How often do you guys clean your Chimney?

Seanm Posted By Seanm, Dec 9, 2012 at 11:00 PM

  1. Seanm

    Minister of Fire

    Oct 16, 2012
    SE BC Canadian Rockies
    I had a PE Heritage non cat epa stove installed in early October and am already wondering when its time to scrub. I burn Larch and Lodgepole Pine with MC well below 20% and mostly around 8-15% and have been burning on a regular basis since it went in (zone 3.5). My last stove was in a different house and if I recall correctly it was a pre epa blaze king that came with the home (we purchased that house in 96). I hadnt discovered back then so my knowledge about burning dry wood was not what it is today. I used to clean that one every three months but now ive been told that if I practice good burning habits it can wait until spring, even the insurance company seemed ok with my once a year answer on the wood burning questionare. This doesnt seem right to me but I want to know from you epa non cat burners if this is the norm or not. Thanks for any help you may be able to provide.
  2. burnt03

    Burning Hunk

    Oct 30, 2011
    Peachland, BC, Canada
    Might depend on your chimney.

    I burn fairly dry wood (below 20%, never have dirty glass, etc) but I have an oversized (6x10) outside chimney. I swept the other day for the first time since I started burning (about 1 1/2 months worth) and got a dustpan full of creosote out of a 25' chimney.

    Wasn't a ton but I don't know if I'd be comfortable leaving it for the whole burning season
  3. PapaDave

    Minister of Fire

    Feb 23, 2008
    Northern MI - in the mitten
    I like to check every couple months, but I've got a pre-EPA stove.
    Checking every month or 2 for a while will give you a good idea how your setup is burning.
    Mine won't help you.
    I can get to mine very easily (as soon as my brother brings my ladder back:mad:), so I probably check more than I need to.
    loon, Snotrocket and Backwoods Savage like this.
  4. Seanm

    Minister of Fire

    Oct 16, 2012
    SE BC Canadian Rockies
    i should get up there and do a scrub and see what i find. It might turn out that I find very little and that will give me an idea how long to go before checking it again. Thanks for the reminder about the ladder. One of my tenants has mine to put up his Christmas lights. Guess I should get that back before to long!
    Backwoods Savage and PapaDave like this.
  5. rdust

    Minister of Fire

    Feb 9, 2009
    When I had my non cat I would sweep 2-3 times a season and try to practice the same now. I usually try to sweep once I feel the shoulder season is done which usually happens around Christmas since I usually travel to see family, when I return home the stove is cold(perfect time to sweep) and usually one more time around the Feb./March time frame. The third time is usually at the beginning of the season(if I was lazy at the end of the last season) or end of the season.
    milleo and PapaDave like this.
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart LLC Mid-Atlantic Division
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    I normally sweep it on the first semi warm day in January and then at the end of the season. Last year I went the whole season. Ain't happening this year. I was up there the other day and am not liking the accumulation I saw so I will sweep next week sometime. Something went goofy in the November burns.
  7. Dustin

    Feeling the Heat

    Sep 3, 2008
    Western Oregon
    I sweep about once every three months. I got about two ash shovels full on my recent sweep. Better to be safe the sorry...
  8. blacktail

    Minister of Fire

    Sep 18, 2011
    Western WA
    Last year was my first year with the stove in my new house and I cleaned the chimney twice. Did it once on January 1st and again in spring near the end of burning season.
    When it's time to clean the chimney, my insert lets me know by puffing a little smoke out the door on reloads.
  9. firefighterjake

    Minister of Fire

    Jul 22, 2008
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    I personally recommend at least inspecting monthly to be on the safe side . . . and sweep when needed (a quarter to half inch of creosote and it's time to sweep).

    That said, I personally try to sweep every month since I can do mine from the ground-up, outside so it's a quick and easy job . . . just a bit messy. This year I have been slacking though . . . only did it twice so far a month or so in and then just this past weekend . . . not much to sweep out . . . but it gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing it is clean . . . well that and in my career I would never hear the end of it if I had a chimney fire.
  10. firewoodjunky


    Sep 18, 2010
    Central/Western MA
    I just swept my chimney yesterday. I didn't get a heck of a lot out of it, but I am a big believer in an ounce of prevention...

    Chimney sweeping iinformation for me

    25 foot interior chimney, insulated stainless liner
    Early EPA stove, which has seen better days :)
    Sweep chimney in September
    I usually start burning off and on in late Sep, early October (I refuse to use my furnace, except for hot water)
    Sweep chimney in December
    Sweep again at the next good thaw, generally Feb, sometimes early March
    Burn through April or early May
    Scott2373 likes this.
  11. Freeheat

    Minister of Fire

    Feb 1, 2010
    West of Cleveland
    once per season at the end of the season , now that being said I dont burn 24/7 3-4 fires per week when it decides to get cold:mad:
  12. ohlongarm

    Minister of Fire

    Mar 18, 2011
    Northeastern Ohio
    I cleaned my chimney ,stainless 8in liner in Oct for the first time since running the new stove almost 2 years it was clean and really didn't need cleaning.I checked it over the weekend when a couple weeks ago, I saw hot embers hitting the underside of the cap,followed by a fireball clean as as can be,never did figure out what happened but everything is fine,my wood is primo so maybe that helps.
  13. BurnIt13

    Minister of Fire

    Jun 10, 2010
    Central MA
    I'm on the paranoid side...and I'm an over analytical engineer. I did the install myself and routed the chimney pipe through my sons room. There is a 30 degree offset inside the chase which is a good a place as any for creosote formation. Everything was done per manufacturer spec and was inspected by the building inspector.

