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Using Sooteater Without Trimming The Whip Lines

Post in 'The Gear' started by turbocruiser, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
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    320
    Loc:
    Rocky Mountains Majesty
    I recently purchased two Sooteater Systems (as opposed to one system and additional extension rods) and for the first time cleaned my chimney tonight. The systems seemed super easy to use and to understand. I carefully worked 9 rods up the chimney in short back and forth strokes in both forward and reverse drill directions. I then removed the rods one by one while repeating the short strokes and the forward and reverse drill directions. To be a bit safer about it, and not knowing how things should feel, I set the torque setting on the drill to a very low 4 (on scale of 20). I also allowed a corner of the plastic that I taped over the opening to stay open so that I could reach into the firebox and help hold the extension rods as aligned as possible to the stove pipe / chimney pipe.

    Still when I was done and looked up through the stove pipe / chimney pipe, I could tell that on the opposite side of the stove pipe where the sooteater's whip head was pushing there was still some residue. I'm wondering whether it would actually work better without trimming the whip lines as the instructions instruct? This way even when the whip head is leaning slightly off center the longer whip lines would still clean the chimney. Since I have two heads with one trimmed and one untrimmed, I can simply swap whip heads and start again but before I do that I'd like to ask for thoughts on this. Thanks as always.

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  2. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Sounds like you didn't have enough rpm going maybe?

    I cut my strings longer than they said to, dunno if full length it would work though.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    NW Ontario
    You want the lines to be as near perpendicular as possible for the best scraping action so it is important to trim them. Try sweeping the floor with an old broom where the bristles have a serious nap to them and note which way it works best.

    Sounds like you are using a cordless drill. Try a more powerful corded drill at a much higher speed. The centrifugal force on the whip lines will exert more force.
  4. mecreature

    mecreature Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
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    indiana
    I bought 2 sets also. I kind of had the same feeling about the trimmed head. I left one untrimmed.
    I used the trimmed one just before the Holidays. The next time I do it I am using the untrimmed head first to see what it does.
    I know it will clean the cap better. Then I will run the trimmed head and see what happens.

    I figure if you are doing it in the first place you are one up. You got to get better at it over time I would think.
    At least you will know what to expect from it.
  5. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    Messages:
    320
    Loc:
    Rocky Mountains Majesty
    Okay, thanks for the advice as always. I think part of the problem is I was indeed using a cordless drill and on top of that I was using the slow setting. I was trying to be as gentle as possible and probably didn't have enough speed on the tool. I'll try again and report the results. I'm still wondering whether the whole head with full length whip lines would be better for the first few feet where I am a little leary of running a corded drill at full speed. It seems like the lines are grooved along their length and I'm thinking that those grooves will still scrub the ID of the chimney ... the analogy of the broom that LLigetfa made makes perfect sense but I also think that taking the same broom and putting it parallel to the floor so the full bristle would be sweeping would also work ... its just that we don't have curved handles on brooms to do that! Anyways, I'll try running the tool faster and report and if I still see deposits on one side of the ID, I might try the full length whip lines and report about that too. Thanks Again.
  6. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    Messages:
    320
    Loc:
    Rocky Mountains Majesty
    Update:

    I swept everything from the chimney connector to the chimney cap again with a high speed setting using the head that had the whip lines cut to fit the 6" ID of our chimney. As everyone already explained, the faster tool speed made a major difference and another 1/2 cup or so of stuff dropped out of the chimney. The first sweeping swept out 1 1/2 cups or so of stuff.

    However when I was looking up straight through the stove and stove pipe I could still see strands of soot still streaking the stove pipe's ID opposite of the sides where the whip head was "pushing" through the chimney connector and the two 30 degree offsets. I then went to the top of the outside chimney chase above the roof, removed the top cap to the chimney cap and looked straight down using a super strong flashlight. What I saw was super interesting; I could clearly see that throughout the chimney's twenty foot stack the soot was scrubbed off evenly and everywhere.

    I then tried an experiment and sent my spare whip head with full length lines up the chimney connector and stove pipe and chimney pipe. Right away while it was traveling through the chimney connector, the first four feet of straight stove pipe, the first 30 degree offset, the next straight section and then the second 30 degree offset, I saw pretty significant amount of soot falling from the stove pipe (about another 1/2 cup). But as soon as it transitioned to the straight section of our chimney I couldn't see anything at all falling from the chimney pipe.

    So my theory is that while I was bending the sections to get through the chimney connector and then the stove pipe sections there were areas where the whip head with trimmed whip lines wasn't hitting even with the faster speed setting. But as soon as I used the whip head without trimmed whip lines it was indeed hitting everything even in the turns. I could also actually see a straighter "centering" of the whip head with the longer lines whereas with the short lines the whip head was often very off center of center.

    My take home here is that I'll probably use both whip heads when cleaning the chimney in the future; the trimmed whip head will get 90% of the toughest stuff and the untrimmed whip head will get the 10% or so of stuff the trimmed whip head was missing. I can see a bit better now what LLigetfa was saying with the ends of the whip lines definitely demonstrating more aggressiveness than the sides of the whip lines but all of our soot so far was soft and dry and dusty and didn't really require significant force to come off our chimney.

    Anyway, I just wanted to report back some basic findings from my first full chimney cleaning. I really loved using the sooteater tool. I think next time I'll start with untrimmed whip head and inspect again from the bottom and the top. I might find that the untrimmed whip head wasn't aggressive enough alone. If that is the case I'll make sure to report the results here. Thanks for all the advice and if anyone has any thought on this method of mine, please feel free to share them. Thanks Again!
  7. mecreature

    mecreature Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    indiana
    thanks for the update.

    I will keep one head untrimmed and try the same thing next time.

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