water dripping into fireplace


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Old 12-07-05, 06:19 PM
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Unhappy water dripping into fireplace

Hi everyone,

We've just moved into a house that has a woodburning fireplace with a gas lighter. The home inspector has told us that we REALLY should have the chimney cleaned out before using the fireplace. We have yet to do that because we were thinking to replace it with a gas fireplace next year.
Meanwhile, we just noticed strong smelling water/gunk dripping down into the fireplace. I figure it might be from the melting snow up above. But is that normal? I had a woodburning fireplace in my old apartment and never had such a problem. Is there something that I should do at this point? Thanks in advance for your advice.
 
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Old 12-08-05, 08:00 AM
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Sounds like you're raining creosote. If you're using wet wood or if the chimeny tiles have absorbed a lot of moisture and and the fire isn't hot enough yet and it's cold outside, The moisture is condensing in the cold chimney and raining/running down the chimney walls.

Use dry wood. Get the fire hot and within minutes the problem should disappear. Keep the fire hot for hours and any large chunks of creosote may dry and fall into the cleanout. There are $5 magnetic thermometers to stick to the stove pipe and indicate a fire in the right temperature range, I suggest that you get one. A fire that is too hot could blister the cresote and block the chimney or a spark could ignite the creosote so be careful.

Take a mirror and look up the chimney from the cleanout if possible and in daylight you should be able to see how much cresosote is in the chimney. Do it when the fire is out or else you blast cold air up the chimmey and the rain will start again. Get the chimney cleaned and it may cost you $50. Buy a brush and some rope and do it yourself for probably less but do it either way. If an inspector advised you to do it, the cost is far less than rebuilding the house and less painful than losing loved ones.
 
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Old 12-08-05, 01:05 PM
jocelynj
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The smell you mentioned, is it a sort of acrid odor; like a bonfire?
It does sound like you have a build up of creosote in your chimney. I would suggest you not use the fireplace until you have it swept and inspected. In addition, though you are considering having a gas fireplace installed you still need to have the chimney swept and inspected before you make any changes. In short, call a professional and have someone who is familiar with chimneys and how they work come and sweep and inspect. Good Luck!
 
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Old 12-16-05, 09:25 PM
SuperSweepTN05
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creosote will laugh at a wire brush, what you are describing is like a heavy glaze creosote... this would require the use of a rotary tool and possible chemical treatments... contact a professional... do not operate in that condition.
 
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Old 01-06-06, 05:40 AM
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Thank you for your help everyone. I'm going to contact a pro to have the chimney and fireplace cleaned. Now, do you think they'll actually come out and do that in our Canadian prairie winter (we have snow on the roof)?
 
 

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