JohnB wrote:[quote="VigIIPeaBurner"] Dumping it down a masonry chimney doesn't carry the negative possibilities like doing and incomplete neutralization inside a SS Dura-Vent could.
So what is a better solution? Doing nothing?
Doing nothing is akin to never changing the oil in your car and waiting until the tires go flat. A little Preventative Maintenance is always better than doing nothing.
Respectfully, your last statement is not universal in application. Nothing ever is. PM done properly fits your analogies. Done improperly, it will haunt your wallet with respect to stainless steel stovepipe or chimney/liner. It might
not be better than doing nothing.
Understanding the chemistry of what occurs when and how the baking soda is applied is where it starts- ions have to move to react. Here's another analogy. Look at it like a battle for a wall. One side waits on the wall for the approaching enemy. Nothing is happening until the enemy advances on the wall. Then the carnage starts and whatever happens, the wall won't be the same as before. If there are enough enemy troops, the wall will be destroyed. If the the number of troops are evenly matched, both sides lose some members and it's a draw (neutralized). In the end whoever wins, the wall is weaker than what it was before. It's similar to what happens during the battery terminal cleaning example dustyashpan's posted above, that "clean like new" terminal clamp is thinner than it was when new.
Applying dry baking soda doesn't neutralize much ash. It won't do much chemically without water being present - like the troops on either side of the wall before the battle started. For the neutralization to occur, water is the facilitator (the advance on the wall). The ions in the soda and ash don't move far or fast without water. Therefore, there's little to no acidic corrosion to the metal surface nor any neutralizing activity from the baking soda (the troops are just looking at each other across the wall). Mix the baking soda with water, apply it to a metal surface with ash present and that's when both reactions start moving faster (the attack begins). Understand that the mixture is baking soda AND
water - it doesn't change into anything different. It makes the baking soda more active as a neutralizer and when the water in that baking soda mixture wets the ash, the ash becomes more active as an acid. While the baking soda and ash acid are battling it out (the attack), the acid is simultaneously working on the metal surface (the wall). If there isn't enough baking soda present in the water to neutralize the ash/acid, the metal will suffer more than it did before the soda water solution was added.
Of course, while I was droning on on the keyboard, Smitty said it quicker and more clearly