Rivers of Treacle


An odd title to head up this blog about lining your chimney if you have a woodburning stove, but very descriptive.


Pam Ayres in her book “Surgically Enhanced” talks about an old builder who on being asked his advice on installing a woodburning stove ordered her


“to be sure to line the chimney, cause if you don’t, arter a time, runnin’ all down the inside of the brickwork, you’ll get rivers of treacle”



If only it was only treacle that was the result of a) not lining your chimney, and also b) burning wet wood.  The liquid that is produced as a result of both of these is sticky.  But that is the only characteristic it shares with treacle.  It is thick, smelly, very difficult to clean, and worst of all inflammable.


The “treacle” is actually tar, It comes out of the wood you are burning.  In a masonry chimney these deposits will stick to the sides of the chimney and after time will build up creating at a minimum a smaller draught for your woodburning stove to operate efficiently, and at worst a small river of thick, smelly gunge running down the chimney, into your fireplace, which is unsightly, smelly and a fire hazard.


Lining your chimney will minimise the likelihood of getting “rivers of treacle” down your chimney.  As will also burning dry wood.  Avoid the temptation to buy your logs of the garage forecourt.  Although they may look dry, they may well not be seasoned.  Buy your logs from a reputable log supplier, and look for logs that have been “kiln dried”.  Although they may be more expensive the amount of heat they generate will be far more than unseasoned logs.


To be certain on the moisture content of the logs you are burning, why not consider investing in a moisture meter. A moisture meter will help to confirm that your logs are indeed well seasoned.  Typically a moisture meter has two hardened steel pins which are pushed into the wood to be measured to obtain a reading of moisture content on an LCD screen.  The pins are protected by a cover when not in use.  Wood with a moisture content of 15% or less is ready to use.


Avoid those “rivers of treacle”!!!