A stack robber, or heat reclaimer, has been a popular heating accessory for decades in Alaska’s Interior. When I outfitted Alaskans for a living, I sold hundreds of these every year.
They install in the chimney pipe of either a wood or oil stove. The only difference between the two units, is that a wood stove reclaimer has the crimping going down towards the stove, and a reclaimer for an oil stove has the crimping going away from the stove.
The heat reclaimer has a series of 10 tubes, which the exhaust from the stove travels around as it makes its way through the chimney. The units are thermostatically controlled: At a certain temperature, a fan in the back kicks on, and blows the warm air out into the room. When the stack temperature drops to a certain level, the fan kicks off.
I do not run mine all of the time, but it’s quite the space heater when temps drop to minus forty or minus fifty. Since Alaska has some of the highest electric costs in the Nation, my bill definitely goes up when I plug anything in. Like anywhere, there is a price to pay for comfort.
The rod in the front, pulls a plate over the ten tubes, and clears them of any creosote that has built up.
As with any wood stove, what matters most, is burning dry wood. I have never had a creosote problem in either my chimney piping or in the stack robber, with dry firewood. There is no short cut here; I usually burn wood that has been seasoned two years, at the minimum.