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Monday, 23 January 2012

How to Clean a Wood Cook Stove and Chimney

Mountain Man has graciously agreed to clean the stove and chimney early so I can document it for this little post. It isn't slated for cleaning for at least another week but I thought since I was on the subject I might as well continue.

One of the biggest mistakes we made was not understanding how to clean it. If you have or ever decide to purchase a wood cook stove you will soon find it requires a lot more work to clean than a regular wood heater. This is mainly due to the way it is constructed. In order for the water reservoir and the oven to heat up the fire and heat must go around them, so the stove is built in such a way that there is about a four to six inch space all the way around the oven. This is also why the oven seems so much smaller than it should be.

Of course having that fire space also means having spaces that need to be cleaned and this is where we erred the first time. Then we noticed the little tabs on the back of the stove which can be removed. Now we were all set!

First step, let the fire burn out until nothing is left but a few coals. You will want to do this on a fairly warm day if possible as it will be an hour or hour and a half before you can start it again and the house can cool off a bit.

It has been ten hours since we added wood to the fire and we are still waiting for the coals to die down enough.

Once the coals have died down remove all excess ashes from the firebox. Might as well get it out of the way first although you can do this last if you like.
That's about two weeks worth of ashes, sometimes we remove ashes in-between cleanings if it is needed.

Our chimney sweeper

Since the weather has been so cold we have a bit of ice built up on the chimney.

After making sure the stove is all closed up. Climb up to the roof, knock off the ice and remove the chimney cap. Insert the chimney sweeper into the chimney (make sure you have the proper size, it should be a tight fit) and start pushing it up and down, slowly moving further down the chimney making sure to sweep it clean. All the particles will fall down to the stove. If your stove is airtight and all closed up you shouldn't have any problem with getting the dust in the house.

Next its time to start cleaning the stove. We always start at the top and work our way down. So the biggest problem area is next, which is where the chimney joins the stove. 

We actually had to make this entry point as we were having trouble cleaning this area. This is where our chimney fire started.
    Here you can see what the chimney sweeper knocked down. Time to push it to the bottom and scrape the sides. Have to get rid of all the build up.

    We are getting there! This is the area between the oven and the water reservoir. We didn't even know what this was for until after our chimney fire. Then I did some research and realized we hadn't clean this either! Oh the things you learn. Give it a good scrapping to get all the creosote out.

    Last but not least the area under the stove. Get all the way to the back and don't forget the corners!

    It took Mountain Man about an hour and a half with stopping for me to take pictures but finally we have a lovely clean chimney and stove so we don't have to worry about chimney fires for the next month. 

    There it is! Everything that was clogging up the chimney and stove. Usually at this point I am busy cleaning up the outside of the stove and the stove-top as it is finally cool enough to touch. Next it is time to start a roaring fire, make some coffee and relax. We are all done for the next few weeks. 

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