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Bottom-up chimney cleaning

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by woodpile, Jan 29, 2008.

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  1. woodpile

    woodpile Member

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    Hi all,
    I bought a 6" poly brush from Rutland, and they say to use their 16114 nylon extension rod to clean from the bottom. I wonder how well this works on anything but a perfectly straight run? My install is a partial liner in a masonry/clay tile flue chimney. The liner part is 6" stove pipe with a few small angle bends. The rods themselves are pricey at $20 a piece and hard to find. If anyone can point me to a cheaper source or suggest another method, please let me know.

    Thanks,

    Scott

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  2. Henz

    Henz New Member

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    thats funny. I just bought the 6" steel round nosed brush and fiberglass rods for my SS pre-fabed chimney. I have one 45 in the chimney..I cleaned it last weekend, couldnt really get past the 45 all that well..Had to go onto the roof anyways to take the cap off and brush that out so I jsut used one 4' section with the brush and went down the top part of the chimney that i couldnt get to from the bottom..worked like a charm
    Each 4' section of fiberglass rod was like $7.50 at Ace True Value
  3. boostnut

    boostnut Member

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    there are fittings available that thread on to your brush that will allow you to tie a rope to it and pull it up thru (or down) your chimney. Just drop the rope down from the top, tie it to the brush and pull it up. Works for me.
  4. Henz

    Henz New Member

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    yeah I hear you, that is exactally how it works..But I tell year, I dont see the thing dropping much..there was alot of tension on mine..Do you put a weight on it?
  5. woodpile

    woodpile Member

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    I think the brush would likely hang up on the top of the partial liner by going top down. Mine is a 2 story house with about 8' of chimney above the roof. I'm not keen on heights, so if I can clean it from the bottom, that's how I'll do it.
  6. Cazimere

    Cazimere Member

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    Get yourself a round lead downrigger weight from a fishing supply outlet and tie on your rope,
    if your having problems getting your rope down the chimney : )

    Attached Files:

  7. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    If it is truly super flexible, hopefully it isn't stiff enough to push up the brush.
    I originally used a poly brush, but found it was hard to push.
    The metal brush worked easier.
  8. woodpile

    woodpile Member

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    I stood in Menard's for a long while trying to estimate which brush would be easier to push. I compared diameters, bristle stiffness and number bristles. After all that, it sounds like I bought the one that would be harder to push. The steel ones certainly make better lightning rods.
  9. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Just finished doing my chimney. Went to the roof (and like woodpile) aint too fond of heights. But before that,went shopping and bought, very light 6` aluminum ladder to take up on the roof with me,fiberglass rods,and a poly brush. I found the fiberglass rods flexible enough to push,and ram the brush all the way down.

    I dunno, but bottom up think I`d want to be wearing more than just a dust mask, maybe one of those charcoal filter jobs. Saying that cause my creosote was mostly a fine dusty powder. Don`t think I would want to be inhaling any of that stuff :) even though I admit to being a "smoker"..
  10. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Hey, my roof is metal. NO WAY am I going up there if I can ever help it. I too should figure out a system though involving bringing a ladder up.

    When I do mine I put in a shop vac hose up the flue. I put an exhaust hose out the window in case something gets past the filter. I didn't use any elaborate protection.

    However, I have a 6" liner going all the way to the top. I don't know how anything will work with the partial liner arrangement. I'm glad that at least my poly rods (which are really like sprinkler pipe, only with fittings on the end and expensive) did the job. It'd be a drag to keep buying the stupid rods 'til you found some that worked. The Rutland site referenced above had what, like 4 different diameter fiberglass rods and also that super flexible nylon. The process could get expensive.
  11. narutojp

    narutojp New Member

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    I have to do mine from the bottom up as my roof is too steep. My house is 3 stories and with the steep roof, I think my wife would rather me be alive (ie. not falling off the roof) than making the house a little dirty when I clean from inside the house. I bought my brush and those flexible rods when I was back in Canada a few years back and carried them back to Japan with me. Everyone thought I was a little weird, but I can't buy them here and they do the job. Mine stove pipe is straight and while I think a few small bends would be OK, I think 45 degrees would be too much. I disconnect the pipe from the stove, remove one or two sections, and feed up the brush and rods, adding rods as I need them. At the bottom I have a big plastic bag taped around the pipe so that all (most) of the soot goes into the bag. Best of all, I don't have to worry about slipping and falling off the roof.
  12. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Ok... you have a stubby liner into a clay flue? To really clean it good you will have to pull the insert out and then clean the masonry flue. Once out you could easily clean the stubby SS liner section.
  13. wally

