How to Clean a Wood Stove Chimney Pipe

woodstove in a bedroom
  • 3-6 hours
  • Advanced
  • 100-400
What You'll Need
Dust mask
Face shield
Mechanical stovepipe cleaning kit
Creosote cleaning logs

Ensure that you have a safe and functioning wood stove by having the correct chimney pipe that does its job effectively and efficiently. The stovepipe is connected from the topmost position of the wood stove to the base of the ceiling or wall where it will connect to the chimney pipe or chimney. Ideally, a wood stove is placed on the floor in the main living room of a house. This ensures that the room gets heated directly. Wood stoves, unlike electric systems, do not use any pipes or ducts to distribute heat. Wood stove chimney pipes come in a variety of lengths and thicknesses to accommodate chimneys manufactured by different brands. The stove needs to be of optimal size according to the dimensions of the room to avoid overheating as a large stove will have slow, smoldering fires that get very hot. A smaller size stove will need to be over-fired as it will be unable to keep up with the room’s heat demand.

It is very important to ensure that the pipe is kept clean. Irrespective of whether you use hardwood, softwood or pressed logs, tar and deposits build up in the fireplace as well as the wood stove pipe. You will need to establish a regular cleaning schedule depending on how often you use your stove and the way you operate the unit. If this is not done on a regular basis, a fire can occur.

Step 1 - Measure and Buy

As chimney pipes come in a variety of sizes, you will need to measure the dimensions. If you have the leaflet or brochure from when you installed the chimney, go through it and use the manufacturer’s recommendations. Visit your local hardware store and purchase the cleaning kit according to the requirements that you have determined. Consult the hardware store customer service if any assistance is required.

Step 2 - Inspect

Disconnect the interior pipe and bring it out into the open. Take a good look at the pipe with the help of a high-beam flashlight.

Step 3 - Clean

pot belly stove in the corner of a room

Place a bag or bucket at the end of the pipe so that the creosote that will drop off while cleaning can be collected in one place and then disposed of. Brush the inside of the stovepipe vigorously with the wire brush that you have bought. This will remove the grime buildup inside the pipe. This may need to be done a number of times if the pipe has not been cleaned on a regular basis.

Step 4 - Replace Pipe

After the pipe has been cleaned, place it back so that the stove and chimney pipe are connected again.

Step 5 - Optional Step

Also, you might want to buy creosote cleaning logs. These are made of a mixture that has a number of minerals. These minerals get attached to the creosote that builds up while the fire is burning. This softens up the creosote and doesn’t let it become hard. The creosote in such a case falls into the fireplace in the shape of small particles. This avoids the buildup of the creosote in the pipes and helps keep them clean.

Step 6 - Professional Pipe Inspection

The fire department in your area can inspect the pipe as a measure of fire prevention to verify whether it is safe or not.