Although wood stoves are highly efficient (you can expect 70%-80% output compared with just 20%-25% for an open fireplace) there is still a need to clean the chimney in order to prevent fires developing as a result of soot deposits.
Why Do Chimneys Get Sooted?
In theory, well-seasoned wood that is burnt in a wood stove will produce very little smoke just as long as it has a good supply of air. The reason that smoke is an issue when it comes to chimney cleaning is because smoke is what causes soot deposits. Until the chamber of your wood stove reaches its optimum burning temperature, it’s likely to smoke.
Another mistake that can create an increase in soot deposits is to leave the wood stove in ‘slumber’ mode. This will starve the fire of air and then result in sooting of the chimney.
What Can You Do About It?
Contact a local registered chimney sweep to ask whether he has experience of cleaning chimneys with wood burning stoves connected. Ask him to give your chimney a good clean before you install your new wood burner.
Chimney sweeps generally recommend that the chimney is swept half way through the winter – i.e. 3 months into the burning season. Ask the chimney sweep about how many deposits he found in the chimney and where they were located. If these deposits were fairly small from burning seasoned wood, then he will recommend when he visits to perform another clean and it’s likely to be less regularly.
In our experience, you can usually opt to have a sweep just once per year, but it’s wise to take the recommendation of your chimney sweep when starting out. He will check that everything looks like it should do in your chimney, which can be a major fire safety precaution.