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Need some help sweeping

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by emt1581, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    I have a stainless chimney on the side of my home. On the bottom there is a cap with a large handle on it.

    Is it possible to sweep the chimney from the ground or is getting up on the roof/ladder a must? How do I get the cap off on the bottom?

    I think I was told to use a steel brush for that chimney but a nylon one for the terracotta lined brick chimney next to it....sound right?

    Do I buy a brush the same diameter as the interior? Bigger/smaller?

    Thanks!

    -Emt1581

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  2. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

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    You should see 3 screws holding the bottom cap on. It's either an 8 or 6" chimney, so get the same size wire brush and enough rods to get all the way to the top. I suppose you could potentially sweep from the bottom up instead of from the top down, but it would put you on the wrong end of some very filthy stuff that's only going to float down in your direction, and you would have a hard time assessing the condition of the chimney without both ends removed. I guess you could try shining a flashlight up there to check for any shiny stuff. If you just have that garden variety powdery buildup, you're in good shape. You would still have to clean the pipe in your house between the stove and where it meets the thimble to the outside. In my experience, that's usually got much more buildup than the chimney, especially if you have elbows in line. Bottom line is, it's doable, but you're always better off sweeping from up top.
  3. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

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    I use a nylon brush on my steel flue and steel brush on my clay/terracotta flues. I was told a steel brush could damage the steel pipe.

    The brushes are the same size as the flue and the same shape (round for the round steel pipe & rectangular for the clay pipes.

    KaptJaq
  4. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    Sooteater time?
  5. rwhite

    rwhite Minister of Fire

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    How far is the bottom of the cap from the ground? If it's at least 20" or so than I would say a sooteater would work great. And you can alway tape a bag around the bottom to keep the dust down. The biggest mess I got from the sooteater was the air from the drill motor blowing the fly ash around. I got mine off of amazon a few weeks ago and I am impressed!
  6. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    I use a steal brush every year with no issue at all on my stainless chimney ! I am saving for a soot eater though Its just easier from the ground.

    Pete
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Your chimney must be like ours and yes, we do clean from the bottom. That is much preferable to climbing up on the roof. The only time you should have to climb is if the cap needs cleaning.

    As stated, you buy the brush to fit the chimney. In this case, a round brush.

    Nylon or steel? There has been much discussion on which to use. Of course you can use either. However, I've asked a few of the guys who sell SS and also install. The answer I keep getting is that yes, you can use either but beware. I've had two guys tell me that they have replaced SS chimneys after folks using wire brushes but never had to replace a chimney that had nylon brushes used. Granted, replacement was close to 20 years from install but that stuff will not go down in price. In addition to that, I have a wire brush but after talking and thinking, I spent the $15 to get a new nylon brush. Will it make a difference in the long run? I don't know but I am also not willing to take the chance. So I do advise to get a nylon brush.
  8. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    It is most definitely possible to sweep from the ground . . . and in fact it makes the job of inspecting and cleaning the chimney that much easier . . . which is why I clean mine monthly (overkill to be sure . . . but it makes me feel good and is only a 10-minute job). As mentioned it does not replace cleaning the interior stove pipe (although I found that these are quite clean so this is an annual to bi-annual sweep for me).

    Various systems may be set up differently . . . but on my T there are three self tapping screws that hold the cap in place. Simply unscrew and pull out the plug. Run your chimney brush (on rods) up through . . . making an up and down motion . . . and being careful to not pound on the cap at the top.

    As mentioned there has been some debate about which type of brush to use . . . I went with a poly brush cut to the same shape as the interior of the Class A. This has worked well for me.
  9. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    I appreciate the info.

    I looked at the cap with the handle on it. I didn't find any screws but I'll look closer/again.

    Any precautions to take when doing the sweeping? (trash can under the chimney. Eye/Face/Breathing protection/etc.?

    I looked today and Lowes only carried the steel brush. Any reason not to use the steel? I don't think anyone spoke to this yet in regard to the logic of either material (poly/steel).

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
  10. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    As mentioned by several people above, thre is a small risk of damaging your chimney if you use a steel brush. I personally would have a big concern that if I damaged my chimney I might not realize I had done so and could have disasterous consequences, that quite aside from the cost of replacing even a section of pipe if I did realize I had damage before I had a subsequent problem. The poly brush is what Woodstock sells. I figure they know what they are doing. The brushes are widely available, including on line, for well under $20, as noted by others above. For $20, simply not worth the risk involved in using a wire brush on the steel chimney.
  11. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    I just tried searching wal-mart, lowes, and home depot and none that I saw carried the poly brush. My local shop wants something like $50 or $60 just for the brush.

    I'll give google a try but where is cheapest to order from?

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
  12. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    $10 on Amazon.com
  13. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    I see them.

    However I ran into another problem and I'm not sure how to handle it...

    I have used Amazon MAYBE once so I'm not familiar with how this would work, but my chimney is around 25'. The rod they pair this brush with only comes in 20' orders....

    Similar with others I've seen.

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Yes they did. Look at post #7.
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    If you check with a local hardware they likely will sell the rods as a set or by singles. Something else one can do is make their own rods. 1/2" pipe could be cut to perhaps 4' and have however many you need. A few days ago I found our old ones in the barn. I remember making them many, many moons ago and we used them for many years. I don't remember why we got the fiberglass rods but now we can use either if we want to. Point is, if you need just one more length, you can make it if you can't buy it.
  16. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    I didn't know if the threading/adapter were universal or what.

    But yes, for $8 per 4' they sell them at Lowes.

    -Emt1581
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    At that price, I'd just get what you need and be done with it. The nicest part of the fiberglass rods is there is some bend and they are lighter.
  18. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    So if I get the poly head on Amazon then I can get the rods at lowes and they'll fit right?

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Right. They should all be the same size.
  20. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the help!

    I ordered a 6" poly brush on amazon for around $14 shipped.

    I'll go to Lowes and buy the rods this week. Now all I have to do is figure out this handle/cap at the bottom of the chimney.

    Thanks!

    -Emt1581
  21. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Possibly the cap screws off? Or maybe the installer never put in the screws to hold the cap in place . . . which is something I personally would recommend.

    Since this is outside I don't use a trash can . . . especially since I only get a little bit of creosote. I don't wear my church clothes (well if I went to church) since you can get pretty dirty . . . wearing some disposable gloves is a good idea . . . perhaps even wearing a cheap dust mask might be nice . . . but I typically don't do either.

    I use poly . . . figure it is a bit gentler to the the chimney . . . ordered on line at Northline Express -- which was one of our sponsors here for quite a while.
  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Sometimes you can just use the rod and tap the outside of the cap and it will loosen some crap if it is stuck on there. Be careful of the eyes though.
  23. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    Well I got the poly head and the rods. I plan on going up and sweeping it tomorrow. I went up yesterday and there was definitely a lot of build-up on the cap.

    I could also see how a bat got in....there is NO screening/mesh on the cap, just two bands... any reason I shouldn't wrap some metal screening or chicken wire around it?

    Also, does the stove need to be off for me to sweep or, if it is just on low, can I sweep it while it is running?

    Thanks

    -Emt1581
  24. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    I have a mesh, about the width of chicken wire and it does build up with creosote over the course of a few months, I usually have to go up and knock the stuff off in the middle of the burning season, Id rather have your type and maybe wrap something around it after the season to keep out birds/bats.
  25. emt1581

    emt1581 Minister of Fire

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    That makes sense....doing it at the end of the season.

    What about sweeping while the stove is burning...low....or no?

    Thanks

    -Emt1581

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