My wife and I bought our first home about 2 years ago, and shortly thereafter, installed a County 210 Performer woodstove in the basement. Even with the luxury of natural gas, I love harvesting and seasoning our fuel supply for the winter months. I've been very happy with the stove, and it keeps us at a blazing 85 in the basement and 70 upstairs. Our house layout seems to work as good as we could hope when it comes to heating the entire house. I just installed 15 new vinyl windows, and I can tell this is going to be an even warmer winter, with reduced wood usage. During the last two seasons of wood burning, I would check our chimney monthly for creosote accumulations. Iâ€™ve never seen a measureable reduction in the pipe diameter, just flaky black powder. I figured, if it looks this good up here, it must be fine down lower where itâ€™s hotter. But Hearth.com has taught me better, so I resolved myself to sweep before starting this season, and thus bought a 6â€ polymer brush and 20â€™ of rod, for a mere $33. Now for some humor. Detaching and removing my raised up 300+ lb insert was not going to fly. My pregnant wife confirmed that she would not be assisting me. Our insert is installed in a ZC fireplace, up to an offset box, 2 feet of flex thru a 45 degree jog, then 18â€™ of 6â€ rigid pipe, inside the original 8â€ double wall pipe. Top-down cleaning seemed to be the best idea, and with the offset box, this was a one-way street. Up on the roof, I joyfully plunged my new brush a few feet into the liner. Upon reversal, I found my brush to be absolutely stuck in the pipe! I yanked so hard I could feel the flex pipe stretching and the entire chase cap was starting to lift up. My chimney pipe is about head-high when standing on the roof, so I imagined maybe I was just poorly positioned. A quick trip to the garage yielded my step-stool, but I still canâ€™t pull the brush. Next I reach shoulder-deep and manage to get a handful of bristles and an armful of soot. Canâ€™t budge it. Panic and natural selection start to kick in, and now Iâ€™m kneeling on top of the chase. Then stupidity takes hold, and I am standing on the chase, yanking frantically on the brush until it finally releases. Time for a sanity check; I measure the rigid pipe, check the brush size. Everything is good, but there is no way this is going to work. Out comes the Leatherman, and I starting clipping bristles by about 1/8â€ all around, testing the fit as I go. I found my happy medium. Still lots of resistance and tough reversals, but at a reasonable amount. I was able to feel the transition from rigid to flex pipe, but now as itâ€™s getting dark out and I am thoroughly soot-covered, I wonder if all the trouble was worth it. So I head to the basement and see just how worth it my efforts really were. Wow, thatâ€™s a lot of ???. Creosote? Or just fly ash? Very, very fine powder. At any rate, I am convinced; I will be an annual sweeper. Before sweeping, I removed the top bricks and insulation blankets. The bricks are fine, but the blankets seem fragile and a bit matted. Any opinions on this? Should I just replace them now, while I have it all apart? How long do your blankets last? Also chipped out some monster size clinkers from burning Homefire Logs. I love those logs for overnight burns, but the deposits are really something else. As they burn, I can see molten droplets of mineral(?) deposits collecting on the floor bricks. Besides still needing to vacuum out the offset box, and reinstall the bricks and blankets, I would call this a successful first sweep. If nothing else, definitely a learning experience! Thanks to Hearth.comâ€™s always helpful posters. Even if I donâ€™t post much, I always enjoy reading here.