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Chimney Cleaning Tips

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by ckdeuce, Dec 15, 2009.

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  1. ckdeuce

    ckdeuce Feeling the Heat

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    Bought the brush and rods today. Trying to clean, but I am having trouble.... I am cleaning from the bottom up and am having trouble pushing the brush up. I can get about 11' up and then the rods just bend and I can't go any further. I need to go about another 7'. Any thoughts? I ran a few pieces of copper pipe over the rods to give some rigidness, but I only have about 10' of copper. I have gotten about 1/2 gallon of shiny flakey creosote so far, Is that a lot for only burning 2 1/2 months? I am a little concerned. Also, I have yet to do the stove pipe... It will be a pain, so I was thinking about waiting until after the burn season. Should I worry about it now? I burn 24/7 and I run the stove wide open for at least 1/2 hour each day to get things hot and clean. This is my first time cleaning, but this is a new install so again, I am a bit concerned about the half gallon I have gotten out so far. Please chime in. Thanks - Chris

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  2. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    i dunno the answer to that, but I'll post just to bring you closer to the top of the list.

    As far as how much your getting, that seems like a lot to me. I just cleaned my 15' chimney and got exactly 2.5 cups and I felt like it was pretty dirty. I'll let someone else with more knowledge than me make that call, though.
  3. ckdeuce

    ckdeuce Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah..... Im a bit worried. Thanks for the bump.
  4. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I know this may sound like an exceptionally stupid question, but I'll ask anyways . . . did you get the right diameter brush? Also, some folks that have wicked tight fitting brushes have reported having to give their brush a slight trim to make it slide through easier.

    Half gallon for 2 1/2 months . . . I don't think that would worry me so much as the "shiny" looking creosote. Ideally (if creosote can be considered ideal) creosote is black to brown and the consistency of coffee grounds. That said, I don't think I would be very worried . . . but checking and cleaning in another month might give you a better idea of how things are looking.

    RE: The Stove Pipe. I didn't clean out my stove pipe until the end/start of this year . . . namely because for me it was and is a pain to take apart. There was very little creosote in the stove pipe.
  5. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    I have a poly brush and a steel brush. The poly is imposible to get through my SS liner. The steel brush goes right through with little effort. I am going to have to give my poly brush a "hair cut" before it's going to work. As Pyro said, all brushes are not neccessarily the correct size.
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    ckdeuce, someone has already asked for sure did you buy the right sized brush. I hope so. Cleaning from the bottom and you still need to go another 7' means you have just hit the problem spot. As you go higher you will have more creosote. That last 3' especially can be pretty bad and you may be close to being plugged. I suggest you get that taken care of quickly.

    Rather than the fiberglass rods, you might buy some small 1/2" galvanized pipe. Get it cut to the same lengths as your fiberglass rods and have them thread it on both ends. Get a few couplings to screw them together. Screw one coupling on each piece of pipe. Then as you go up, you can just hand screw the next lenght, etc. These won't bend so you can do a better job pushing and pulling. If you find you can't pull it down, just put a pipe wrench on and pull on the wrench; better is two wrenches so you can pull on opposite sides.

    I too would be concerned getting that much crap out of the chimney in 2 1/2 months! I didn't even get a cup after 2 years. Realize how much you got and you have just got to the spot where it will be even worse.

    Burning hot or wide open for a time each day is an old wood burner's trick that is really not too great of an idea. I know several who used to do that years ago; those are the ones who had the chimney fires too. We've never had one, but then, we burn good dry wood that has been in the stack 2-3 years minimum. Right now we have a 6-7 year wood supply on hand. Yes, it is worth it because not only do we not have a dirty chimney but we get more heat from the wood because we don't have to evaporate all that moisture before the fire gets going.

    Good luck.
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    You probably have very little crud in the stove pipe - the amount of creosote generally gets higher as you go up the chimney where the smoke has had a chance to cool down and condense...

    1/2 gallon is a considerable amount, though it's a lot less than the 2-3 gallons I get in my 25' chimney with my VC Encore Cat...

    For the rods, what I use is 10' lengths of 1/2" gray PVC electrical conduit - a fraction of the cost of the "official" rods, and IMHO does a better job... If you do a search you'll find several descriptions of how I set it up...

    Right now, I use two different brushes when cleaning my flue... The first one is a 6" wire brush that I trimmed into a cone shape with an angle grinder, about 2" diameter at the top, and 5.5" at the bottom - it bores through any and the thickest layers, and gets it down to the point where I can get through with my tight fitting 6" poly brush...

    Gooserider
  8. ckdeuce

    ckdeuce Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah.... I have the right size brush. Not a stupid question, I thought maybe they put the wrong brush in the box! It's 6" so we are good there.

    I don't think I am hitting a trouble spot where there is a huge build-up, or that it is plugged. I can see up through with no problem, and my cap looks clean. Even at the very bottom, it takes all I have to push the brush up. Then I had to have my wife help me pull the damn thing back out. Does not help my man stud image.... Me hagging on to a rod hagging out of a chimney asking for my wife to hang on it with me!! I do have some wood that need some help. The guy I bought it off of lets "Season" in a huge pile and that does not work so well.... Still searching for better fuel. I just moved and did not bring the stuff I had at my last home with us. But I am cutting and stacking for next year.

    So the shiny stuff is worse? It does look like coffe, and it just crumbles up. Here is a pic... Not such a good one.

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  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Good thing you got that out of the chimney! That would have made a good picture though with both tugging on the brush. lol
  10. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    The brush is deliberately a little bigger than the liner in order to keep the right scrubbing pressure on it, which can make it a little tough to reverse directions as you have to pull the bristles straight before they can flex in the opposite direction. I find it helps if you can yank on the brush rather than doing a steady pull.

    Another thing I strongly recommend is to tie a rope to the brush and leave it dangling as you clean - that way if the rods break or come apart, you can pull the brush out with the rope, it can also help with the direction reversals...

    The creosote in your picture looks like mine, except I get a range of different sizes from coffee grounds up to big chunks... Black, and very brittle, the chunks will crush and break up easily....

    Gooserider
  11. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Seeing the pic . . . I wouldn't worry too much. I pictured things worse than what they seem to be.
  12. ckdeuce

    ckdeuce Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks! No more wife hanging from the rod...... Ah.......... Wait!!!
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