You and your flue
A housetruck without a pot-belly is like going camping without a tent. It can be done, but the experience is far better with one. If you look in any early model housetruck or housebus, you are likely to see an old cast iron potbelly stove. Suitable for heating and cooking. Some owners will put in actual woodburners for heating. Whatever your choice, you want to make sure your investment is safe from fire, and your family is safe from poisons.
Two of the main reasons you should regularly clean your flue:
- Carbon monoxide poisoning. It doesnt just come from car exhausts. Any carbon based fuel will give off carbon monoxide, and if your flue is not clean, it won’t draw off the smoke as well as it should, and the fumes will stay inside the vehicle and overcome you. And;
- A clean burner and flue are less likely to catch fire and destroy your wonderful housetruck
Where there is smoke, there is likely fire (or its not too far off) If a flue is not cleaned, it could catch fire which could spread and incinerate your prized possession. If you regularly use your potbelly or woodburner you should clean your flue at least once a year. If you burn softer wood like pine or gum, then a little more regularly would be the call of the day.
Cleaning a flue is dirty work and it can also be very dangerous. Of course, you could get a “man” in to clean it, but then you may as well hang up your truck keys, because the nature of housetrucking is mucking in and doing it yourself.
A well maintained flue will allow cleaner burning with minimal soot accumulation. Creosote is a sticky black residue that is carried up th eflue by the smoke and it sticks to the inside of the flue as it goes up. It reduces the ability of the flue draw the smoke off and as it heats up, it could easily catch fire.
Time to get your hands dirty.
Close the pot-belly doors and vents, or if possible, wrap it in plastic (make sure its cool). You don’t want black soot flying around inside your truck or bus while doing this. It is painful to clean up of those lovely doilies.
You are going to have to get up to the top of the flue and remove the wind and rain cover. I would assume at this stage you have a flue brush before continuing. They are available from any hardware store and come in various diameters and lengths. Once you are on the roof of your truck or up a ladder alongside it, sweep the flue. Up and down, round and round.
Once you have cleaned the flue, remove the wrapping around the potbelly and clean it out. Vacuuming or a brush and dustpan will do the trick. If vacuuming, make sure you empty it immediately after cleaning.
And thats it. Be warm, be safe.