Yesterday I cleaned out the wood-burner and the flue. I soon decided it was cheaper to buy the kit when we had the stove installed (even though the cleaning gear is quite expensive). I get the chimney sweeps back every three years or so just to make sure the flue is OK*. The flue comes out of the stove horizontally, although my brother has exactly the same stove and his goes straight out of the top. Its horses for courses although my set-up introduces one complication. There is obviously a bend in the flue pipe. The brush screws onto a series of six rods for the length of my flue (these fit to the cm). Getting the first of these around the bend is tricky. You have to use both arms, one to push the brush in as far as possible and the other to push the rod down as hard as possible simultaneously. Once the first rod is round the bend the others follow. Shuggle the brush up and down in the flue each time you screw a length of rod in and reverse the process once you’ve reached the top and you are done. I try to bring as much soot into the stove itself and then vacuum the reminder out in the horizontal bit of the flue just behind the stove.
I always check for vermiculite powder in the soot (its white), this is the flue liner in the chimney and would mean the flue has been breached. There’s always been a tiny bit, but yesterday none. I assume the small amount up and till now was leftover from the installation process? I try to clean the flue twice a season. The soot and ash I dump on the lawn, so try to do it when its raining. Its worth checking your flue at the beginning of the season just to see there is not an old bird’s or wasp’s nest in it. The final thing to watch was what nearly happened to me yesterday. Always screw everything together tightly otherwise you might leave something dangling. One of my connections was very loose, so this nearly happened to me.
*They are quite famous, one was an extra in Star Wars (the 1977 one I think)!