    Last year my wood was around 25% moisture content and I burned about 2.5-3 cords. Since it was my first year with the new stove and knowing that I had less than ideal wood I swept the chimney about once per month from the bottom up.

    I got about 2 cups of soot/creosote each sweeping and its 22ft of chimney and stove pipe. I figure a total of about a half gallon of soot/creosote for the entire season.

    If my calculations are correct.....even if I didn't sweep, a half gallon of creosote is the equivalent of .023" equally spread across the 22ft of chimney pipe. Not bad actually. That's less than 1/32 of an inch!

    But of course the nature of creosote is it usually accumulates more in one particular spot and that's where the chimney fire usually is. That is why I will continue to sweep once a month...just because it makes me feel better.
  14. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers
    Minister of Fire

    Jan 7, 2010
    Northern ON
    Still a weekend burner here - I sweep at the beginning of the new season, and I don't think (after just a few seasons now) that I've ever seen more than a "film" on the inside of the pipe - a half a cup or so falls down with a couple passes of the brush. I am up on the roof a few times a year, and always have a look at the chimney, flashing, etc. But the 1/4" as a kind of a warning line / threshold makes me feel really good about where I'm at now.
  15. aansorge

    Minister of Fire

    Aug 12, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    I sweep once a year: in the summer. I don't get much of anything, even after a full 6 months of burning. Dry wood rules!
  16. ohlongarm

    Minister of Fire

    Mar 18, 2011
    Northeastern Ohio
    You are 100% correct dry wood alleviates 90%of problems encountered in burning amen!
    ScotO and Backwoods Savage like this.
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
    Minister of Fire

    Feb 14, 2007
    Seanm, we can't tell you how often your chimney needs cleaning and you can't go by how often others clean either. There is only one way to know and that to check your own chimney like everyone should. As for what we do, with our old stove we used to clean 3-4 times every season. With the new stove we cleaned after 2 years to get almost a cup of soot and no creosote. We have not cleaned since then and that was 3 years ago. We do check the chimney but so far it just does not need cleaning. Most are very aware of how I preach about good dry wood and I'll continue on that because after posting on this forum for quite some time I thought this was the biggest mistake people make with burning wood. We usually give our wood 3 years after being split and stacked before we burn. This along with a top notch stove is why we don't have to clean our chimney as often as most.
    Got Wood, rdust, milleo and 2 others like this.
  18. westkywood

    Feeling the Heat

    Oct 14, 2009
    I've got a PE Super 27. Flu goes straight up about 14 feet I believe. Insulated pipe ( through the roof). I burn 24/7. Went to clean it this past spring and I got about 1 cup of creosote. That was after burning a full season. I burn Oak, Hickory and Maple. All well seasoned.
    First couple years, I'd recommend checking every couple months anyway until you see how yours does. Dry wood and burning good hot fires is the key.......
  19. ScotO


    I clean my chimney (well, now chimnies) every other month during the burning season, and at the beginning AND end of the burning season. Not that they even need it (as is the case) but more for piece of mind. Also lets me 'inspect' the internals of the pipe AND the stove. Nothing wrong with a little 'Overkill' from time to time.

    I didn't get that name fer nothing, you know!;)
    rdust and es332 like this.
  20. corey21

    Minister of Fire

    Oct 28, 2010
    Soutwest VA
    I clean mine once a year.
  21. milleo

    Feeling the Heat

    Aug 8, 2011
    Like Dennis said check your chimney, ride your own ride.....
    Backwoods Savage, ScotO and rdust like this.
  22. Treacherous

    Minister of Fire

    May 13, 2010
    WA state
    Once a year during the summer...
  23. DuckDog

    Burning Hunk

    Sep 3, 2010
    Eastern Ontario
    Before I switched stoves, at least 4 times a season. Now only once a year and I only get about 2 cups of soot out of my 15' chimeny. Good stove and good wood makes for a happy chimney.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  24. Got Wood

    Got Wood
    Minister of Fire

    Oct 22, 2008
    Dutchess Cty, NY
    Once a year, in the early fall
  25. argus66

    Feeling the Heat

    Dec 9, 2007
    central coastal nj
    i do it 2 times a yr to be on the safe side i get maybe 2 cups of black soot.

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