Guest Author - Dale Y the Maintenance Guy
Back in those days when I lived in the city, I would wait for the first cool night of fall, and then go wander around the neighborhood smelling all the wonderful wood burning smells. Sometimes I could even tell what type of wood was being burned by the aroma it gave off, and I would just meander around, going up and down blocks, feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.
Living out in the country now, the way I do, burning wood is a major source of heating in the winter. Cord upon cord gets burned in the cast iron wood stove, giving me that same warm fuzzy feeling as the heat flows off the stove and into our home.
Now then, any state or government agency will tell you that you should get an annual inspection of your chimney. I agree wholeheartedly, and it should be done without fail every year.
However, the inspection will also tell you if you need a good chimney cleaning or not, and here is where I come in.
Every fall, when you first fire up your wood stove or fireplaces, try this. Go to your nearest hardware store, or easier still, click on one of the links I provide, and pick up a chemical chimney cleaner. There are many brand names like Kwik-Shot, Flue Renew, and even Creosote Sweeping Log, then follow the directions and add them to your fire. You will be amazed at the results.
I began doing this several years ago, mainly to see if there was any validity to the claims that they reduce buildup from wood burning. After all, creosote buildup is the number one cause of chimney fires, which is why a yearly inspection is a very good thing to do. And, although I continued getting inspections, something amazing began to happen. My chimney was remaining clean.
Now, I have an 8 inch clean-out on the bottom of my stove pipe, and once a week I empty this thing, and I can see the results my self. These chimney sweeps in a can actually work and work well. They appear to bond to the creosote, almost crystallize it, and with normal fires and house vibrations this stuff flakes off any buildup and sends it plummeting into my clean-out, leaving the sides of my chimney clean, and the inspector scratching his head.
That is the key, always have the inspection. They search for other things besides creosote, and it is invaluable to have that done on a yearly basis. But by adding some of those chimney sweeping chemicals, you may just cut down on chimney cleaning, giving you a little more money in your pocket, and a little piece of mind for your self.
I personally, have not had my chimney cleaned in over 7 years, and last years inspection said slight flaky residue on the sides, but nothing to worry about. I suspect this years will be much the same, and I will continue to use my chimney sweep in a package!
Hey, itís easy to do, throw the recommended amount in your fire, sit back, and next year let the chimney inspector tell you that you donít need a cleaning. See, easy!