We are often asked to clean woodstoves and their chimneys. We are happy to do this, but some may incur an extra charge. The reason for the extra charge is that there are many, many types of woodstoves out there, and they are all different, each with its individual features. New technologies are quickly becoming outdated, adding new complications. All of this means extra work and generally runs into extra time, adding an hour or more onto the usual one hour that it takes to clean a fireplace.
Reasons for thiscould be your stove has a catalytic burner on it, similar to the catalytic converter on your car, designed to burn the smoke in order to produce more efficiency and cleaner emissions. This is done by making the hot smoke meander through several chambers in the stove, creating extra places for creosote to collect. These are often found in out of the way hard-to-reach places, which means that there is no direct route to clean the chimney. When the chimney is cleaned, the creosote then has to be removed from these hard to get at areas, necessitating the removal of the firebricks and insulation, which can be tedious and time-consuming. Many times we must refer to the owner’s manuals which are very helpful in figuring out how any particular stove works, so it is great for you to have them on hand. If the owner’s manual is not available, the fee for extra time spent will be greater.
Catalytic combustors are also expensive to replace in case of failure. Newer models have been redesigned to eliminate them using chambers to redirect the smoke to be burned by the fire itself. This extra channeling of smoke creates hidden areas where the creosote can hide. Until the time that stove manufacturers begin to take cleaning into account when planning their designs, stoves will remain difficult, and more expensive, to maintain than a regular fireplace.