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Uses for creosote?

 
Laura Rutherford
Posts: 5
Location: Cape Breton, NS
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It was 0°C here last night so it's time to fire up the old woodstove. I'm about to clean it, my first chimney-cleaning experience, and I wondered if there were uses for what comes out.

AtDhVaAnNkCsE!

 
Bernard Welm
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Aren't railroad tie covered in creosote? So it would be a preservative
 
Micky Ewing
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Location: Merrickville, Ontario
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Bernard Welm wrote:Aren't railroad tie covered in creosote? So it would be a preservative



Railroad ties are treated with coal-tar creosote, not wood-tar creosote.  Not sure if wood-tar creosote would work as well.  Historically, wood-tar creosote has been used for preserving meat, but I probably wouldn't use it that way.  Coal-tar creosote has been identified as a probable carcinogen for humans, and though wood-tar creosote is not the same, there are enough similarities to worry me.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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That stuff is good for coating the outside of a bark canoe (water proofing the seams) and as a fire starter. Those are the only things I know of it being used for.
 
Glenn Herbert
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It's a preservative by being toxic, and it reportedly can leach into the ground. (I don't know what difference there is between coal-tar and wood-tar creosote either, but coal is essentially 300 million year old wood...) So if you use it, be aware of that. Many people absolutely refuse to have it around due to this... of course, if your heater is generating it, your options are limited. I think the best option is to change your heating system so that it doesn't produce creosote. Any time you are getting creosote, you have an inefficient burn that is wasting your hard-earned fuel and producing pollution.  There are new woodstoves that are supposed to be highly efficient even while being damped down to not overheat the space... of course, the ones that are best are insanely expensive ($3000-$5000 as I understand). Or if it can fit your space, a rocket mass heater generates zero creosote, while burning 1/4 to 1/10 the wood of an ordinary woodstove.
 
Laura Rutherford
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Location: Cape Breton, NS
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Thanks for the responses All!

It didn't produce too much, though more than I was expecting - about 8 cups in almost 10 metres of chimney. It was used from the end of September till the end of April pretty much non-stop and this was the only cleaning in that time. I don't have anything to compare to, but that doesn't seem too bad, especially since the previous owner wasn't exactly a fire wizard.

I'd love to build a RMH, Glenn, and not have to spend another day doing that job! I have the perfect space for one, I think, but am not sure what the insurance company will say about it... Once the financial shock of moving here has worn off a bit, I'll look into it. I'm also considering a wood cookstove in place of the one that's here. Which is not that old, btw - you can't get insurance here with old-timey stoves. Or mortgages... Be nice to dispense with both of those things, but that's not how it worked out.

Right, time to stack some more wood!
 
If you try to please everybody, your progress is limited by the noisiest fool. And this tiny ad:
Switching from electric heat to a rocket mass heater reduces your carbon footprint as much as parking 7 cars
http://woodheat.net
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