Is creosote a "huge" problem with older woodstoves

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by rosehaven, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. rosehaven

    rosehaven Well-Known Member

    Nov 5, 2004
    Don't Tread On Me
    Wanting to know as husband is "sitting on the fence" in buying an older model, as we have committed to buying one. Just wanting to know the facts.

    Thanks for everyone's help again. would not be able to homestead without you folks.

    Ed and April
  2. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

    Oct 15, 2005
    Near Traverse City Michigan
    I dont think the age of a wood stove has anything to do with creosote build up. I think the species of wood, how well it's seasoned, and how hot it burns are the major factors.

    My dad, and I burn mostly oak, and I burn my fire hot all the time...well, when I had a wood furnace in the house I burn it hot all the time. My dad, and I have identical Youkon wood furnaces in our basements. He has a terrible time with creosote. He gets a 5 gallon bucket out of his chimney every 2 weeks, and there is black tarry stuff that runs out of the bottom of his chimney all the time. He keeps his furnace choked right down, and has tons of creosote. I used to burn mine almost wide open all the time, and I never had creosote.

    Now that I have an outdoor wood furnace, and it burns slow..almost smoldering, I have tons of creosote in it burning seasoned oak. Im not worried about chimney fires though because the outdoor wood furnace is way from the house, and the chimney is 8" diameter, 1/4" thick well pipe.If the creosote catches fire there is nothing to burn.

  3. The Paw

    The Paw Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2006
    Manitoba, Canada
    I agree. The type of wood and the heat of the burn are the most important factor. Softwoods such as pine will give you a lot more creosote. Those automatically damping wood furnaces cause a lot of smoldering which gives tons of creosote .

    Depending on how old you are talking about, I suppose the engineering on a newer stove might be such that air intake, draft, etc. make it easier to keep a hot burn more efficiently.
  4. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 24, 2003
    There was a thread on this topic a couple weeks ago on the Self reliance forum
  5. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 20, 2006
    Michigan's Thumb
    From my experience, the old Franklin types that won't hold a fire overnight are good for burning clean. The more "choked down" the fire is the more it is apt to build creosote. Don't burn pine or cedar or fir, any of the "needle" trees.
  6. Marilyn

    Marilyn Well-Known Member Supporter

    Aug 2, 2006
    I have an air-tight high-efficiency wood stove and I am surprised by how little creosote I find after a burning season. It's the same stove that I had at my previous home, but there I had two angles in the flue, here it is straight out the roof. I think that has something to do with it as I burn a mixture of wood, even the occasional pine log if the fire is really hot.
  7. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 23, 2003
    When run optimally, new stoves produce less creosote than old ones. Mmm, probably by a factor of 3 or 4.

    That said, most folk run their stoves horribly, creating tremendous creosote buildup.

    Compounding that is the type of wood burned.

    And as the icing on the cake, people who run their stoves horribly tend to not clean their chimneys.

    The previous owner of my house fit the above to a T. He carefully managed to accumulate several inches of creosote on the chimney walls. It was an interesting job cleaning that mess. I run the same stove in the same house with the same chimney. I sweep out more rust and dirt than creosote.
  8. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    Creosote goes up with the smoke as a vapor. If the smoke gets too cool on the way up the flue, the vapor condenses and turns to liquid right in the chimney. where it then builds up on the walls of the flue creating a fire hazord. If left long enough it can completely block the flue. That's when the house fills up with smoke on the most cold miserable night of the year. To prevent the buildup you need a hot fire with hot smoke all the way out the top.
    Keeping a nice little cozy fire with the damper shut off all day will make the cool smoke fill your flue. That can happen even with the best aged dry hardwood you can find. Green wood won't plug your chimney if you burn it in a roaring hot fire.
    It is easier to have the hot fire you need if you let the house cool down a little than put enough wood in the stove to make a hot fire and let it dry out the flue.
  9. KindredSpirit

    KindredSpirit Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2006
    I think the difference between a new stove and a vintage one isn't so much the creosote, as others have addressed, but the efficiency of the burn. Your wood will last longer in a newer stove, especially the catalytic kind. They burn the fuel more efficiently. The down side to a catalytic stove is the part has to be replaced every five or ten years depending on the model. The do also sell non-catalytic stoves still also.
  10. GrannyG

    GrannyG Well-Known Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    near Abilene,TX
    Even our new one gets creosote, you just buy some firesticks that burn and supposedly melt it away. I still love our little wood stove during the winter,saves us alot of money and I can cook on the top, has a flat surface.
  11. topside1

    topside1 Retired Coastie Supporter

    Sep 23, 2005
    Monterey, Tennessee
    Using a new non-catalytic stove $1200.00 version, burned hot all winter to heat 1800 sq. ft. home. First year in use, inspected the 6 inch pipe in the spring, surprized to find no creosote buildup. This free standing stove heated the entire house the entire season. My folks have a stove to large for their home so they are forced to burn and maintain a cool fire. Lots and lots of buildup. Buy a stove to match your needs. If you go to big you will be sorry, a hot house plus lots of creosote.....Hot fires and good dry wood will heat your home, worry free....John