Cleaning Wood Stove Chimneys

Wood stoves provide both warmth and a cozy old-fashioned atmosphere in the winter time. They also provide a different kind of heat from the typical central heating and air system. They come with certain drawbacks, however, and one is the cleaning process. For a wood stove to work properly, the chimney must be cleaned on a regular basis.

Why wood stove chimneys need to be cleaned
One word: creosote. This is the buildup of unburned wood residue that can form on the inside of a chimney. This stuff can be extremely flammable and is a leading cause of chimney fires. It comes from the wood burning too hot or too cold. The temperature on a wood stove should run between 400 degrees and 600 degrees. Using green wood or wood that is way too dry is another way for creosote to accumulate on the inside of a chimney. In short, some amount of creosote is inevitable, which means that even if the right fuel is chosen every time the stove is lit, the chimney still needs to be cleaned regularly. Chimneys should be cleaned once a year at a minimum, more if the only wood available falls into the green or super-dry categories.

Cleaning the chimney
Get a wire brush specifically made to clean chimneys and that is the right size to fit inside the chimney. Remove the stovepipe inside the house. Get a ladder and go to the roof. On the rooftop, remove the chimney cap if there is one and brush until the soot buildup is gone.

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