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Nightwatch

Chimney clearance of gunk.

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Hi. 

We are doing our pre-winter fire clearout. 

During last winter we bought some, we were told, very good coal for the fire. What that has achieved is,not only tar marks down the tumblehome on the outside but a severe case of build up of gunk on the inside of the flue to such an extent that the flue was down to about an inch and a hard in diameter. In addition I couldn't get the chimney off as it had welded itself onto the collar. I got it off by breaking some of the welds of the SS  construction. Anyway, we have managed to dislodge a great deal of the blockage but there is still more to come off.

I have seen these chimney clear logs that are supposed to burn off this sort of gunk,that is now hard. Are these logs any good?  Do that do what's it says on the........?

Is there another way to get rid of this stuff?

Taught me not to be such a gullible skinfint. Must have had all sorts of chemicals and other rubbish in the coal.

Edited by Nightwatch
Incorrect smelling

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3 minutes ago, Nightwatch said:

Hi. 

We are doing our pre-winter fire clearout. 

During last winter we bought some, we were told, very good coal for the fire. What that has achieved is,not only tar marks down the tumblehome on the outside but a severe case of build up of gunk on the inside of the four to such an extent that the foure was down to about an inch and a hill in diameter. In addition I couldn't get the chimney off as it had welded itself onto the collar. I got it off by breaking some of the welds of the SS  construction. Anyway, we have managed to dislodge a great deal of the blockage but there is still more to come off.

I have seen these chimney clear logs that are supposed to burn of this sort of gunk,that is now hard. Are these logs any good?  Do that do what's it says on the........?

is there another way to get rid of this stuff?

Taught me not to be such a gullible skinfint. Must have had all sorts of chemicals and other rubbish in the coal.

When we first started boating out of season many years ago,  we also made the mistake of buying domestic coal and suffered the consequences of excessive smoke and tar etc. We have since been very careful to buy smokeless fuel and have not had that problem again.

Have you got a double skinned chimney? If not, I find them very good for reducing the amount of staining and tarry deposits on the roof/cabin sides. They need to be fitted correctly with the inner lining inside the chimney collar which allows the tar etc. to run back into the fire.

Cheers

Howard

  • Greenie 1

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The usual method recommended is to swing a chain around the inside of the flue, whilst someone else is banging the outside with a hammer.

My current boat has a diesel stove, and I use Russboy stove cleaning tablets with a fair degree of success, although some mechanical cleaning is also necessary in the burner pot.

https://www.midlandchandlers.co.uk/store/category/1887/product/ac-167.aspx

I note that Midland Chandlers are advertising them as suitable for multi fuel stoves so you could try them.

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I use a six foot lenth of aluminium pipe, about an inch in diameter, which I poke down the flue and scrape all the junk off.  I have a lot less now I stick to smokeless fuel rather than wood, even very well seasoned logs.

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2 hours ago, howardang said:

When we first started boating out of season many years ago,  we also made the mistake of buying domestic coal and suffered the consequences of excessive smoke and tar etc. We have since been very careful to buy smokeless fuel and have not had that problem again.

Have you got a double skinned chimney? If not, I find them very good for reducing the amount of staining and tarry deposits on the roof/cabin sides. They need to be fitted correctly with the inner lining inside the chimney collar which allows the tar etc. to run back into the fire.

Cheers

Howard

Thanks for your comment Howard. It wasn't household coal. We have always used smokeless fuel (coal in my words). My post using coalas adescription was perhapsmisleading.

We have a double skinned chimney bought from the little chimney company. I think the 'tar' dripped off the cover.

1 minute ago, dor said:

I use a six foot lenth of aluminium pipe, about an inch in diameter, which I poke down the flue and scrape all the junk off.  I have a lot less now I stick to smokeless fuel rather than wood, even very well seasoned logs.

We don't use logs for tha very reason. We just got caught out by this'coal'. May I add I didn't buy it from a coalboatbut from a canalside seller.

just a mistake I am trying to recover from. The chain idea is worth a try.

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21 minutes ago, cuthound said:

The usual method recommended is to swing a chain around the inside of the flue, whilst someone else is banging the outside with a hammer.

My current boat has a diesel stove, and I use Russboy stove cleaning tablets with a fair degree of success, although some mechanical cleaning is also necessary in the burner pot.

https://www.midlandchandlers.co.uk/store/category/1887/product/ac-167.aspx

I note that Midland Chandlers are advertising them as suitable for multi fuel stoves so you could try them.

This stuff is really hard. We have managed so far with anarrow scraper on a broom handle and a screwdriver on the broom handle as well. The outer bits were really gooey,now that has been removed it's solid. Bloomin'awful stuff.

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4 hours ago, Nightwatch said:

This stuff is really hard. We have managed so far with anarrow scraper on a broom handle and a screwdriver on the broom handle as well. The outer bits were really gooey,now that has been removed it's solid. Bloomin'awful stuff.

Until the last couple of years we never suffered from flue problems. However last winter ours became so blocked we had to remove the chimney/flue completely well Alex did for me and it was virtualy blocked inside with what can only be described as concrete. Alex has made a tool which is a big bloomin wide drill bit attached to an electric drill which he used to smash the concrete out with, a cold chisel wouldn't touch it!! Now we have lived aboard for umpteen years with every kind of fuel and never had it this bad. We always use smokeless and never wood. No idea what has happened but it must either be Global warming, Brexit or Trump coming to power cos nowt else has changed by what we do??????

Edit to add others have suffered the same and we think??? its because winters have been mild and stove spending more time on tickover than some previous years??

Edited by mrsmelly

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Your last sentence makes sense.

