They stay a lot cleaner.
Over the past couple of years I finally shook the last of my chimney fire phobia and let my woodstove’s freak flag fly – ironically much reducing the probability of another chimney fire due to cool smoldering stove fires.
While the stove is still on the front porch, and since it’s time to put the whole thing to bed for the year anyway, I naturally planned to give the stovepipe a good end-of-year scrub. I last did it a little over two months ago, which would once have been unthinkable – eight years ago my neurosis had me doing it weekly.
And this is how much soot I got out of the pipe…
Landlady always gets the last laugh on this topic: She has a short, double-walled pipe with little hanging out in the wind, on top of a potbelly stove that gets things really toasty – and she never has any soot in her pipe at all, burning exactly the same wood I use. I have a very high ceiling, single-wall pipe, and mine sticks out in the wind four or five feet to clear the front peak, so it never gets nearly as hot as hers. At the top it’s probably seldom more than warm to the touch. Design matters.
So does wood choice, but I’m stuck with whatever wood I can find. This winter I mostly burned hardwood pallets and as you see things went very well, but they’re mostly gone now. I’ll be forced to a diet of juniper driftwood next year – so you can bet I won’t be tempted to slack off on stovepipe maintenance.