The previous owner assured me he cleaned out the chimney. The first fire I had in the wood stove resulted in a chimney fire. The following day I took the stove pipe apart. I attached a before and after of the thimble. Thank GOD my family wasn't living in the house. The chimney is an old 30' masonry chimney with clay tile inserts. Thankfully, it's still in good enough shape and there will NEVER be another chimney fire. Unlike the old owner, I take this very seriously and I will keep it clean myself. The wood stove is really old thermo control ultimate wood burning system. I'm not sure which model, but it's OLD. The stove is necked down from 8 inch to 6 inch before going into the thimble. I've heard some talk about how this is a no go, but I've been firing this the last 3 weeks without any issues. Drafts fine, burns fine. The hardest part of being a newbie is not understanding the importance of good, seasoned wood. Burning soggy wood sucks, and of course, you have to be vigilant about keeping the system clean. I look forward to being a member of this community. Any beginners advice is welcome!