Most contemporary pellet stove chimney designs cannot prevent the formation of fly ash, which is residue formed from the materials burned within the chimney. If the ash isn’t removed quickly, it can choke the ventilation system of the chimney. Furthermore, older pellet stove chimneys tend to produce lots of soot. This sticky residue will coat the inner walls of the chimney. Soot is much harder to remove than fly ash.
Presence of soot also signifies that combustion within the chimney isn’t complete. Hence, it needs to be cleaned. A pellet stove is a greener, more eco-friendly stove option compared to traditional choices like wood stoves. However, it can produce a lot of smoke if it isn’t cleaned regularly. Ideally, you should clean your pellet stove chimney at least once, every month. Cleaning the chimney also ensures optimal heating performance of the chimney unit, making it an effective home-heating resource. Use the following instructions to clean your pellet stove chimney:
Step 1: Getting Prepared
Before cleaning the chimney, turn-off the pellet stove. You should let it cool for at least 2-to-3 hours. During the cleaning process, some of the ash may get dusted-away. It can settle on the surrounding surfaces. Cover all the surrounding furniture items and appliances with plastic sheets. Shut the doorways to ensure that the ash isn’t carried to other parts of the house. Prepare yourself with some basic safety gear. You can use simple things like goggles, plastic gloves, a face mask and some coveralls.
Step 2: Brushing Pellet Stove Chimney
Use standard-size chimney brushes that are made for specific pellet stove sizes. Most brushes are sold with a complementary rod. If you don’t have the chimney rod, it can be bought from a hardware supply store. The brushing needs to be done in a downward motion: you have to insert the brush down the chimney’s exhaust hole. Attach the brush to the rod and insert it in the chimney. Holding the brush from the lower end of the rod, start scrubbing the chimney walls.
The settled soot, debris or creosote isn’t easy to dislodge. It needs to be scraped-off through repeated brushing. When no more debris is falling off the chimney walls, stop brushing and check the chimney. Use a flashlight for this. Check every nook of the chimney for any difficult-to-reach spots that might have escaped brushing.
Step 3: Emptying Pellet Stove Chimney Residues
After scrubbing, open the stove to remove the displaced debris. You should sweep the stove with a dust pan and a broom. Shovel all the debris into a bucket. Empty the contents of the bucket into a plastic bag and dump it. Clean the surrounding floor with a vacuum cleaner.
Pellet Stove Chimney Cleaning Tips
You shouldn’t clean the chimney if you are highly allergic to chimney dust or ash. Similarly, occupants of the house with extreme sensitivity to allergens (dust) should vacate the house during the cleaning process. Cleaning the chimney downwards—starting at the top and brushing down, ensures that the escaping debris is kept away from the cleaner’s breathing space.