The use of smokeless fuel and flue corrosion

Do you use smokeless fuels in your stove or fire?

The use of smokeless fuel and flue corrosion/

This is an extreme case of the corrosion caused when sulphuric acid is formed by burning smokeless fuels. If left unchecked the flue/liner will fail (as in this case) and allow the acids to attack the inside of the chimney which could result in it becomming structurally unsafe

 

Mr Bond has been sweeping chimneys and flues for a very long time and one thing that he sees time and time again is the damage that smokeless fuel does to chimney linings and flues.

This damage is becoming more apparent as manufacturers are seeking to cut costs and reducing the thickness and quality of metals used in flues.

When exposed to constant burning of smokeless fuels, we would estimate that the life expectancy of a liner would be only 3-5 years and this is a costly procedure to replace a failed liner.

Whilst there is no smoke from burning anthracite, the hot air generated by burning the fuel allows chemicals contained within the fuel to travel up the ventilation chimney/flue. These chemicals deposit on the inside of the flue and when these chemicals come into contact with water i.e. rain falling down chimney then the chemicals react and effectively you end up with sulphuric acid sitting on the surface of the liner.

This acid rapidly pits and erodes the liner and a new liner can be eaten away by this process within 3 years and if not checked, can result in catastrophic failure with the liner falling apart and falling into the chimney causing a blockage resulting in fumes designed to be ventilated being circulated back into your house.

If this goes unnoticed and unchecked, once it has eaten its way through the liner, sulphuric acid is now free to attack the brick work of your chimney and can lead to extensive, and indeed expensive, structural damage possibly even contributing to the failure of your chimney which once weakened could be damaged or brought crashing to the ground in strong winds.

Wet fuel delivered by your coal/fuel merchant can also contribute to this in that as the fuel heats up water vapour evaporates up the chimney triggering the sulphuric acid reaction on the exposed liner.

Some liner manufacturers also now state that their guarantee will become void if petrochemical fuels are burnt. So our honest and professional recommendation is to not use smokeless fuels as the damage that they can do to your chimney and flue are simply not worth it.

Some smokeless fuels do seem to be worse than others but the advise is do not burn them unless you really have to and if you do, please make sure you get Mr Bond to sweep and inspect your chimney and flue on a regular basis.