Even with today's high-efficiency wood burning appliances, creosote buildup in the chimney is still an issue — in fact it may be even more of a problem because so much heat is extracted from the fuel's combustion that creosote deposits can form on the chimney's liner. And that's not good because creosote buildup can lead to potentially life threatening chimney fires down the road. Here are some hints to help minimize the risk:
1. Have your chimney inspected at least once per year and cleaned if necessary.
2. Allow sufficient inlet air into your stove to let the combustion temperature to reach about 1,100 degrees at least a couple of times a day so that creosote forming gases are burned.
3. Give the stove a 10- to 15-minute hot burn each day to consume any thin coating of creosote that may have formed yesterday — don't do this if you are unsure just how much creosote buildup is in your chimney.
4. When starting your daily fire, open the air inlet at least half way to help get the combustion chamber up to temperature — turn it back once the stove is well warmed.
5. Avoid overfeeding the stove — loading smaller logs or splits, more often will help keep the combustion temperature up.
6. When burning wet wood, open the stove's air supply to help fuel a drying fire and then turn it back. Wet wood doesn't make creosote, but it does produce less heat, which can lead to creosote formation. Heating with wood is a joy. Take a little time to understand how creosote forms and your joy will also be completely safe.
Watch the full episode! Hank shares hints like these in each episode of Tough Grit. Visit Tough Grit online to view this episode and many more. The hints above appeared in Episode 6, "Where There's Smoke..."
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.