Chimney sweep sets - Soot Eater etc?

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

FlyFish'n

New Member
Oct 23, 2021
62
OH
All,

I've been searching for info on chimney sweep equipment and the majority of what I see comes back to people here discussing the Soot Eater system.

I've read several concerns with these that usually come back to the length of the brush "strings" in that they should be nearly fully extended in order to be effective, but getting the length trimmed "right" to cover a while chimney system is next to impossible due to bends and, in some cases, people have non-circular flues (ovals seem to also be common).

What I want to do is cover 6", 7", and 8" round flues. I intend to clean from the top down = get on the roof, pull the rain cap, etc. For any bends my intent would be to set up the piping with the intent of disconnecting for cleaning so that should be easy, should we get that far. Otherwise, a straight vertical chimney run is the main concern.

My initial thought was a set of brushes like what Rutland makes - they have poly and steel wire brushes.

A lot of the discussions surrounding chimney sweeping are from people that won't get on their roofs, so they are all coming from the perspective of cleaning from the bottom up.

Is there anyone here that can offer any input from cleaning from the top down and what results they have had with what types of brushes? Thinking in terms of the worst case scenarios with soot coatings and gunk adhered strongly to the flue pipes - what is the best bet for getting through the hard stuff?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,149
South Puget Sound, WA
Is this for commercial usage or for annual cleaning in a personal residence?
 

FlyFish'n

New Member
Oct 23, 2021
62
OH
Non-commercial. Primary residence and seasonal, both stoves and fireplaces. I'm not out to do it as a service, I just want to have the best leg up on keeping our properties safe - and thats where I question the hard gunk that can adhere strong to the flues. I can't get to our seasonal place right now to check it, but with any luck we'll be able to get there next year. I'd rather have something that is known to work well than take a chance with something that may be more on the gimmick'y side. That is why I posted here - I'm hoping people that have experience can drill through the muck of the internet and actually offer pertinent comments/experience.

If someone has commercial experience then I would imagine they would have run in to some hard scenarios. Regardless of commercial vs residential - the gunk on a flue pipe doesn't care. What works to get it off?

I would like to have something that will last - IE if a brush is going to wear out after 3 scrubs then I'd rather have something higher quality, that or a couple spare brushes.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,149
South Puget Sound, WA
The best safety insurance is to only burn fully seasoned wood. The second is a flue thermometer so that you know the temperature of the flue gases. If the chimney has glazed creosote buildup, something is wrong. Either the wood is not well seasoned or the flue gases are too cool.

Many people here use a sooteater, myself included. Used properly it does a good job. A rotary brush is better for getting at tough stuff.

Have you checked out the Gear forum here? There are several threads there on brush equipment. Bholler is a professional sweep and has provided insight in to the tools he uses as well as the sooteater for home use.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FlyFish'n

FlyFish'n

New Member
Oct 23, 2021
62
OH
The second is a flue thermometer so that you know the temperature of the flue gases.
Is there such a thing as a wired remote flue thermometer?

I did a quick search and usually what comes up are meat thermometers for BBQ'ing. I have a couple of those. Thinking of the scenario here - I don't want a "wireless" sensor that uses batteries, and I don't want one of the probe style thermometers. I'd like to attach a probe to the top of the flue by the rain cap with a wire to a unit inside that, preferably, could be powered with a wall wart style plug (or DC - a lot of the wall wart powered devices are 12-15v DC = easy to power on back up power).

As to the brushes - sounds like the rotary style like the Soot Eater is the way to go. That and a couple extra brush balls should work.

I do like the adapter in the link you sent. Easy fab. The only drawback to it is the threads - if trying to rotate with a drill you can only go one way.
 

jmb6420

Burning Hunk
Jun 25, 2019
126
NE Oklahoma
Is there such a thing as a wired remote flue thermometer?

I did a quick search and usually what comes up are meat thermometers for BBQ'ing. I have a couple of those. Thinking of the scenario here - I don't want a "wireless" sensor that uses batteries, and I don't want one of the probe style thermometers. I'd like to attach a probe to the top of the flue by the rain cap with a wire to a unit inside that, preferably, could be powered with a wall wart style plug (or DC - a lot of the wall wart powered devices are 12-15v DC = easy to power on back up power).

As to the brushes - sounds like the rotary style like the Soot Eater is the way to go. That and a couple extra brush balls should work.

I do like the adapter in the link you sent. Easy fab. The only drawback to it is the threads - if trying to rotate with a drill you can only go one way.
Auber instruments makes a thermometer with up to 33' cable

 
  • Like
Reactions: FlyFish'n

FlyFish'n

New Member
Oct 23, 2021
62
OH
Auber instruments makes a thermometer with up to 33' cable

Thanks!

