The weather has been getting chillier here in north Idaho, but we were reluctant to start a fire in the wood stove because it's also been bone-dry.
However we wanted the wood stove to be cleaned and ready to go for when the dry spell broke, so last week we scrubbed out the stove pipe.
We started by removing the section of pipe attached to the stove, so we could move the stove out of the way. The stove is an antique cast-iron parlor stove we obtained for free many years ago, made by Washington Stove Works in Everett, WA (Model #24). I don't know how old it is.
This stove is our sole source of heat for the house. We do have a ventless propane wall heater, but we use that only under two circumstances: (a) it's 15 below zero and the wood stove isn't yet putting out much heat; and (b) we have visitors who aren't used to a house as chilly as ours.
About twice a year (fall and spring) we scrub out the stove pipe to eliminate creosote build-up, which could cause a chimney fire.
The brush itself has stiff wire bristles just a hair wider than the diameter of the pipe. It has a long handle, with additional rods that get screwed on the bottom to lengthen the handle as we work our way up the pipe.
Long ago we discovered the trick of poking the rod through the bottom of a plastic bag, then holding the bag around the bottom of the stove pipe so all the ash and creosote falls into the bag. Let's just say NOT using a bag creates a HUGE mess in the room.
You can see the bottom of the rod poking through the plastic. If you look carefully you can also see it's threaded for screwing on the next rod when the time come.
Even with the bag, cleaning the stove pipe is messy work.
Don scrapes the brush up and down, up and down, scrubbing the creosote out, and gradually working his way up the pipe until he hits the cap twenty feet up. Then we withdraw the rods, unscrewing the segments as we go, scrubbing all the way down. Here Don is peering up the pipe to make sure it's clean.
Lastly he scrubs out the bottom section of pipe that attaches directly to the wood stove.
This is all the ash that got scrubbed out of the pipe. Now imagine all this ash poofing into the room instead of being contained in the bag.
Don and I reattached the lower pipe and prepared to shove the stove back in position The lower pipe has a collar we can adjust to attach it to the upper pipe.
We didn't start the wood stove until this morning since today's weather is cold, windy, and rainy.
What a delight it is to have our faithful cozy wood stove putting out heat!
It must be fall.