Monday, April 09, 2007

Woodstove Chimney Sweep

If you've been following my blog, you know Wayne and I are fairly new to wilderness living. We purchased our float cabin on Powell Lake in 2001. As visitors to Canada, we can live here six months each year.

We like all seasons, so we always choose several winter months. Our KOZI woodstove makes this possible. It gives us all of the heat we need for warmth, plus a little extra for stovetop cooking.

I noticed the stove had started smoking when the door was open. A few days later, smoke was escaping from the seams in the chimney pipe. Something was wrong with our trusty stove. 

Wayne went up a ladder to check the pipe. He rapped on it causing creosote to fall towards the stove. When that didn't solve the problem, he went on the porch roof to do the same outside. He got the same result, falling creosote. He also dislodged quite a bit of creosote from under the cap.

By this time there was no air (or smoke) getting through the pipe. Each time I closed the door after starting a fire, it was snuffed out. At this point we would have normally have called our friend and mentor John for help. Instead, Wayne went back up the ladder and disconnected the pipe so it could be lifted out of the hole where it attaches to the stove.

The pipe entrance and stove's smoke shelf were completely clogged with ash and dislodged creosote. We scooped it out and reattached the pipe. A few days later, Wayne went back on the roof and did the same procedure outside.

Periodically we burn a commercial chimney cleaning log to reduce creosote from adhering to the inside of the chimney.

This spring we learned a valuable lesson. The creosote may turn to ash, but that ash needs to be removed to keep the pipe open for adequate air flow, not to mention to reduce the danger of chimney fires. We were lucky our problem happened on a fairly warm spring day. Usually there's a fire going 24/7 from fall through early spring. Our stove and chimney are now on our annual spring cleaning list.

Would you like to learning more about starting out with wilderness living? Up the Lake in the Coastal BC Stories series has tales about our float cabin living experiences. It is available in print and Kindle formats from Amazon, and many other online booksellers. -- Margy


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