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Cleaning Dad's chimney

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by mustash29, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

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    I have 27 feet of stainless class A chimney. I have 30 feet of Rutland fiberglass cleaning rods and a 6" metal brush that I use on my flue. It's a straight shot down from the top. I then remove the clean out cap in the basement and remove the debris from the bottom of the "T" where my wall thimble and stove pipe connector connect.

    I will be visiting my parents in a few weeks and need the proper stuff clean Dad's chimney. The house is a 30 x 45 ranch. The basement is divided in 2 halves that are 15 x 45. The front half is mechanical area / unfinished with the oil boiler sitting in the RR corner. The rear half is finished and in the RF corner is a large brick hearth that has a huge Quadra-Fire insert. The brick chimney is external to the house foundation and contains two 6 x 8 clay flues.

    When the insert was installed he had a corrugated stainless flex liner installed inside the clay flue. It is about 21 feet long from the top down to the insert. The top is about 17 feet straight down to the old "smoke shelf" area, then bends at about a 15 to 30 deg angle and heads to the top of the insert. They had to egg shape it slightly to about 5 x 7 in order to get it to fit.

    What is the best cleaning rods and brush to use on such a set up?

    I'm not sure if my Rutland fiberglass rods will bend that much?

    Are you are supposed to used nylon brushs on the flex liner?

    Should I get a larger brush and trim it down to the 5 x 7 size? Due to the egg shaped liner, a 6" round seems like it won't clean effectively?

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  2. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't use a steel brush on the liner nor on a stainless metalbestos (or similar) chimney. Seems to me that the fiberglass rods should bend enough to follow any bend that you were able to make in the liner.

    Legend passed around in rural areas says, just drop a hen down the chimney and she'll clean it as she flaps her way down.
    BoilerMan and maple1 like this.
  3. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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  4. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    At first glance, it looks like that brush wants to pokes holes all over the place.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  5. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    So basically they use a professional "Sooteater"?

    Does that give more validity to the Sooteater?

    ac
  6. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    It is very different from soot eater, it doesn't rotate at all.

    As it goes down/up the wires/blades scrape the sides of the flue clean, you run it down and up a few times and then go inside and clean out everything that fell into the stove. Works really well on class A pipe or Flex liner.Will not work in a clay flue. I usually clean mine Class A and My parents place, Flexliner
  7. chimneylinerjames

    chimneylinerjames Feeling the Heat

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    We recommend using the Sooteater in this situation. It will not damage the flex liner at all. It will also thoroughly clean the round part of the liner as well as the oval section.
  8. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Echo what Fred said.

    (Not sure about the hen thing though).

    I would not use a metal brush on a steel chimney or liner. I use a nylon one, works fine.
  9. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    Well, they clean a few hundred lined chimneys a year, lol I think I'll go with the pro on this one. Haha
  10. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    I ALWAYS use poly brush on any metal flue, especially a class A. Stainless does not rust due to the chromium in it. The chromium oxide makes the SS "self heal" keeping oxygen from oxidizing the SS. If you scrape off this oxide (like with a steel flue brush) you have to use up more chromium in the SS for protection, essentially making the inner sheetmetal thinner with every cleaning. Poly brushes will not scratch off the chromium oxide layer.

    TS
  11. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    My guy comes to sweep this Saturday, I'm curious if he has anything new up his sleeve.
  12. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    The tar acids in creosote are more destructive to chromium oxide than a metal brush. Chromium oxide is harder than both Aluminum or Spring steel used in bushes so it wont rub or scrape off.

    I am not saying you don't have a point, it is possible to damage a flex liner with any brush, but your reasoning as to why you use a poly brush over a metal wire brush is flawed.
  13. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I called Rockford Chimney (site sponsor) and they said they do NO suggest metal brushes for ANY metal liner.

    His contention was that it simply was unnecessary wear and tear on the liner. Since the metal is not porous, there is no need for the actually scratching the metal brush does. He even said that the micro scratching the metal brushes could leave actually just adds to the surface area for creosote to build up on.

    ac
  14. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    If this was true the all of the site sponsors wouldn't be selling metal brushes from cleaning liners.

    http://www.efireplacestore.com/cpf-44205.html

    Just pointing out that not everyone agrees with the above. My friend said that they clean 500 or so liners a year, and haven't had any issues over the 20 or so years they have been using metal brushes. So premature wear is the least of my worries. in 20 years Ill have a new stove and Ill replace the Class A pipe I have to be safe
  15. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

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    I called a total of 8 different 'local' hardware stores looking to buy a Sooteater. Nobody one had one in stock and 3/4 of those vendors had never even heard of them, seen them or even knew their 'company' web sites offered them. I love to support the local guy when possible, but what a PITA trying to find one.

    I wound up ordering one from Smart Home, complete with 2 extra rods for a total of 24 foot. Even though it was shipped from Cali, it arrived in 6 days just like predicted. It is a quality tool that worked just as described. There is no need to buy the Soot eater replacement strings, the manual actually tells you to use 0.105 weed wacker string.

    Dad was happy. His Quad 5100 insert and SS flex liner had not been cleaned for 2 seasons. We removed about 1/2 gallon of dry fly ash from the top of the stove roof bricks / baffle area. The Sooteater knocked about 2 to 2.5 gallon of crap out of the SS flue liner. About 1/2 was nice dry grey fly ash and the other 1/2 was black flakey crusty creosoot. Maglight inspection revealed the top 3" of the flue liner was caked up with globs of crap about an inch thick, but the rest of the way down it only appeared to have a slight 1/8" layer of normal looking buildup.

    Overall we were both very pleased with the tool and the job it did. I ran the drill fwd going down / up / down untill we hit bottom. Then ran rev up / down / up on the retract stroke. I'd say it easly knocked 90-95% of the crap out of the liners corrugated ridges. IMO it was easier to use than my fiberglass rods and metal brush.
  16. Augie

    Augie Feeling the Heat

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    Sooteater makes a dryer vent clean out tool that is the same as the sooteater, but with a 4 inch poly brush. I added a piece of flat stock with holes drilled in it to it then i threaded weed whacker string through the holes. The dryer vent version is $19.95 for 12 ft I think. I clean from the top down then the bottom up. takes an extra 10 min or so.

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