First attempt sweeping failed…

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Sep 2, 2020
122
UP, Michigan, USA
I’ve never swept a flue before and need to sweep mine after its first season with the new stove.

I bought a SootEater with extension rods to do the job. The flue has a couple of 45 degree fittings forming a dog-leg near the ceiling but this will be removed for cleaning so its a straight shot.

I was worried about soot dust getting in the house so I devised a collection system to keep it contained. I started with a plastic 5 gallon bucket and lid, an 8 in flue adapter and a vacuum hose fitting. Then I cut holes in the lid and put it all together.
E4E52657-AF6C-4BC5-B5A5-8FAF131ABDC4.jpeg


The idea is to make a tube that goes from the chimney connection at the ceiling to the flue adapter on the bucket to catch all the big stuff. The bucket sits on the stove a few feet below the ceiling so the tube is about 4 feet long. I made the 8 inch diameter tube out of 3 mil plastic sheeting with a reinforced slit near the top for the soot eater to pass through. I used bungee cord to cinch the plastic tube to the chimney adapter and the bucket so falling stuff can’t get out except a little through the slit that the rods pass through.
To keep soot dust from escaping through the slit, I hooked up a vacuum hose to the smaller adapter to maintain negative pressure. The hose connects to a shop vac outside.

I was rather proud of myself. Until I switched on the vacuum.

The walls of the plastic tube collapsed, was ripped off of the ceiling adapter then the entire tube was sucked into the bucket. All before I could so much as blink.

So, what do ya think?
Do I need the vacuum and need to find another way? Or, is the vacuum not needed and I should try again without it?
 
Last edited:

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,920
Long Island NY
I think gravity will do job as well as is needed - i.e. no vacuum needed.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,840
Iowa
Pardon me for smiling at your effort. I am picturing the events described.
I like a telescopic pipe that I slide up off the stove enough to slide a old sheet over the entire stove. Then continue sliding the pipe up far enough to slide one section of sooteater/with cleaning head up into the pipe. The lower end of the sooteater rod has already been pushed through the side of a plastic garbage bag. Small bag. Have a helper pull the bag up onto the pipe and hold it snugly around the pipe (or tape it onto the pipe if alone). Clean away. Yes you will get some leakage at the hole in the trash bag. Normally very little if the hole is just large enough to let the rods pass. The leakage normally lands on the sheet which is folded up when finished and taken outside. Everything gets shop vac'd when finished. Is this method perfect? No. Does it work? Yes. For me. Worth some thought. Good luck.
 
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Sep 2, 2020
122
UP, Michigan, USA

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,730
Colorado
I even smiled a bit---so sorry--but imagined the scene...I am going to have that problem some day too but I will hire someone to take care of sweeping my piping...lol lol lol So sorry.. tee hee...clancey
 
You have to learn somewhere ...
 

xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,349
Lackawaxen PA
Sounds like you almost got it. Give it a try with less vacuum. Anyway you do it has issues. I readjust the procedure every year. I do a top down brush, straight shot. I remove the top section of pipe and have a ladder on the roof. It's dangerous but I have everything tied off.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,304
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Just checking to be sure, is there any reason you don't just shove the dang thing through the stove loading door and all the way to the cap? I do both of my stoves this way. Not every stove allows it though.
 
Sep 2, 2020
122
UP, Michigan, USA
Sounds like you almost got it. Give it a try with less vacuum.
I’ll be trying that today.

Just checking to be sure, is there any reason you don't just shove the dang thing through the stove loading door and all the way to the cap? I do both of my stoves this way. Not every stove allows it though.

I don’t think I can. It looks like there are baffles in the way.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,304
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I’ll be trying that today.



I don’t think I can. It looks like there are baffles in the way.

Those things come right out. Some stoves it’s very easy, some not so easy. When you remove the baffle you can clean the entire area up above the baffle which is your “heat exchanger” and lots of debris is up there to vacuum out.
 

MongoMongoson

Member
Feb 6, 2021
211
Wisconsin
I don’t think I can. It looks like there are baffles in the way.
You can take that baffle right out. Your T6 has the same firebox as my Summit. That's how I clean the chimney now. I pull the baffle, run the Soot Eater up the entire stack, and put the baffle back when I'm done. I use painter's tape to stick a little bit of polyethylene sheeting to cover the door opening while I am cleaning. I haven't had problems with ashes/soot in the house.

This process lets you clean the top of, and inspect your baffle while you are cleaning the chimney.

ONE THING to keep in mind, though:
The baffle gasket on the Pacific Energy Summit/T6 is made from butterfly wings or something equally fragile. You should have a replacement gasket in hand before you start this procedure. I bought some aftermarket gaskets that are more robust than the PE OEM gaskets.

ANOTHER THING that I just thought of:
Make sure you cover the vertical secondary air tube at the back of the stove before you start sweeping, or you'll likely dump a bunch of junk into that tube.
 

MongoMongoson

Member
Feb 6, 2021
211
Wisconsin
I have attached a couple of pics.

The first time I cleaned my Summit through the firebox, I covered the secondary air tube and gasket with a cover that I made. It worked great, until the Soot Eater caught the gasket underneath the cover and tore it. The pics are of an intact baffle gasket, and what it looked like after I wrecked it. They are fragile, and it is possible to ruin one without going to the extreme like I did. So, that's why I recommend getting a replacement before you pull your baffle.

Now I pull the baffle, remove the gasket, cover the tube, and proceed with cleaning.

20210227190108_IMG_3122.JPG

20210227161505_IMG_3075.JPG
 
Sep 2, 2020
122
UP, Michigan, USA
Fan-freakin-tactic! I love this place.

Thanks all.
 

MongoMongoson

Member
Feb 6, 2021
211
Wisconsin
Fan-freakin-tactic! I love this place.

Thanks all.
I just thought of another thing.

There is a pin at the back of the firebox. Pulling that pin lets you pull the baffle out. After installing the baffle, it can sometimes be difficult to get the pin fully inserted again. I have read of other people having trouble with this. Like, you can get it through the first hole but can't get it through the second hole.

Spinning the pin while I am inserting it seems to do the trick for me.
 
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tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
889
Northwest Lower Michigan
At my old house, sweeping from above was next to impossible. So I’d just slide the stove aside and clean from below. I tried the bag thing and it was too cumbersome. So I used to just sweep it and let it fall onto the tile hearth pad. That also helped me know how much more brushing I needed to do in a particular area. There wasn’t that much dust, it was mostly stuff that looked like black Special K flakes. I’d have to clean it like every 2 weeks. What dust there was, just fell in a pile. I also had an old worn out house with industrial type carpet. If I had nice beige carpet or whatever, I’d lay down a large drop cloth. And of course I’d use a shop vac with drywall filter, or ash vac. And take off my socks before walking off the plastic.
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,730
Colorado
I wish somebody would think of a better way to clean out fireplaces like sort of one of those vacuum cleaning robots that travels around the house--why not have a robot come down the fireplace wall or up the wall scraping the walls and vacuuming at the same time..You people need to work on this..clancey