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Cleaned flue with Sooteater system today

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Nick Mystic, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. Nick Mystic

    Nick Mystic Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    613
    Loc:
    Western North Carolina
    I bought a Sooteater system a few week ago and the rain finally stopped long enough to let me climb up on the roof and try it out. I installed our new Jotul F600 woodstove at the end of February this year, so it didn't have too much use before the burning season ended. However, we did have an unusually cool spring, so we burned some clear into May.

    Here are some before and after photos:

    IMG_0230.JPG

    Before

    IMG_0232.JPG

    After

    IMG_0228.JPG

    And here is the rain cap before I took it down and cleaned it with a wire brush. As you can see from the photos I did not have much to clean. My chimney is around 17' tall, so I used all six of the three foot long rods. I have easy access to my roof and chimney, so I cleaned from the top down.

    First, I took the top plate off my stove to give me access to the flue collar and connecting T. I left the T cap in place during cleaning. From inside the stove I stuffed a small pillow with a plastic bag over it into the flue collar opening to keep any soot, etc. from getting into the stove and house. This worked fine. I followed the instructions and connected all the rods together with the cleaning head and lowered the entire length into the flue. I then used my drill to spin the rods as I worked my way up the flue removing rods as I went. You have to be careful when you disconnect or connect rods together making sure you don't drop them down the flue pipe. I worked a good system out after a couple tries and things went well.

    When I completed cleaning the flue pipe I took the rain cap down off the roof so I could clean it up as good as new with some wire brushes before putting it back in place. When I went to remove the cover on the bottom of the T connector inside my fireplace I could see right away I was going to have trouble getting the cap off. With the screws removed the cap did not want to budge and it is tight quarters working through a five inch gap between the stove and the sides of the fireplace opening.

    Instead of fighting the cap I decided to just dip the creosote and soot ash out from the bottom of the T
    from inside the stove. I used a small cup and lifted it into a trash bag I set on top of the baffle. I had an easy reach and this worked well. Once I had scooped as much as possible I finished up using a vacuum cleaner that has washable filters.

    I was a bit surprised that I got as much creosote/ash as I did. I estimate about four cups came out of the 17' tall flue. I had burned well seasoned wood, but while I was getting to know my new stove I probably didn't burn some fires as hot as I should have. The Sooteater worked great and I'd recommend it to anyone who is cleaning SS liners. I did not try using it from the bottom up, so I can't comment on how it works in that direction. I got it online for about $43, which was less expensive than just buying fiberglass rods for a brush.
    NortheastAl and Tenn Dave like this.

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  2. alforit

    alforit Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    261
    Loc:
    Western Washington
    Umm ....That's rusting pretty bad
  3. Nick Mystic

    Nick Mystic Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    613
    Loc:
    Western North Carolina
    That's not rust you're seeing the photos, rather it is a thin coating of creosote/ash stain that gives it that orange coloring. The liner is an Olympia SS liner.
    Tenn Dave likes this.
  4. Tenn Dave

    Tenn Dave Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2013
    Messages:
    277
    Loc:
    SE Tennessee and New Jersey Shore
    Thanks for the report Nick. I will have to look into getting one of them.
  5. alforit

    alforit Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    261
    Loc:
    Western Washington
    Weww.! :)
  6. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,351
    Loc:
    Greenwood county, SC
    I cleaned mine with the sooteater as well sunday.

    I am bad and running mine as a slammer!!! And i think my cats went out early this year, I am embarassed to say how much creosote i got!!!
  7. NortheastAl

    NortheastAl Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Messages:
    676
    Loc:
    Putnam, NY
    Glad you posted this, Nick. I got mine yesterday and cleaned the flue today. Just had enough rod to make it to the cap. Did mine from the bottom up. Used an 18v cordless drill and it worked perfectly. Also installed my flue thermometer today. Had it since this past winter.

    Had to use a mirror to see up the flue, and the Sooteater got all the nasty stuff off and there is only a thin coating of dust from the creosote left on it. Hard to take a pic of it from the bottom.

    Here's what I got out of the flue. I had been burning from the end of December thru the end of May.


    image.jpg
  8. Laurent Cyr

    Laurent Cyr Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    145
    Loc:
    Quebec, Canada
    Glad to see everything worked out, Nick! I already had the rods and brush to clean mine, but will look into the cost of getting the Sooteater on the internet, and delivered here in Canada. Bet you it will be double your cost.

    Laurent
  9. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,351
    Loc:
    Greenwood county, SC
    I got mine from amazon but I was thinking it was close to 50 shipped. And I think that was the cheapest I could find from several places. Also it was bout the same or lwaa than buying a brush and rods. Plus I can use it on 2 flues and brush is just one size.
  10. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,271
    Loc:
    Quebec, Canada
    Looking good Nick!

    I wouldn't be able to clean my chimney without a sooteater! I can't access from the top down and the rods for a brush won't bend enough for bottom up.

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