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Christmas is coming. Ho! Ho! Ho!
It’s that time of the year again when we start thinking of Christmas and the man in the big red suit paying us a visit. Why not this year think of your own comfort and purchase a stove to heat your room. What would be nicer than sitting down on Christmas day after a lovely dinner and toasting your toes in front of a cosy multifuel stove.Christmas is coming Ho! Ho! Ho!. I’m sure you could not imagine anything nicer. Celebrate with your family , friends and everyone that is important to you (even the cat).
Cleaning the chimney in preparation for Santa
Burning fires in a chimney leads to the accumulation of soot and creosote, a flammable, sticky substance that can cause chimney fires if it’s not removed.
Determine whether the chimney needs to be cleaned. Chimneys should be cleaned at least once a year, and more often if you use your fireplace frequently.
- Take a flashlight and peer inside the chimney flute. Use a pencil or plastic knife to scrape off a bit of the creosote that has accumulated on the side of the chimney. If it’s 1/8-inch thick or thicker, it’s time for a cleaning.
- If you only clean your chimney once a year, do it in the Autumn, before the burning season begins. Otherwise, you risk sparking a chimney fire the first time you light up your fireplace in the winter.
- Check the chimney for animals. If it has been awhile since the last time you used your chimney, check for animals before you begin cleaning. Birds, squirrels like to nest there, especially in the cooler months. Shine a flashlight up the chimney from the fireplace, and if you find an animal, take steps to have it removed.
- Don’t attempt to stand on a roof during icy or wet conditions.
- Do not operate an open flame near the chimney during the cleaning process.
- Call a professional if you feel uncomfortable with any part of the chimney cleaning process.
- Take care not to breathe in soot or creosote, and wash your skin immediately after contact.
Follow the steps outlined below to clean your stove/chimney
Step 1: Spread the drop cloth or newspapers on the floor in front of the wood stove to protect your floor. Open the air dampener on your stove and open the door so the firebox is easily accessible. If you have a dampener on your chimney as well, open that so the chimney brush can glide through when you use it.
Step 2: Use the small ash shovel and the ash container to scoop out the bulk of the ashes from the inside of the stove. Scoop the ashes out gently with the shovel and slowly move the shovel over to the metal ash container, dropping the ashes gently into the container so as not to stir up a lot of fine dust.IMPORTANT*Make sure to cover the ash can with a metal top and let the bucket of ash sit for at least 48 hours on a non-flammable surface to ensure there are no hot embers remaining when you dispose of the ash.*
Step 3: Remove any firebricks that may obstruct the chimney brush when you clean the stove pipe. Loosen creosote to fall onto the bottom of the stove and not anywhere else in the stove. If you find a broken fire brick, replace it.
Step 4: Now it is time to climb onto the roof to clean the stovepipe. (Obviously at your own risk!) You will need a long handled brush made specifically for cleaning out stove pipes, make sure the diameter of the brush fits your stove pipe or you will have problems moving the brush up and down to loosen the creosote. A chimney brush that is the wrong size may even get stuck in the stove pipe, which is a hassle to remove.
Step 5: Remove the top from the stove pipe, using your screwdriver to do so if you must. Before putting this piece back on the chimney pipe, make sure to use the putty knife or scraper on it to scrape off all built up creosote, inside and out.
Step 6: Push your chimney brush into the chimney pipe and move it up and down vigorously to loosen all the built up creosote and soot in the pipe. The soot and creosote will fall to the bottom of the stove in the firebox.
Step 7: After cleaning the chimney pipe and replacing its top, you are done on the roof. Go back to the firebox in the stove and scoop out all the black creosote which has fallen as a result of cleaning the stove pipe, place the debris in a metal ash can and cover with a metal lid. Don’t forget to replace the firebricks if you removed them.
Step 8: Now is the time to use a vacuum if you are using one to clean the inside of the firebox. Vacuum around the edges of the seal and other small areas and ledges where ash has collected. If you don’t have a vacuum use a small brush to do this job. Move the brush using short, light, gentle strokes so as not to stir up a lot of fine dust. Brush the ash into a pile and use the ash shovel in conjunction with the brush, just like you would a broom and dustpan. If your stove has a floor clean out under the firebox, empty it into the ash can.
Step 9: Once you have cleaned all the ash out of the firebox to your satisfaction clean the ash off the seal on the door. If you are using a vacuum, simply vacuum off the seal. Otherwise use your brush to clean the seal.
Step 10: Last, if you have glass on the front of your stove door clean it as your last step. If the soot is built up heavily on the glass, you may want to buy a cleaning solution that is made specifically for cleaning the glass on a wood burning stove. These products will typically contain ammonia. If you decide to use the vinegar, water, and soap solution, spray the solution onto the glass, then wipe down the glass with newspaper or paper towels. Repeat this several times rubbing the paper towel or newspaper vigorously to remove all of the soot buildup and to polish the glass. This step may need to be repeated several times and may take some elbow grease, but is well worth it to have clean glass through which to view the dancing flames of your fire.
After you have cleaned the inside of the stove, you can clean outside also by wiping down the outside surfaces with your vinegar, water, and soap solution, which works well on stoves with porcelain or powder coat finishes. If you have a cast iron wood stove, use a stiff brush and vacuum if available, rather than vinegar and water because liquid solutions tend to leave streaks on black surfaces.
Also, if your stove has brass or metallic trim consult your owner’s manual as to the best way to clean the trim. Metal and brass trim should not be cleaned with flammable products (it’s a wood burning stove, obviously!) and most metal trim has a clear coat finish so don’t clean them with anything that is too abrasive. Soaking a cloth in the vinegar solution may do it, and it they are not too coated with soot, a club soda soaked cloth could work. Always try the least toxic substances available before moving onto other chemical cleaning products.
It will not be your fault if Santa does’nt come down the chimney this Christmas