray it on the logs inside the stove before lighting the fire.

Once applied, build a small fire with enough kindling to get it going strongly with a lot of air. Add more fuel as needed to keep the fire hot but under control. The goal is to get the temperature inside the stove to above 300 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes to give ACS a chance to do its work. If you use it once daily, you should notice a considerable difference after a few weeks.

I have used it daily for decades with great success; it makes cleaning a chimney a breeze in the spring after the heating season is over.

You can buy ACS from stove shops and chimney sweeps or you can order it directly through ACS’ Web site at www.homesafetyproducts.biz. Click on the “Creosote & Soot Remover” link, then click on the Order Now button under the picture of the bottle. The Web site gives you a very comprehensive description of ACS and its benefits. I hope this helps answer your concerns, but be aware that even burning hardwood can generate creosote.

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