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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Solving wood stove chimney creosote problems

by Paul Stevens

Resolving creosote and other safety considerations in wood burning stoves and fireplaces.

If your wood stove chimney is creating a serious creosote problem, you are probably encountering cold air hitting the outside of the chimney and cooling the gases down too quickly before they escape into the air. This can happen on single metal pipe chimneys or where an extension has been added to a masonry chimney.

I encountered this problem with an outdoor wood furnace, despite being on an acreage our rather close neighbor would call and tell us we were smoking them out. My initial solution was to add 8' foot of metal pipe to extend the chimney on up. This did improve the smoke situation but soon I began to notice creosote dripping out from the clean out at the base of the chimney. Because the stove was contained outside I wasn’t as concerned about a chimney fire as I would if it was in the house, but still concerned that I could have a roman candle going off if the creosote ignited sparking leaves and dry grass from catching on fire or worse my garage roof. I took the creosote issue very serious and began to research the problem.

I tried different mixes of seasoned woods, tried to burn it off with a hot fire of newspapers in the mornings before it built up, but nothing seemed to help the problem. Luckily I had access to a national fire safety expert that quickly clued me into the idea that the hot gases were being cooled too rapidly and liquefying before they could escape the top of the chimney extension.

I found my solution by utilizing an 8” metal pipe to surround my 6” chimney pipe extension. I used the seamless commercial furnace duct pipe, instead of the snap joint pipe sold in the hardware and home centers. I was able to purchase a 8’ section so I had no joints to worry about. I wrapped the 6” chimney pipe with fiber glass insulation, the type you buy to wrap pipes without any backing. Fiber glass insulation without the paper backing will not burn or melt. Other insulation such as rock wool or ceramic insulation is commonly used in insulating chimneys. I then slid the 8” pipe over the top, and fabricated a welded metal cap that sealed the top to the 8” pipe and prevented any rain water from running down into the insulation. (Wet insulation will only conduct the heat, and not insulate, just like taken a hot pan out of the oven with a wet hot pad) If you don’t have welding and fabrication talent or equipment a welding shop can make a cap for you. It is a simple sleeve that slips over the top of the 8” pipe and has a sealed ring reducer that fits over and down into the top of the 6” chimney pipe to seal off the top and prevent rain water from entering. I was amazed at how this very thin layer of insulation surprisingly fixed my creosote problem.

Please Note: This was my solution, I’m not suggesting for anyone to run out and start messing with a chimney without some knowledge and experience, yours might be more complicated and a professional chimney expert may need to be consulted. Creosote build up is a disaster waiting to happen, a creosote fire is like a black smith forge fanned by rushing air up through the chimney. Knowing that cold air may be the culprit hopefully gives you a starting point, and may give those considering installing a wood stove some ideas.

Also Note:
If you have a prefabricated triple wall chimney or a factory made collar to exit the wall or ceiling and roof never block the holes, alter the chimney cap, or fill in the gaps between the pipes. These pipes, collars and caps are designed to use convection cooling to make the outer edge safe to install at the manufactures space recommendations next to combustible materials. Always consult with the manufacture for the proper extensions or adapters to use with these chimneys. Blocking the air flow will create a fire hazard. A properly installed metal triple wall chimney should prevent the cold air from ever reaching the inner chimney to create a creosote problem.

Some of the ceiling collars have rather large holes and to the general person and even some installers, will assume these holes need to be covered with insulation to keep heat from escaping the room.

Even a zero clearance metal fireplace is designed to be used with triple wall chimneys made specifically for the fireplace. These fireplaces come with what appears to be a dryer vent that goes to the outside of the house. As the fireplace is being used convection air is pulled in from the vent around the inner chamber of the fireplace and then up around the chimney to keep the outer chamber of the fireplace and chimney pipe cool against combustible materials. It is a good idea to check the vent before each season to be sure it is not clogged with a bird or wasp nest, or with a snow drift during the season. So if you happen to come across a good deal on a zero clearance fireplace at a garage sale, please don't run home and install it without the accompanying recommend triple wall chimney.

Have a safe and warm winter this season.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Record Heat Waves

With the record heat waves and drought across the nation, the American Preppers Network hopes that you have been prepared.  Disasters of any type can and do happen anywhere, at anytime, and without warning.  We are now witnessing and will continue to witness a prime example of how one disaster can cause a chain reaction leading to other disasters.  Here are some potential disasters to be aware of as a result of the drought and heat waves.

1) Water shortages.  Water is the number 1 most important necessity to survival.  The average human can only survive 3 days without water, and even less in a heat wave.  I hope you've stored some.  If the water system shuts down or does not have enough, you could turn on the tap only to have a few drips.  If you run into a situation where there is not enough municipal water supply to your home, start looking for other sources of stored water.
  • Your hot water tank may have 30 - 50 gallons of water stored. 
  • The top supply tank to your toilette is typically clean water that you can use.
  • Your plumbing in your house could have a few gallons.  Open a higher faucet in your house as in a shower, sink, or upstairs source to relieve pressure, then open a lower outside faucet to retrieve water from your plumbing system.
Don't short change yourself on water!  Make sure you have plenty for personal consumption.  If you stop sweating, that means you are dehydrated!   

Got Water?

