Last night I finally cleaned out the stovepipe. The last time we did so was when we bought the place, and that time — in the middle of the six inch pipe — there was probably only a 2 inch gap left open! The rest was clogged with creosote, a house-barbeque waiting to happen.
This time it wasn’t nearly as bad: 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of coating on the insides of the pipes, not even the bad kind of creosote, with great bunches only at the very top, underneath the chimney cap. Of course the whole process was incredibly messy, even though I took precautions and taped a garbage bag around the stovepipe in the house.
Last time we took it down section by section (as we were rebuilding the stove jack and moving the woodstove slightly anyways), but this time I cleaned it in place. Which meant up and down the ladder, in the rain — after dark of course — accidentally rolling tools off the roof, dropping parts down the stovepipe from the roof, back down the ladder inside, parts stuck in the damper, get the stove shovel and bang on it for a while, soot and creosote everywhere, sharp metal brushes (sharp!) being forced in various places with shirts pinched and fingers pinched and blood, and everything getting blacker and messier and smellier all the time! Then rattling a great length of chain down to get the places that couldn’t quite be reached.
Anyways, it was completed, and the damper operates smoothly and once we get a good fire going we should be able to notice a better draw, and best of all, we’re further from the possibility of burning the place down around us! Woo-hoo!