Thankfully Cleaning my Chimney

The new year has swallowed me up with chain sawing, stacking firewood and hauling ashes from our cabin woodstove. There’s nothing like wood heat to warm you. It makes me feel like snuggling up with a great book and getting inspired.

This job takes incredible patience, a warm day and a decent beer. For 25 years we heated our earth-sheltered house partly with firewood. What a mess once or twice a winter!

Now it’s just a little cabin in a deep forest of Shannon County near the famous Jam Up Cave on the Jacks Fork. But it’s been a decade since we moved in and I cleaned the stovepipe.

The big deal? I didn’t have to climb up on the roof with a bunch of old logging chain, bricks or brushes to knock the creosote off the chimney walls.

It was sort of a cool, early December Ozark morning recently with light rain threatening.

“Can’t do the job if it’s raining,” Allen said. Luckily he and Nicholas arrived before the weather turned.

Allen had to take our little stove almost totally apart so he could fit his metal twitchier on a long flexible pipe up the chimney. He had to slide this rotating head past a system of baffles so it could knock the hardened charred residue off the stovepipe. It goes two stories up to the roof.

“We always start at the top,” Allen said. I could hear the creosote fall. They had a huge vacuum to get all the mess out and into the truck back 30-feet away in the driveway. That’s why they can’t do the job in the rain.

“This was a pretty clean chimney. You know how to run this stove,” Allen said. We have a thermometer so we know how hot the chimney’s running. Not too hot or too cold.

I’ve never seen anything like this equipment, which is mainly used for cleaning ductwork. It finished our job in 20 minutes, though getting the equipment set up then put back made the job take a little more than an hour.

All for $160. Not cheap, but worth it to know we have a good, clean stove that should last many more years.

Having a toasty fire almost makes winter inspirational. Cutting and splitting wood always a revelation.

The new year looms with sweet potential.

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