I have a multi-meter that has a probe connection like that. I will have to experiment with it and see if I extend the length if the accuracy of the probe changes. That might do the trick. I don't need a high-temp braided steel jacket cord 100ft long, only the little bit around the probe. But if the wire length + probe are calibrated resistances then extending the wire length will change the readings.... As to length - I am not sure, but 33ft is too short the way I am thinking of running it - from the top of the chimney, down the roof, and through the back door here, for starters.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,149
South Puget Sound, WA
What is connected to the flues? If wood stoves, having a probe at eye level is more helpful. Auber makes a wall-wart powered wireless combo. I have one so that I can monitor the woodstove flue temp from my office. Love it.
 

FlyFish'n

New Member
Oct 23, 2021
62
OH
What is connected to the flues?
At the moment the location in question is a fireplace with a metal flue pipe entirely enclosed in an interior chase. The only two access points are the inside of the fireplace (exposed to direct flame) or top of the chimney. I am pretty sure the sensor cables wouldn't withstand direct flame so that leaves the top of the flue. The stove flue in my big cabin is exposed, I believe it is double wall pipe (early 80's is when it went in). There I could do a flue mounted thermometer. If we reconfigure the flue and do a stove here then I can keep the idea of adding a thermometer to the flue in the thought process. The idea would be to replace the existing flue pipe and use a connector pipe to it. I'm sure I could figure out a thermometer access in that remodel. It just isn't possible to access the current flue pipe, without opening up the wall, except for the bottom and top.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,123
NE Ohio
2 FYI's...the first one is that I leave the Sooteater strings full length...they work fine in any ID pipe that way.
The other one is that I have a wireless BBQ thermometer to monitor flue temps/etc...one set of batteries lasts a whole season, plus some. (runs 24/7)
 
  • Like
Reactions: FlyFish'n

Supersurvey

Burning Hunk
Jan 25, 2015
248
New Jersey
The directions actually say you can leave the strings full length for normal cleanings.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FlyFish'n

FlyFish'n

New Member
Oct 23, 2021
62
OH
The other one is that I have a wireless BBQ thermometer to monitor flue temps/etc...one set of batteries lasts a whole season, plus some. (runs 24/7)
What thermometer are you using?

The one I have that I am thinking of has a display at the transmitter/cooker end. I can't imagine that battery lasting very long in continuous operation.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,123
NE Ohio
What thermometer are you using?

The one I have that I am thinking of has a display at the transmitter/cooker end. I can't imagine that battery lasting very long in continuous operation.
Maverick ET732
I was shocked that they last so long...
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,149
South Puget Sound, WA
Maverick ET732
I was shocked that they last so long...
It says this tops out at 572º. How is this being used? Is the probe in the flue or held onto the surface of the stove or stovepipe?
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,123
NE Ohio
It says this tops out at 572º. How is this being used? Is the probe in the flue or held onto the surface of the stove or stovepipe?
Good question...it is used internally, BUT, the flue never gets that hot on a Kuuma furnace...I don't think I've ever seen anything over 425-450*...it normally runs in the 275-395* range in the course of burning through a load...I've seen lower too, but that usually just means the probe needs cleaned.
And the meter might only read that 572*, but the sensor/probe is good for something like 750*...at least one of them is, I'd have to look it up again...
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,149
South Puget Sound, WA
Got it. Sounds like it might work for a pure cat stove flue too, though the reading might get pegged if it is run with the bypass open for 30 minutes on startup.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,267
MA
Check out Thermoworks for thermometers, too. I have several products: Thermapens. I.R. gun, small I.R. pen, BBQ thermometer.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,441
central pa
At the moment the location in question is a fireplace with a metal flue pipe entirely enclosed in an interior chase. The only two access points are the inside of the fireplace (exposed to direct flame) or top of the chimney. I am pretty sure the sensor cables wouldn't withstand direct flame so that leaves the top of the flue. The stove flue in my big cabin is exposed, I believe it is double wall pipe (early 80's is when it went in). There I could do a flue mounted thermometer. If we reconfigure the flue and do a stove here then I can keep the idea of adding a thermometer to the flue in the thought process. The idea would be to replace the existing flue pipe and use a connector pipe to it. I'm sure I could figure out a thermometer access in that remodel. It just isn't possible to access the current flue pipe, without opening up the wall, except for the bottom and top.
There really is no point in monitoring temps in an open fireplace because you really have no control over it. Just burn dry wood and if it's designed well and has adequate air supply it will work well with little creosote buildup. For a stove you need to monitor flue temps.
 

jsmith_TCF

New Member
Mar 31, 2021
11
TN
At what height would you want to monitor flue temps? My stove sits halfway inside my fireplace. I maybe have access to 6" to 8" of the flue above the stove. It's a tight fit.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
preferably at 18" above the stove. But when that's not possible, go as far as possible.

It's not a big deal, you just have to re-calibrate the temperatures you read from others; yours will likely be a little higher than others' at the same burning circumstances. You will have to burn a bit, see a bit what happens in different burning approaches/air handling etc to get a feel. But that is normal even for when you don't have a temperature probe.