I did for 30 yrs or so. Never had a brown stain. A stain would
concern me as it is an indication that creosote is building up and
leaking. Chimney fires are no fun-- or so I've heard.
I burned mostly seasoned hardwoods- but burned green wood in with it
on occasion- as soon as I noticed any build-up I'd hold on the green
wood until my chimney was clean again. I inspected my chimney
frequently, but never had to drag anything through it.
Back to your original question-
I doubt anything will do it 'with little effort' - but your
possibilities are limited by whether your roof is tin, galvanized,
tile, cedar, asphalt. . . .
This depends on the chimney. Chimney fires damage masonry
chimneys but ought not to damage modern double-walled metal
stacks (UEL-tested to withstand temperatures of about 2000 Fahr.,
I think: you can easily reach 1000 Fahr. in a chimney fire.)
A chimney fire can seem terrifying, making a loud whoosh
like a jet engine and the inner wall glowing red hot (and visible
through ventilation holes in the outer pipe.) We had two in 15
years, with no apparent damage, each lasting 5 minutes or less
before all the creosote was burned and blown out. Firemen
who later checked out the stove and stack told us a fire like this is
the fastest way to clean a chimney.
I stoke up a hot cardboard fire every couple weeks on a rainy day to clean out
the metal liner in my chimney, which seem to keep the creosote from building up
to problem levels. The whole process takes about 5 minutes.
It does make some awful smoke at the beginning of this process.
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