I was nervous the first night I lit the stove back in '05, mainly because I had to go to work for 16 hours and couldn't monitor the thing. Was worried about killing the 2 cats (now 4 cats ..) . After a couple days of burning with no issues, I was fine. I never even cleaned that chimney once until April of '12 - that was 9 years after we moved in ... and who knows when the previous owner cleaned it. I was always petrified of burning wood in it ... but I did that the past 2 springs - no fires, and no sparks escaping.
This chimney has certainly passed the test.