Wow, it’s true what they say about hot stovepipes…

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…


Not even worth doing.

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.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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3 Responses to Wow, it’s true what they say about hot stovepipes…

  1. B says:

    Change the top of your flue to a double walled where it enteres the roof. Above thta, you need the insulation of the double walled, below it the single wall pipe will help heat your house.
    I ahve a friend (northern Indiana) who heats exclusively with wood, and his only issue with creosote is at the chimney cap, where the creaote block the cap and ahs to be leaned halfway through the season. He burns mostly oak and other hardwoods….

    As you have learned, hot fires keep the flue pipe hot, and thre is little deposition of soot or creosote. Doubel walled flue pipes keep the flue hotter, helping keep despotis to a minimum

  2. Educated Savage says:

    Have you ever considered installing a T fitting just above your stove so you don’t need to remove the stove to clean out the flue? Not sure if your chimney brush design could make the turn up the flue; just a thought.

  3. Joel says:

    The gear I have won’t work that way. What would be great would be if I could get up on the roof and scrub down. Unfortunately I didn’t think about that when I planned the sleeping loft. Now it’s much too steep for an old one-legged guy who’s afraid of heights.

To the stake with the heretic!