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Chimney brush and rods stuck in chimney

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by johnsopi, Mar 1, 2007.

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  1. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    Tryed cleaning the chimney for the first time. Started from the bottem at the clean out. Things went well
    for the 1st 20ft then it seemed stuck so I pushed real hard and the rod broke at the clean out door. I could not get it to go up or down start to get mad so I stoped. Was going to try using vicegrips tomorrow. Wish I had put a rope on it.

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  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I hope you are able to pull it out tomorrow.

    Matt
  3. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    they sell a extractor screw that goes on the end of a cleaning rod. That might help.
  4. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, its going to be especially hard to pull the brush out because you first have to work to flip the direction of the brush bristles around. You might be best to hook a come-a-along to it and ratchet it out that way.




    (This is one of the reasons I personally clean from the top, although I know that isn't feasible for many people)
  5. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    Like they say it only cost a little more to do it your self. Bet it might cost a bit if I have the real chmney sweep come out and remove it.
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    A few questions:

    1. What kind of chimney/liner?

    2. A straight shot up or are there any bends?

    3. How tall is the chimney?

    4. What kind of brush and what kind of rods?
  7. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    Whats going to make it harder is that the end of the last rod is broken off.
  8. Robbie

    Robbie Minister of Fire

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    Mine gets stuck at seams every time, I used vise grips and turn "gently while pulling down" in direction of "tightning threads", this frees it every time so far.

    If you can get the vice grips on, twist and pull down, don't pull until you get the rod turning, if it's fiberglass rods it will turn and come out.

    So far, I've cleaned mine 3 times, my brush has got jammed 3 times, removed this way 3 times...........hey, this could be a pattern developing.......... :)



    Robbie
  9. Bezalel

    Bezalel New Member

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    Last time I swept, brush almost got stuck in there too. I used steel brush. After seeing what came down (ash), I think a poly brush will be sufficient. But I do not know where to get a poly brush. Home Depot and Lowes only sell the steel brush. Any suggestion?
  10. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I would try to hook it with something and pull. I didn't even try poles, I used a rope and pulled the brush down into the stove from the top. It worked great.
  11. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    I can not get it to move. Since I don't have a ladder and it is a high roof I think am going to see if the Chimney sweep I use can do it. I thought that a 8bl dumb bellwith a rope could be used to knock it down the chimney but you swtill need to be on the roof.
  12. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

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    I assume there was a reason that you were not doing it from the roof, but ...

    You can get yourself another rig and work from the top down. You probably need a helper at the bottom to take the parts out as you push them down.

    Alternatively, if it is a straight shot and not too long, just use a 2x4, all you have to do is get it moving down and it should be easy from there. Just don't loose the 2x4, a screw eye in the top end with a line attached would be a good safety.
  13. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    To quote John:
    Not to break stones here folks...but whats' it going to hurt?

    You want my advice(as a service professional who deals with the public)? Thats why the "Pros" are in the phonebook...to answer "a call". What do you REALLY save by doing it yourself? You spend the money on the brush, the handles, etc...you give up YOUR TIME on a Saturday, get dirty, make a mess...and now you have a brush stuck in the flue? If you call a chimeney sweep and he says "I'll come out, yank the brush out, clean and INSPECT your flue for X amount.." What's the difference if he says five, fifty, or 100 bucks? At what point is it worth it to you to just spend a couple of bucks? If the tire on your car goes flat...do you keep driving on it...you suck it up, bite the bullet and buy a new one...chalking it up to "S^it Happens"
    ...Is it a pride issue? "I'm not going to pay someone to do something I can do myself..." Is it good old American "frugality"??(see rant above) Or is it you fear looking like a fool?
    ...As a "service professional"(electrician)...I tell it like it is "The smartest person is the one that picks up the phone".
    Would it kill you to at least pick up the phone, call and find out? You might be pleasantly surprised...Put on some ratty old work clothes and pair of boots, grab a beer and spin a tail of woe when he shows up to look at it "...Yup...thought I'd try my hand at cleaning the chimney...see where it got me? Now what's it gonna take and how much is it gonna cost me so I can use my stove again?" Strike a deal...support your local economy...and rest assured that if anything happens after he leaves..your ^ss is covered with your insurance company...
    Think about it!