    wally New Member

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    bottom-up tends to be dirtier, but probably safer. that said, i clean my chimney from the top. i've got a 2.5 story house with a 12/12 roof. and it's steel. so, i use a ladder hook/ladder to secure the ladder to the roof. it's a center chimney, too, so it's just below the peak. i have to take the cap off (the chimney), and then i just insert the brush, plus the 'glas rods, and have at it. i generally clean it twice per year. no real fear of heights, just respect. i usually end up with about 2 hods full of creosote, and a little ash.
  14. woodpile

    woodpile Member

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    The local prices are about $35 per 4' rod, so I guess I will be buying online. I intend to have fan blowing into the house from the upwind side while I clean. That way whatever dust I create should blow out the chimney. That might make the neighbors mad, but if it is windy enough no one will notice.
  15. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    IMHO the fancy rods are WAY over priced... I spent less than $10 for my ENTIRE rod setup to clean a 25' chimney, from the bottom. I use three 10' lengths of 3/4" PVC electrical conduit, with a bolt cross drilled through each joint to keep them together but allow disassembly, and a couple of adapter fittings on the business end to attach the brush (PVC to 1/2"NPT, then a 1/2" NPT to 1/4"NPT reducer bushing IIRC) Low cost, minimum hassle, works great. Biggest challenge is getting the brush bent around the corner to enter the pipe at the bottom, after that the rest is easy. (Note, I do tie a safety rope to the brush so that if something comes loose I can always drag the brush back out, IMHO this is advisable no mater what one is using)

    However as noted by a couple of other folks, if you don't have a full length liner, the ONLY proper way to clean the chimney is to remove the stove and stub liner, then brush the entire chimney and re-install. Otherwise you can't get at the creosote that builds up in the space between the stub liner's exterior and the chimney, nor can you get a proper cleaning of the wall of the chimney, so you are still at risk for a chimney fire. (This is one of the best reasons IMHO to replace that stub install with a proper full length liner.)

    Gooserider
  16. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    To woodpile: Ace Hardware less than $10 per 5ft. And in Canada today I paid $9 per 5ft rod.

    These rods are fibergrass,I like them cause of there dexterity. Look around before you buy!!
  17. woodpile

    woodpile Member

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    sonnyinbc:
    Can you tell me who makes the fiberglass rods you bought? What is the diameter, and will is really make the bend from the floor to the stove pipe? If you grab both ends and bend, what radius can you get before it feels like too much? Since my stove is in my fireplace, there is no telescoping disconnect, so I would be entering the flue at about 2'6" off the floor.
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    My PVC electrical conduits are nominal 1/2" or 3/4" size, and I can easily bend them into about a 12-18" radius without much trouble... I have to make a right angle turn to get the brush headed up the "T" of my chimney in the space between the floor and the "T" bottom, with the "T" sticking out the back of my rear-exit stove...

    If you search back, you can find a thread from last spring where I cleaned the chimney on my old stove, with pictures showing the bend I had to make. I have a different stove now, but the setups about the same, and I anticipate just as much of a challenge to clean it this spring.

    I tried flexing the fiberglass rods I found in a few stores, and while I didn't want to push them too hard (they weren't mine, and I didn't want to risk breaking them) they did not feel like they had as much flex as my conduits. I also think it's a plus that I only have a joint every 10' with the conduits, as every joint represents a stiff spot, and an area of potential failure.

    Gooserider
  19. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Woodpile: Sorry I don`t know who makes the rods I bought. I just picked them out of a bin and just now finished looking to see if there is a brand name or something on them and there isn`t. Only thing I can say is they are yellow which is probably no help to you at all.

    My chimney has an offset at the bottom and I had no problem getting the rods thru that.
  20. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I bought my rods in the duct work department at Lowe's last year. I saw more there last week. They were $4.88 a four foot section and are made by CFM Home Products in Missouri.
  21. woodpile

    woodpile Member

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    I made something like what Gooserider suggested, using 25' long piece of 3/4" PEX tubing, an Ander-lign coupler and a 3/8 to 1/4" NPT adapter. Works fine, but there is a bend or something that I doubt any setup would get past. I will try pruning my poly brush or use a steel one.
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