Last year my wood stove started acting hinky. Because I’m a blogger and not bound by logic (unless I wish to be) I blamed it on Carter and the EPA. I whined about the complexity of my stove:
“Modern wood stoves house intricate systems of baffles and heat exchanges by law. This isn’t all bad; they’re better at squeezing heat from wood and smoke considerably less. On the other hand who gives a shit? I don’t exactly live in Phoenix. If I don’t mow my lawn it’ll eventually run rampant with Pine and Aspen. Is it really a key value to conserve wood in an environment where it grows en masse? Didn’t the EPA go to great lengths to conserve the one material that literally ‘grows on trees’? Should I care about conserving something I can acquire in great quantities without spending a single dime?”
Living in a cold house sucks so I sought a remedy.
Secretary: “I talked to the guys on the sales floor…”
Secretary: “Well this is embarrassing but they said the stoves do sometimes break…”
Secretary: “Apparently the salesmen have a solution. They all blame the last guy who sold the stove, hope it’s out of warranty, and then sell you a new stove.”
Me: “They said this?”
Secretary: “Yeah, I’m supposed to try and sell you a new stove.”
Finally I found a repair guy who fixed the secret secondary reburn chamber of mystery:
“Finally he broke it free and slid it out. It was a cube with all sorts of pathways for flammable gas… my non-catalytic reburn chamber was a work of technological prowess! Who knew? I wouldn’t have been more surprised if he’d extracted… say, a penguin. I was in awe.”
“When he was done he handed me the bill. Predictably I had a coronary. Mrs. Curmudgeon stepped over my twitching corpse and handed him a well earned check.”
That was last year. This is this year. (To insert a tautology.)
I always clean the chimney before winter. I hate doing it. It’s like climbing on the roof to give a proctology exam to a building. It’s a miserable job. It’s physically draining, cold, windy, and vertigo inducing. A thankless slog where I shove a brush on a pole up and down a long friction inducing chimney like I’m chained to the butter churn of Satan. Yeah, it just sucks.
I procrastinated. Some fuel oil may have been consumed that I should have conserved. Life sucks enough without seeking avenues of misery. But I finally cleaned the chimney today.
Surprise, surprise, the chimney was as clean as a whistle! No shit! I stuffed the brush in the orifice (yeah, it’s just as gross as that) and gave a mighty shove expecting resistance. Instead… schooop… the brush practically flew the whole length of the pipe. Had I put on the wrong diameter brush? I yanked the whole thing back out… schooop… and checked. Nope it was the right brush. I fiddled around with the flashlight (it’s not easy looking down a 30′ pipe) and once the dust cleared (mostly by settling in my lungs) I realized it was the cleanest I’d seen the chimney in a good long time. Wow!
I scrubbed a few more times (because once you’re on the roof you might as well) but frankly it didn’t need cleaning at all. Happy happy joy joy!
I’m so used to bad luck that I’m shocked when fortune smiles on me. I’d have done a little dance but I was on a roof and would have fallen to my death. Was it clean because I’ve recently serviced the stove? Was it clean because I was extra careful to keep the chimney clean last season? Was it clean because I’m always careful about burning super dry hardwood? Was it clean because I’m a studly dude with my own Batmobile? At least three of four are true. I’m takin’ credit for doing whatever made it perfect this time. I’m basking in the moment.
Also I’m currently sitting by a warm fire feeling smug and contented. The cat’s sitting with me looking identically smug… except it’s a cat and that’s just their natural state. A clean chimney is a redneck lottery win. I hope you all have great day too. Enjoy!
Wish you joy. I lit my (much less complex) stove for the first time this morning. Here we go.
It’s worth it. The thermometer in the living room showed a number starting with seven! I haven’t seen that in six weeks.
AHHH! finished that chore yesterday and was too feeling smug.
Know what you mean, had to turn the AC down to 80 to get to cool the place yesterday.
“It’s a miserable job. It’s physically draining, cold, windy, and vertigo inducing.”
You COULD eliminate one of those negatives by simply cleaning the thing in
August…..Otherwise it is a sucky job.
August is hot and buggy. I did it in October. It was not cold.
Since I got my “High Efficiency” stove insert, I’ve gone up on my roof every year for the last 8 years, ready to clean the chimney.
Every year for the last 8 years, there’s been nothing at all to clean.
For once, the EPA actually made something much, much better.
Same happened this year for me. I procrastinated all summer because I hate cleaning chimneys but when I finally got up on the roof it was very clean.