For more than a week we have been having problems with our soba. It started smoking due to a semi blocked chimney and it seemed that pretty much everything we tried failed to solve the problem completely.
We cleaned out the chimney removing lots of soot, we got a rotating cowl, we burnt a pack of the chimney opener stuff in the soba, but no matter what we did, nothing seemed to solve the problem. The carbon monoxide issue was solved, a very good thing – the alarms remained silent, but it remained smoky and did not seem to be drawing air. It had become a source of much frustration and we had become quite guarded and anxious about using it.
This morning we took it all apart again and discovered that despite all the attempts at clearing the chimney it was partially blocked again, and with what appeared to be big granules of soot. At first we were at a loss to explain how this had happened, we had only been burning wood, it was cleaned out a week ago. The explanation could only be the chimney opener stuff, that what it does is turn fine grains of soot into loose larger crystals which are meant to then fall down the chimney or be easy to sweep out. With us having a long horizontal piece of chimney it could not fall out and instead formed into large lumps.
Having discovered this (and after a walk and tea with a friend on Pamucak beach which was lovely in the winter sun) we got some more cleaning tools and set about getting the chimney clear. We got covered in soot and had to do a lot of cleaning up afterwards.
We can now report that we have a properly functioning soba, and despite outside being a chilly 4°C at 7.30pm and due to drop further overnight, we are comfortably warm and looking forward to a snug night at home.