We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
My neighborhood sweep stopped by yesterday for a routine cleaning, and informed me that I had some creosote glaze in the flue. (Like me, many of us up here burn firewood in our fireplaces daily, doing our part to fend off the coming Ice Age and to provide homey comfort and warmth to our humble abodes. The farm still has a good-sized mountain of hard coal in the basement to use when needed. You can just throw a few hunks on the fire if you want to.)
It's not not a good thing to have creosote glaze, because a sweep's brushes cannot remove it and it presents a chimney fire risk. He blamed it on my habit of burning green and damp wood, but said that any long-used flue will accumulate glaze over time.
He proposed a treatment plan: Cre-Away powder and Anti Creo-Soot Spray. These things claim to change the glaze into something brushable. The active ingredient is a catalyst which degrades creosote.
Here in the MidWest, our winters are usually mild. I use my fireplace infrequently and my fuel of choice is the standard fare: red oak; hackberry; mulberry; walnut; ash and hedge. Rarely do I burn green or wet wood, but this product is something I will investigate.
Thank you for this important safety tip.
I just want to add that its also a good idea to keep a 16 oz. spray bottle full of water handy next to the fireplace or woodstove - the reason is if, and I say IF, you get a chimney fire going, you can spray the water up the flu and create steam which will at least cool the fire down and buy some time for the FD to arrive or even put it out.
Don't throw a bucket of water on the fire though - you would be amazed at the mess that creates. :>)
Is there any reason not to burn cardboard? I am referring to burning it in a brick fireplace, not a cast-iron stove or insert, which I am told the chemicals in paper will gradually corrode.
I had my chimney examined by a cleaner once and he told me I had very little creosote in there. I credit this to occasionally putting sheets of cardboard in the back of the fireplace when getting a fire started. Cardboard burns very hot and my theory is, the hot exhaust gases consume the creosote.
Obviously, what this country needs is better chimneys. I have often wondered, sometimes mumbling my concerns out loud, why chimney fires should be matters of concern? Do they not vent hot gasses? Are they not designed to endure the stresses of direct flame? Who's fault is this? Never mind, we can punish the greedy chimney sweeps later.
First, let's make some regulatory changes and fix this problem. I modestly propose that all chimneys be constructed to the standards of those used by coal fired power plants. We need to build them tall and include scrubbers. Of course, they must have blinking lights, so the planes don't hit them. We may also need regulations permitting the safe installation of cell phone equipment, fake tree foliage and billboards. Please write or call your elected representative right away. This is a national safety issue and there are lots of perverts the TSA wasn't allowed to hire who are still entitled to a good paycheck as chimney police.
We should call this new national agency CFNM (Chimney Fires No More).
Pierce is still making Apparatus in Appleton,WI, and Clintonville, WI, is still cranking out Seagraves. Badgers are fire fighting fools! HUZZAH for big green, or white, or red, or red and white trucks, covered in red and white lights!