2) Heat.  Heat poses many risks, including but not limited to:
  • Heat Stroke.  Watch family members closely, especially the elderly, watch for slurred speech and disorientation.  When in doubt, call for help.  Time lost is brain lost.  Never leave pets or children in a vehicle, and keep them out of the direct sun.  Drink lots of water.
  • Fire.  Fires are much more common in the heat.  Things dry out and become more flammable.  Keep dry brush and trash picked up.  Do not store fuel in or around your house, and keep well ventilated in a cool area out of the sun.  Keep grass cut short, especially if your city is rationing water and not allowing watering of lawns.  Do not store any flammables in the direct sun or in your attic.  
  • Vehicle breakdowns. Avoid driving unless it's absolutely necessary, or drive at nite. Check your fluid levels and make sure your oil and coolant are topped off.  Bring extra oil and coolant with you in case you need it.  DO NOT top off your fuel tank!  Make sure your tires are property inflated and not over or under inflated.  Bring extra water with you in case you do break down.  Drive with the A/C off when going uphill.  Watch your vehicles tempature when climbing grades.  If your car starts to overheat when going uphill, pull over at a safe location to let it cool.  Check to make sure your thermostat is working before you make your trip.
3) Blackouts.   The nations grids are maxed out.  With everyone using A/C, expect rolling blackouts.  If you are in a blackout, you can wrap sleeping bags around your refrigerator or freezer to help insulate it.  To conserve power, only use what you absolutely need.  Keep lights turned off and keep your A/C set to the warmest temperature that you can safely stand.  Do you have a generator?  Be prepared to use it.  Do you have plenty of non-perishable food stored?  If there is an extended blackout, you may need it.  Stores and gas stations will be shut down in a blackout.  Do you have an emergency battery powered radio and flashlights?

4) Food Prices   Expect food prices to increase.  Especially meat.  Many ranchers are butchering all of there livestock as there is not enough food and water to care for them, this means shortages in the future.  Produce crops are drying up. Prices of corn, wheat and other grains will increase.  Even produce grown in unaffected areas may increase in price as well due to demand.  If the blackouts are too severe, stores, gas stations and truck stops may close down temporarily disrupting the supply chain and preventing food from making it to the stores.

Stay safe during this heat wave and dought.  This is a serious and potentially devastating national disaster.

If you have tips, ideas, news, videos or pictures that you wish to share regarding this heat wave you can submit your article to americanprepper@yahoo.com.  If your article is chosen we will post it on your states preppers network blog.  Top articles will get posted on APN.  The top article of the week will win a free flashlantern valued at $49.95 (made in the USA).  Articles must be submitted before 7/29.

Feel free to copy and repost this article in it's entirety.  Credit source as AmericanPreppersNetwork.com

Here are some free helpful pdf files to download

Fire and Heat Waves
- ARC - Are You Ready - Fire

- ARC - Are You Ready - Heat Wave

- ARC - Are You Ready - Wildfires

- Fact Sheet: Fires

- Fact Sheet: Fire Safe

- WildFires

- ARC - Food and Water in Emergency

- Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water 

- How To Make A Solar Still (Plastic Cover)

- Purification Of Water On A Small Scale 

- Simple Solar Still For The Production Of Distilled Water

- Slow Sand Filters

- Water Purification

- Water Treatment

Fire Safety 

- Fighting Fire 

- Fire Safety

Get More Free Downloads here:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lightning Fireworks Over Baltimore

The evening of Thursday, June 9 near Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

 Free Thunderstorm PDF's

- ARC - Are You Ready - Thunderstorm

- Backgrounder - Thunderstorms

- Fact Sheet - Thunderstorms

- Severe Thunderstorms

- Thunderstorms - Lightning Guide

- Thunderstorms, Lightning, Tornadoes

Join the APN Forum at www.AmericanPreppersNetwork.net
Visit the Maryland Forum at www.MarylandPreppersNetwork.net

Monday, March 7, 2011

Maryland Preppers Roll Call - All Preppers Please Check In

The American Preppers Network is conducting a network-wide roll call.  Whether you are a member or not please check in and let us know what you are doing to prepare.

This is a good opportunity to network with other preppers near you.

Maryland Preppers, to respond to the roll call please follow this link:

  • Reply to the Roll Call and let us know what you have been doing to prepare.
If you are not yet a member of the forum you can register here for free:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Preppers in Maryland

Preppers in Maryland are getting ready:

Join the APN Forum at www.AmericanPreppersNetwork.net
Visit the Maryland Forum at www.MarylandPreppersNetwork.net

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Invisibility cloak enters the real world

Scientists are a step closer to creating a Star Trek-style cloaking device after making an object visible to the naked eye disappear for the first time.

In the past researchers have only been able to "cloak" microscopic objects using extremely complicated physics and so-called meta-materials made on a tiny scale.

But a new study at the University of Birmingham has taken a massive step forward by making a:
To read the rest of this article follow the link below:

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Visit the Maryland Forum at www.MarylandPreppersNetwork.net

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tea Tax vs Alcohol Tax Whats the Diference?

The Boston Tea Party was a key event in the growth of the American Revolution. While the dime a drink tax being proposed in Maryland is just a drop in the glass by comparison it still helps to fuel the fire already burning for many.
It is suggested that the tax will reduce consumption, thereby reducing alcohol dependence, drinking and driving and a host of other issues. While to some small degree I can agree, the bottom line behind the proposed tax is the same as it has always been. Another way to reach into our pockets and take our money.
Will this start a new American Revolution? By it self , I doubt it. Just another piece of wood thrown on a fire already burning out of control. At some point, and not far off, another group of Americans will rise to put the fire out. They also will be called Patriots.


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