I suspect not. I read the label on some of them, and they recommend burning a really hot fire when you use them. That in itself will help reduce the creosote if done regularly, so I try to burn hot for about 2 hours each day. I learned this when I worked in a woodburning laboratory while I was in college about 30 years ago. We did testing on efficiency, causes of fires and creosote buildup and such.
I've never used any of these creosote removers. But, I suoppse you could always do an "at home test" of one of these removers. Here is what I suggest. Slow burn (read: low air intake rate) a fire so the insides of your woodstove turns black. Then, without burning a hot roaring fire, pop in one of the cresote removers and see if it even removes the soot from inside the firebox.
Funny you should ask. I just did a test of them. I am very meticulous about my stove pipe cleaning as my parents had a house fire when I was young. Once a month I shut it down and take the pipes apart and clean well. I do a hot burn at least once a day and sometimes twice and find it does cut way down on build up. I bought enough of those sticks to last a month. If you read the directions they say use a hot fire and maintain a hot fire for at least five minutes. I was pleased with the results. I normally have to do a lot of scrapping but yesterday the soot and tiny bit of creosote I had came loose with a tunk on each side of the pipe. Not only that the creosote was miniscule compared to what I ususally have.
I have a Kitchen Queen wood cookstove and there are two steep angles to my chimney pipe. One going out of the house and then the turn to go up after outside. (We did this because we wanted to be able to disassemble and clean without climbing onto the roof in our old age. The outside junction has a clean out at the bottom so I can just climb a step ladder and run my cleaning brushes up it) I have experienced quite a bit of creosote buildup at the angle joints even with the hot burns. Not this time. I think they are worth the money just for the ease of cleaning.
I have found burning an aluminum can 1x a week seems to help. Our furnace guy suggested it alos. It makes cleaning easier anyway. In the thick of winter I don't have much of an issue because we have a real hot fire going. Its at the beginninging and end of winter I'm the most concerned about creosote buildup.
I would NOT use the ash resulting from using the 'clean out sticks' in a vegie garden unless someone else can tell you definitively that the chemicals are safe. I think it was trisodium phosphate involved?.....
I don't use those creosote burning things, I toss a handful of table salt in when I have a good bed of coals built up. It keeps the creosote burnt out. If I skip the salt for a few weeks, I get buildup, then when I put salt in again, I can see the buildup dry and crack apart, fall down and burn in the box.
I sold firewood as a youth and had a customer who had long previously lost a home to a chimney fire. All he wanted for me to cut for him was quality dead elm, with the bark almost gone. He claimed that naturally deceased elm had no creosote, and he burned it exclusively.
I burn heavy hardwoods such as locust, hedge and oak during the coldest of winter, but use dead elm for the warmer late fall and early spring seasons.
The elm, if well cured, does seem to clean out any buildup from the heavier woods, and, even after a period of lighter burns, the elm seems to be self-cleaning.
My BIL (who has the science knowledge to know this sort of stuff) tells me to toss in about 5 aluminum cans a week, onto a blazing hot fire. When the cans vaporize, they basically turn into the same chemicals in those chimney sticks. But you have to make sure you are using 100% aluminum, not an alloy of some sort.
I have not done this as yet, my hub runs the cleaner about once every two weeks because our wood (spruce and birch) is still fairly green. We honestly don't much build up because we do let it rip once a day, for about 20 minutes. Maybe a cup?
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