    "Sometimes a dollar saved...isn't worth one well spent!"
  14. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    ...If you are intent on doing it yourself (I cringe to think I'm suggesting this)...run down to the local supply store or HD, Lowes' etc...buy a long electricians snake (50 or 100 foot "replacement tape"...you don't need the fancy stupid plastic handle/winder) and 100 foot clothes line rope, thread the snake through the clean out up out the top of the chimney, drag the clothesline up through back to the ground. Tie a slip knot around the handle and try to drag the whole thing out the top...from the ground...might work...let us know...good luck!
  15. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I kike keymans suggestion but even that may not work one you will be pulling that clothes line from below putting a fot of force and friction against the clay liner where the cloth line bends
    it could work or you just break the rope. A pully setup would ease the friction created.. I think ultimately one has to approach the stuck brush from the top a screw on hook attached to the loop on the brush. If that does not work then from the top with 2/4's it has to be bludgen down..

    Many times when I chase a chimney leak I spend more time staging the area then the actual shingling and flashing. One might have to set up multi roof bracket platforms to
    get a working area around that chimney opening.

    AS Key said stuff happens. Hopefully others are reading this post and learn from this. Yes there is a way the DIY can do their own cleaning but they need to take an extra step
    fish a decent strength rope down the chimney first and attach it to the front loop. It cleaver enough using a pole of strapping and a weight one can drop the rope and weight down the chimney first without using a ladder IF just pulling the brush without using rods then screw on a loop where the rods would fit and haave a front rope and bottom rope. Plan ahead and leave a second escape path. Things do not always go as planned

    If this makes you feel better you are not the first person to have lost a brush in a chimney

    this may make you situation easier to take
    In my town a painter got an estimate of $1200 from a tree service to remove a large Maple tree about 30" diameter. The painter figured the he and his friend could do the job, so they rig up a rope to direct the path of the tree fall. The driveway is rather sloped down towards the house and tree. One guy is cutting the tree the other guy sitting in the pickup truck. The plan was to cut the tree enough hop into the pickup truck and pull it down. One guy is cutting the tree the other guy sitting in the pickup truck. The guy is cutting yells to the pick up driver to go. as he hits the gass the tree decided to go the other way It lifted the rear end of the pickup off the ground dragged about 10 feet till the whole rear bumber ripped off. Bent the trucks frame to boot. The tree falls onto the two car garage and cloapses it totaling the garage and his wife's car in it. MA logger or Earthharvester may remember the story. It

    happened on Lake Archer and you know the slope of those driveways. The guy ended up hiring a tree company to remove the tree from his garage. I wish I took pictures when I did the inspection condeming the garage. EH an Malogger the painter has a french last name
    The tree also did some damage to the houes it took down the electrical overhead drop and ripped the meter socket off the home. With live wires snapping and all that went wrong one good thing did happen no one got killed.
  16. mtarbert

    mtarbert Minister of Fire

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    As a painter I van relate to these tales.....a few years ago a friend of mine who is a Dentist hired me to paint his home....well being frugal he wanted to paint the first floor windows himself....I painted the home allright and a few weeks later his wife calls for me to paint the first floor windows....it seems that when he was on a step stool painting the first window it kicked out and he broke his wrist.....now what good is a Dentist with a broken wrist.....Hire a pro !
  17. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Nice post El...
    As a "tree man" myself...and I'm sure the other tree guys here can attest too...How many stories have we heard that start like this?? :
    As a "public service announcement" if anyone here get's a "bright idea" and decides to try this themselves or they get "asked to come over for a few beers and lend a hand"...consider getting some proffessional (mental) help...lol
    ...And if you still decide to go through with it...for god sakes use ROPES...don't go rigging up chains or cables and risk life and limb of everyone around!
    I bring this up because last month I heard a story very similiar sounding to this...except they got the bright idea to use a piece of cable...BAD IDEA! The only tree guys that use cables or chains on trees...are the skidder operators.
    Long skinny short and sweet: When the cable broke it "richocheted" back with some sort of hook and shattered one guys wrist...he was damn lucky it wasn't his skull.
    If you can't "Notch it' and watchit"...seriously consider hiring a pro...your neighbors not having to deal with a full entourage of emergency vehicles parked in the neighborhood will thank you...as will your insuramnce agent!
  18. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    I get a great pleasure from solving a difficult problem or doing something myself that most people would outsource. You just have to know where to draw the line concerning safety and true costs. Anything involving ladders or heavy objects requires an extra bit of objective thought.
  19. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

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    Not just any old long thick rope. If you do not know the difference between twisted nylon and braided cover and core Dacron don't even think about tying it to anything to pull with a truck, boat, come along or by hand or real widow makers they may become.

    If you don't know your knots enough to tie them in the dark, eyes closed, as if your life depended on them don't tie anything other than your shoes or real widow makers they may become.

