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What is the best way to have a 28′ chimney pipe cleaned on a high efficiency wood stove?

lacyse27 | Posted in General Questions on

I just wasted 48.00 and was told my high efficiency wood stove can not be cleaned from the inside up because of the smoke baffle inside of it? I didn’t even know it had one. They are telling me I will have to rent a cherry picker because my roof is to high and steep to clean it from above. Plus I assume now my chimney cap is not the correct one because I found out it leaks. Not around the wall but down the pipe, I found my ash drawer full of water. Other than getting rid of my wood stove I wonder if you have any comments or suggestions?


Susan Evans

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  1. peaceonearth | | #1


    I'm a wood burner of some 40 years and have some general advice. For one, you should have a professional look at your chimney. The water leakage is something that should not happen and is not the fault of your stove,and possibly not even the chimney cap. I went years, early on, without ever having a chimney cap and never had water in my ash pan (I did once have a squirrel in the stove though).

    I don't think you can ever clean the stovepipe from inside the stove, at least not adequately, if that is what you are asking. There is not adequate access in almost all cases. My current stove has the baffle control on the air intake side, and does not block the exit to the stovepipe, but it is still not possible to clean from inside the stove.

    When you speak of 28' you are clearly referring to your entire chimney. What type of flue liner do you have? I now have a stainless steel insert and can clean it from the cellar cleanout door with fiberglass poles and a poly brush. This could not be easier considering the nasty job this typically is. If you have a clay liner I don't think this will work because the friction is so much greater (you can't push the brush all the way up the chimney like you can on the smooth stainless steel).

    In short, there are some challenging aspects to wood burning, and if your chimney is inadequate, or tall and on a steep pitched roof, you are likely to need a chimney sweep to clean it. Either that or some expensive reworking of the chimney itself, in which case I would recommend a stainless steel liner.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    I'm not sure whether you have a metal chimney or a masonry chimney. Metal chimneys are usually round, and made of stainless steel. Masonry chimneys are usually made of bricks, stone, or concrete blocks.

    In any case, Howard is correct: you don't clean a chimney from inside a wood stove.

    Regardless of the type of chimney you have, you should have a stovepipe that connects your stove with your chimney. A stovepipe is not a chimney. It's normal for a stovepipe to have a damper. Chimney cleaning brushes can't get past a damper. To clean your stovepipe, you need to disassemble it (remove it from the chimney and the stove) and take it outside. Then clean it and re-install it.

    A chimney is either cleaned from a cleanout fitting (or, in the case of a masonry chimney, from a cleanout door) or from the roof, or both.

    If rain enters your chimney, the rain should find its way to your cleanout fitting or cleanout door, not to your ash drawer. You should have a chimney specialist examine your chimney to determine why rain is reaching your stove.

  3. Patrick63 | | #3

    Only just joined and hopefully by now you've had your issue sorted.
    As a sweep there aren't many chimneys that can't be cleaned from top or bottom. I have various styles of cleaning equipment from the old fashioned brush to modern powered brushes. Just a matter of working out which works best on problem chimneys.
    I also carry various roof ladders, anchor points, harnesses etc., so depending on roof pitch and material most cases can reach chimney.
    Additional point is the leak, from your description my first thought is flashing.
    Be interesting to hear you resolved this.

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