Chimney Flue Liner System 2

Cincinnati Chimney Sweep, Clay Lamb owner of American Chimney Sweep. Executive Producer of Ask the Chimney Sweep Podcasts and YouTube channel.

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.….Educational Videos….Chimney products….American Chimney Cincinnati, OH
Clay Lamb


  1. I’ve burned wood in my wood stove for 25 years plus and believe I do a decent job of cleaning the chimney and pipes. Last year I again hired a chimney sweep to check it all out which I try to do on a regular basis. Recently I’ve found that my step in the chimney had filled up with creosote and is in such a tight spot that I can’y get at it to remove the hardened material. It now leaks the crerosote down my wall and even on the floor. I have to clean it out every week to keep this from getting worse. There is no clean out on the chimney but the sweep told me for a couple hundred dollars he could make one. The creosote is so hard I don’t see how this will help me remove it. any suggestions?

  2. Clay Lamb

    Greetings Al,
    1)- I agree with you, that a new clean out “may or may not help”.
    Please read the blog post reply that I sent to Mr. C Portell ( How to Clear a Blocked Chimney)

    2)- Also possibly you could contact a couple of Chimney Sweeps about a product called (PCR) *Poultice Creosote Remover.
    It is not a cheap possess, but it does work well. look up PCR on Youtube
    * PCR Poultice Creosote Remover – Saver Systems – YouTube by Saver Systems in Richmond IN

    3)-You can find a reputable Chimney Sweep in your area by using this link to the National Chimney Sweep Guild locator : Also be sure and go online and read their customer reviews from Google, BBB, and AngiesList.

    4)-Remember your draft or creosote accumulation problem needs to be figured out “before” investing in any product.
    PCR does not require heat activation so can be a good alternative to Cre-Away when heating is an issue.
    This product can also be painted on so is a great option for cleaning up hand reachable areas of the fireplace.

    5)- Al, here is my blog post reply to Mr. C Portell ( How to Clear a Blocked Chimney)
    When you think of it, most fireplace or stove systems are not complicated, they’re very simple or may I say somewhat primitive in design. It is been my experience that more often than not, these are operator issues. It may be something that you’re “knowingly doing or not”. Please don’t take my statement personal or offensively, as I’m speaking to a much larger audience than just you and me, and those other readers of my blog may be searching for the same answer to this problem in the years to come. Join me as I try to dissect this creosote problem, one idea at a time.
    While you’re on this investigation journey, I would suggest documenting each day; the outside temperature, time that your loading the firebox, and the burn time per load. Additionally, I would note any outside chimney cap or smoke observations.
    ( Firewood )
    As you stated, the wood source you’re burning is the same wood as your son, and that he is not experiencing the same problem as you are. So I would have to dismiss the wood source as the problem. For me, I have used many different wood stoves over the years, at night before going to bed, I filled my wood stove firebox approximately 75 to 80% with wood.
    I would get that fire really going, then turn the damper back (appx 80%) before heading off to bed. When I get up in the morning, I will get a good hot fire going for about 20 minutes with the woodstove door open. Then I will reload the firewood and turn the damper back.
    I do this practice, in hopes of heating up the entire chimney flue pipe, thus flushing those over-night cooler gasses up out of the chimney system. I have always caution myself on dampening or choking down my stove, as I want a hotter chimney stack temperature to provide a really good chimney draft.
    ( Draft and Stack Effect Temperatures )
    To set the stage here, I find it rather unique that this problem was not occurring at your son’s home. Also, you’re using the same stove, and that your chimney stack is actually taller than his by 5’. I have found that this additional 5 foot of height would have consistently introduced a much better draft up the chimney.
    For our other reader’s benefit, I noticed that there is no mentioning of back puffing into the living space. Back-puffing might be associated with negative air pressure within the home.
    Negative air pressure issues could be brought about by both attic and bathroom fans, and even fans on our kitchen stoves. Other sluggish draft culprits to be noted could be associated, are those taller or cathedral types of ceilings. It is also important to note that those larger staircases that are adjacent to or in close in proximity to the wood stove could be problematic in some situations. The reason I mention this is because sluggish draft or lingering smoke really doesn’t care if it goes up the chimney or up or out another “path of lesser” resistance.
    ( Chimney Cap and Spark Screening )
    For me, I would “temporarily remove” the chimney cap, especially if it has any type of screening or spark arrestor. Your chimney cap and / or screening could be clogging with creosote over those very cold Dakota cold nights. Also, consider that this is the longest period for a colder sluggish draft and is actually the time that your stove is not being attended to at all. This creosote could possibly be blocking the exiting of the gas’ at night, then this creosote may be liquefying and dripping back down the chimney flue system, coating the entire interior of the flue. This possibly could be creating a very sluggish draft of smoke trying to exit.
    ( Creosote Modifiers )
    I would recommend using a liquid or granular creosote modifier, such ACS or Cre-away. Be sure to follow the directions by the manufacturer in the usage of either product. To be totally transparent here, and I want to state that I carry both of these products on my online website
    ( Catalytic Converter )
    If there is any type of catalytic converter in your system I would temporarily remove it or at least keep it in the bypass position. In the past, many catalytic converters were damaged, fouled out, or blocked with ash blockage. Also note that there is an actual “light off temperature that MUST be achieved, before actually engaging many cats, as described in the owner manuals. Most manufacturers have a customer service phone number for problems like these, and I would not hesitate to call them!
    (Chimney flue Size )
    The opening on the stove should be the same square inches throughout the entire run at the chimney venting system (an example of this would be a 6-inch outlet opening found on top of the stove and a 6-inch interior dimensions on the chimney pipe all of the way to the very top.
    Any horizontal connector within the venting system needs to maintain a 1/4” rise per foot of horizontal run (ie; connector pipe).

    Al, I really do hope that bouncing these ideas around will be of some help to you. As a side bar note; the manufacturer of your wood stove is your real voice of authority and they have engineering departments and customer service phone numbers for these types of issue, and I would not hesitate to contact them!
    I know this is a rather aggravating situation and I wish that I could offer more help!
    ClayClay Lamb author of: – Youtube Educational Videos – Professional grade Chimney products – Contractor Coaching Podcast – GM @ American Chimney Sweep Cincinnati, OH

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