    Don't let problems happen.
  20. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

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    Working with electricity and felling trees are things you need to have a lot of knowledge to do. Even chainsawing by itself can be dangerous if you don't take precautions and know what you're doing. But unless you are afraid of heights or ladders, have a really steep roof, or an unusually complicated layout, cleaning your chimney is neither hard nor complicated. I am baffled by the fellow suggesting we are somehow foolish if we attempt this by ourselves. I would place it somewhere between the difficulty of mopping a floor and painting a wall of your house. This isn't rocket science!

    I have been up on the roof of all three of the houses we have owned, multiple times on each roof. First house, reshingled it. Second house, patched a leaky skylight, cleaned the gutters, removed an antenna, and caulked something. This house, well as kids we went on it just for fun, now we have been up to clean gutters, prune limbs of trees, paint, caulk, and cover the old masonry chimney. What's the big deal if your roof isn't unusually steep? I would say chimney cleaning is about on a par with changing the oil in your car. About as hard, takes about as long, and you have the potential to get just as messy.

    We had an alleged professional sweep our chimney the first time. Hubby and I had both read about how to do it and figured we would do it most of the time. However, we thought at least once we would observe to be sure we did everything right. Just our luck, the guy was a lazy moron. Came 2+ hours late, so I couldn't even be there to observe (or yell at him!) Didn't take apart the stovepipe at all, swept all the soot and crud INTO our stove. If you know the design of a Hearthstone Phoenix, you know that one can't access where the pipe leaves the stove from inside the stove. You have to take the pipe off. So he poked in places where there is fragile insulation and ceramic baffles, got out hardly any of the crud, and mucked up our stove good. Fortunately, the next day I asked hubby something about how the stovepipe went back together. He said the guy didn't take it apart. We thought that very strange, and disassembled it ourselves. The place where the pipe went into the stove was almost completely blocked with a mound of soot! So this 'professional' set us up for trouble, and we were lucky we took it apart before we lit a fire.

    A few angry phone calls later and he came back and actually took the soot out of the stove. He said he hadn't disassembled the stovepipe since normally he "didn't need to." Our stove did not burn as well afterwards, looks okay but doesn't heat the house as well. Am worried he tore the insulation or cracked the supposedly delicate thermo-ceramic baffle pieces while he was futiley poking at the soot from the door opening, or maybe just got soot stuffed into some air passage, dunno. We really wish we HADN'T called him, and had just done it ourselves.
  21. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

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    By the way, the brush and rods cost about $50 total, we have 20 feet of rods, long chimney. Paid for itself instantly. Took half an hour to clean our chimney ourselves, that includes the setup and cleanup. Bez, we got our poly brush at Menards, they are a big DIY chain in the Midwest, don't know where you are.

    Can also tell you a story about the surveyors for this property, which we had subdivided into 2 parcels before purchasing it from my mom. They screwed up the plat of survey and property descriptions not ONCE but TWICE. So we recorded bad data with the county about the division. Lawyer doing the division and deed changes didn't catch the problem (an omission of a direction.) Second time around, for the property sale, I skipped the lawyer and did the deed transfer forms myself, and found the second problem with the plat of survey (3 parallel lines were listed as having slightly different angles.) I don't always have that much faith in 'professionals.' Sometimes they are good, sometimes they aren't. Plumbers and painters and electricians and lawyers can all be morons just like anybody else. If you are smart and read up on things, there isn't much that you can't do, assuming you have the proper equipment for the job. I would especially think that wood burners are going to be the kind of people that will do things for themselves?!?
  22. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    ...Very good points you mention previously
    Very good observation...what I'm trying to convey is people should "educate" themselves...and in so doing...do not focus strictly on the dollar.
    I'm sorry to hear of your bad experiences' with different "professionals" I'm sure just about everyone here has had "horror stories" also.
    I'm not going to elaborate any farther than I already have...you feel comfortable in tackling DIY'er jobs around the home...BEAUTIFULL! POWER TO YOU! Some other people may not...for those people that don't...do some homework, and research where to turn to...Nuff' said.
  23. nrmahoney@cox.net

    nrmahoney@cox.net Member

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    I have both a wire and a poly brush the poly brush is much harder to push. I also use the lighter weight rod, a mistake, they bend much to much.
    with the lighter rods you cant push on them unless you are real close to the chimney to minimize the amount of bend.
  24. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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  25. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    The chimney sweep came out today it took him 5 min to remove the brush. He used a hook on 2 rods and pulled it up.Charged 50 bucks over the normal clean charge. I thought that was fair. My chimney is a tall one 35ft so am not not going up there don't like even whatching him go up there. He said that I must be burning hot because their not a lot of build up. Plus I have a good draft. Alls well that ends well.

    Paul
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