You are also spot on describing the residue as concrete.

We certainly have a bigger flue than we had a couple of days ago. Might give it some heat and a dose of the stuff mentioned earlier.

i always blamed the Russians for all that goes wrong, now, its obviously Mr Trump.

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11 minutes ago, Nightwatch said:

Your last sentence makes sense.

You are also spot on describing the residue as concrete.

We certainly have a bigger flue than we had a couple of days ago. Might give it some heat and a dose of the stuff mentioned earlier.

i always blamed the Russians for all that goes wrong, now, its obviously Mr Trump.

Funny innitt. I was looking through some old stuff just the other day and came across a foto of me stood on the back of a grey funnel liner with a Russian warship closeish in the background. Bet you can remember those days when we used to shadow each other all over the world? and can you remember the Russian " Fishing trawlers " you know the ones bristling with hundreds of aerials etc? :D

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Yes, I do remember them.

When Sheffield was first commissioned, as first of class, was of great interest to the Russians.

i think we received a signal from the shadowing Russian ship that was struggling to keep up, 'Suggest you engage washing machine engines' Our skipper sent back 'Have engaged washing machine engines and going astern'. In fact we exposed a design fault with the Ensign flag pole on the flight deck, we were flying the White Ensign,as you do, and the staff snapped. Whoops!! Mind we were motoring.

Cant remember which ship I was on but we shadowed the Kiev,new carrier, for days and days. Jamming their radios by reading the bible and all sorts of monkeying around.

The trawlers were a hardy bunch.

  • Happy 1

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We only use smokeless fuels.

First eight or nine years onboard, no problems, then over the last three or four years, this build up like cement appears. It was so bad a couple of years ago we had to replace the flue.

Since then we have taken to using Hot Spot Flue powder from Midland Chandlers, twice a week.

it doesn't stop the build up, but it keeps it moist and much easier to remove.

I realise this advice won't help until you've cleared the build up, sorry.

Rog

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22 minutes ago, Nightwatch said:

Thank you Rog. It would appear that the recipe of smokeless fuels has changed.

I think that may be the problem. Quality of many things has dropped and it seems there is more crap than coal dust in the present so called fuels.

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2 hours ago, mrsmelly said:

Until the last couple of years we never suffered from flue problems. However last winter ours became so blocked we had to remove the chimney/flue completely well Alex did for me and it was virtualy blocked inside with what can only be described as concrete. Alex has made a tool which is a big bloomin wide drill bit attached to an electric drill which he used to smash the concrete out with, a cold chisel wouldn't touch it!! Now we have lived aboard for umpteen years with every kind of fuel and never had it this bad. We always use smokeless and never wood. No idea what has happened but it must either be Global warming, Brexit or Trump coming to power cos nowt else has changed by what we do??????

Edit to add others have suffered the same and we think??? its because winters have been mild and stove spending more time on tickover than some previous years??

Doctor jab my arm in septembre to stop flue problem but flue still get full up crap ever winter. I use moring pin to brake crapp at top, und a chain like other says. 

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42 minutes ago, mrsmelly said:

I think that may be the problem. Quality of many things has dropped and it seems there is more crap than coal dust in the present so called fuels.

I used Excel from our local supplier last winter and my flue was almost completely blocked, did you use the same?

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3 minutes ago, bastion said:

I used Excel from our local supplier last winter and my flue was almost completely blocked, did you use the same?

No I used ? cant remember. I ended up using phurnacite but it was too late then. It all seems crap nowadays unless its the very mild winters?

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We used excel a lot,but after the time that we believe the damage was done. We thought!! Maybe it is excel.

A lot of fuels have unpleasant smells and some smell like petroleum. Just a hint. Some smell like flatulent.

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We have found that a lot of the smokeless fuel we have used over the years has been very wet and slimy, so this can’t help it to burn very easily. It seems to be delivered to the retailer in this condition.

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I burn mainly well seasoned wood,  i value the life of the old lady, so over the winter clean the flue every two weeks, hey your cold for a couple of hours at most!  Not the end of the world! 

 

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We used to stick to a few self-imposed 'rules'. 

Firstly use decent fuel - good quality smokeless or seasoned wood. Never use petroleum coke / petcoke (too hot), brown coal (filthy, cheap sweepings up), house coal (too hot and mucky) or green wood.

Never have the fire on 'tick-over' for too long. In other words give it a really hot burn at least once a day to burn off residues. I also made an external twin-wall exterior section (1.5 metre?) which may have helped.

I regularly checked the flue but didn't sweep it once during our last 5 / 6 years boating although I did clean the throat / baffle plate periodically. 

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I don't have this problem with my current boat, but then it has a diesel drip stove.

The flue gets lined with a very fine layer of soot which is easily removed. -_- (closest I could get to a "feeling smug" smiley).

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Do it one of the traditional ways, a paraffin rag on the fire to get a good flame out of the top of the chimney, and then rattle an old chain down the chimney to dislodge anything.

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Our house solid fuel supplier is also a certificated chimney sweep and it happens he supplies me with Excel. I asked him if he had noticed any change is the soot from Excel when he sweeps the chimneys and he said no. I also see the soot in my house chimney is anything but concrete like, soft black graduals. I burn Excel and well seasoned wood.

He said to the best of his knowledge Excel has not changed but he suspects other makers may have tweaked their formulae. He went on to say that the hard concrete like deposits seem to be associated with cool flues and a lot of water/steam in the flue. I note my consumption of gas and solid fuel/wood was well down last year so suspect it  may have been milder overall. If so that would probably cause boaters to run their stoves shut down more giving cooler flues with more condensation.

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