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How often do you guys clean your Chimney?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Seanm, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. hilbiliarkiboi

    hilbiliarkiboi Member

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    HotSprings NatlPark
    "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"

    I love those thunderdome fireball thingys!

    I call'em trippinderries.

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  2. Seanm

    Seanm Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
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    330
    Loc:
    SE BC Canadian Rockies
    Thanks for the advice guys. My gut was telling me to do it at least 3 times a season as I had been doing with my old stove, I just wanted to hear what everyone else experiences. So I went up and cleaned it today and got 6 cups of powder out of it. Even though I never measured it in the past it seems like alot. My wife thought it was odd that I was grabbing a measuring cup out of the kitchen. Not sure why its so much, I burn seasoned dry wood and check it often with a moisture meter. I was told that maybe I need to get my fire hotter from time to time. From the get go Ive tried to keep the smoke to a minimum. FYI I have 20 feet of outside piping. Ever hear of Kathite chimney cleaner? I picked some up today and plan on using it in between regular sweeping.
  3. Chopslide

    Chopslide Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    81
    Loc:
    Idaho
    Glad to hear reading this thread that I'm not the only one sweeping a couple times a year...... sometimes reading on this forum would lead me to believe that something is horribly wrong if I have to sweep once in the middle of the season and actually have a little build up...other bk owners even..... thanks made my night
  4. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Dec 29, 2008
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    1,776
    Loc:
    Beautiful British Columbia
    Yep, the hotter fire thing is the key, even if you have good dry wood you can still blacken your glass and soot up your chimney by choking off the fire too quickly, especially on cold start ups. I find the rule of thumb is if I am keeping my glass clean then my fires are hot enough and I'm probably minimizing the amount of creosote that is building up in my chimney. Of course there are other factors, like whether your chimney runs inside the house or outside, is it insulated, and stuff like that.
    I'm also a lodgepole pine burner, I usually clean my 25 ft interior chimney a couple times a year, maybe get a couple cups full every time.
    Only takes me a minute. ;)
  5. Hickorynut

    Hickorynut Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Messages:
    206
    Loc:
    western ky.
    I only clean mine once a year usually in the fall before burning season starts. That is all that is needed. Maybe a quart total and it is all in the top of the chimney above the roofline. I have an insulated interior chimney liner and burn only seasoned well, dry wood.
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Feb 14, 2007
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    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    There is a lot of difference between one man's "seasoned" wood and anothers. There can also be a wide variance in readings of a MM. Even two people using the same MM will many times get different readings. It must be done right also else it is a total waste of time using one. To me there is only one good way and that is to get yourself ahead 3 years on your wood supply. Get it split right away and stack it out in the wind to dry. Once folks try 3 year or older wood they are really amazed at the difference it makes with the stove and how much heat they get from their wood. Simply put, you get more heat from good dry wood so use less to heat your home. In addition, it does away with almost all stove and chimney problems and you won't have creosote issues. We have never owned a moisture meter and have never seen a need for one but we do read on this forum over and over about folks who use them....and still have creosote problems. Something is wrong there....
  7. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Adams County, PA
    Good thread here :) Every stove setup has a different 'personality'.

    I have a good sweep that lives nearby, he checks my chimney 1x each year, but sweeps every other year.
  8. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Beautiful British Columbia
    Poor burning practices can lead to creosote build-up just as easily as burning wood that's not properly dry, this is likely why some people with dry wood still have creosote problems.
    Pretty simple to use a moisture meter correctly, just make sure you measure inside a freshly split chunk of wood. And yeah, they can be out a few point one way or the other, but they are still more accurate then guessing, or banging two pieces of wood together which is really just guessing as well.
    But I agree with you Dennis, if you can get 3 years ahead that would be great, but not everyone is in a position to do that, especially not in their first couple years of burning. Til then, a moisture meter can be a pretty useful tool, and I can't think of many firewood tools that are much cheaper.
  9. DeerHunter

    DeerHunter Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Messages:
    45
    Loc:
    Adirondacks, NY
    I just swept mine last weekend. Mine is a fresh install in August, 18' SS double-wall insulated full liner. I started burning in mid-September, and know the combination of using less-than-great wood (Cottonwood for shoulder season) and 30% maple will cause me some issues. I have built up about 6 cords of red oak, but know that is a 2-3 yr prospect, and will keep accumulating until I can get 3 yrs ahead. However, I got to heat the house this year :), so I will clean more often. I actually don't have a problem getting the wood to burn, and haven't kicked the oil furnace on at all this year :cool:, and after all, you gotta burn what you got. I posted some pics of what I saw before sweeping, and what I got in the stove after sweeping.


    Pre-sweep, looking down:

    Chimney Liner 12.09.2012 Pre-Sweep.jpg

    Post-sweep, looking down:

    Chimney Post-Sweep 12.09.2012.jpeg


    what came out:
    Creosote From Sweeping 12.09.2012.jpeg
  10. Seanm

    Seanm Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    330
    Loc:
    SE BC Canadian Rockies
    Im pretty sure I will get it right and have wiped the slate clean of what I thought I used to know (that was before I had help of the internet). Measuring how many cups come out will help me check my progress for my next few sweeps. Ive learned how to use my moisture meter on hearth.com and follow those instructions to the letter, and yes my wood is dry (not hard to get with standing dead beatle kill lodgepole) also you can feel it in your hands when you hold it. My wife picked up a IR thermometer (intended to be a Christmas present) and its helped me understand what my stove top temps really are. I burn soft woods with Larch being my fav, our summer was very hot and I was an_l about drying. I could be wrong and only time will tell but im thinking its because my fires arent all that hot. I agree with the posts here, if my wood is wet or green then I will have problems, if I smoulder I will have problems. Either way I in no way blame my stove ;-) Its me who needs the fixin! I guess I just have to learn how to use it. Im off to look outside to see if there is any smoke! FYI Im almost 2 cords of Larch/Pine into next season stacked in my little yard.
  11. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    269
    Loc:
    Sherman, NY
    I check mine every 2 weeks if burning questionable stuff, and clean once a month. For us, It's so easy to do, I'd rather spend the 20 minutes than to have anything happen if the stove runs away on my wife (or me, it finally acted up for me now once).
  12. Mo Par

    Mo Par Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Messages:
    48
    Loc:
    The Hereford Zone, Maryland
    I clean mine at the beginning of the season (October) and check it again just after new years.​

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