First sweep with the Sooteater, after first year with stove - can I get some input?

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Amin1992

Feeling the Heat
Oct 9, 2019
316
PA, USA
Hey everyone, thanks for your ever-constant help here. So last year was our first year with our wood stove. We only burned about 1.6 cords, but it being my first year, I made a lot of mistakes dampening down too early and burning somewhat wet wood at times.

Anyway, got up there on the roof to sweep with the Soot Eater and encountered just a few problems. I was expecting the brush to fit tightly but it would just fall through if I let go - I think because I have an ovalized 6" chimney. Despite that, it seems like it cleaned it, but I'm not sure how clean I should be looking to get. It is by no means shiny and sparkly like it was when new. However, it seems most of the "ash" sticking to the sides is gone now.

At the bottom, a ton of black crystally soot came down. I collected it (stove was empty beforehand) and it added up to just under 4 cups.

Does this seem normal? Did I do an okay job?

My other concern, which I asked about on here last year, was the thick stage 3 creosote on the chimney cap - the final inch or so is uninsulated since it sticks out above the main chimney. I tried my best to avoid a metal brush but brass brushes and such just didnt work. I resorted to a sharpened drywall knife to scrape away large chunks of creosote down the chimney. I dont think there's anyway to avoid this buildup but am I okay to scrape this yearly with a metal tool? Don't want to damage the liner. Maybe a spray out there that acts quickly to help break it up?

Thanks all. Pics attached.

First Sweep 1.gif First Sweep 2.gif First Sweep 3.jpg
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,154
central pa
Hey everyone, thanks for your ever-constant help here. So last year was our first year with our wood stove. We only burned about 1.6 cords, but it being my first year, I made a lot of mistakes dampening down too early and burning somewhat wet wood at times.

Anyway, got up there on the roof to sweep with the Soot Eater and encountered just a few problems. I was expecting the brush to fit tightly but it would just fall through if I let go - I think because I have an ovalized 6" chimney. Despite that, it seems like it cleaned it, but I'm not sure how clean I should be looking to get. It is by no means shiny and sparkly like it was when new. However, it seems most of the "ash" sticking to the sides is gone now.

At the bottom, a ton of black crystally soot came down. I collected it (stove was empty beforehand) and it added up to just under 4 cups.

Does this seem normal? Did I do an okay job?

My other concern, which I asked about on here last year, was the thick stage 3 creosote on the chimney cap - the final inch or so is uninsulated since it sticks out above the main chimney. I tried my best to avoid a metal brush but brass brushes and such just didnt work. I resorted to a sharpened drywall knife to scrape away large chunks of creosote down the chimney. I dont think there's anyway to avoid this buildup but am I okay to scrape this yearly with a metal tool? Don't want to damage the liner. Maybe a spray out there that acts quickly to help break it up?

Thanks all. Pics attached.

View attachment 282125 View attachment 282126 View attachment 282127
Looks good to me. And yes scraping is perfectly fine. If you want to be on the safe side use a stainless scraper
 

Amin1992

Feeling the Heat
Oct 9, 2019
316
PA, USA
Looks good to me. And yes scraping is perfectly fine. If you want to be on the safe side use a stainless scraper

Hi again Bholler. Hearing that from you puts my mind at ease. Thanks! So when you say a stainless scraper, you mean anything made of stainless steel? The drywall knife i used was stainless.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,154
central pa
Hi again Bholler. Hearing that from you puts my mind at ease. Thanks! So when you say a stainless scraper, you mean anything made of stainless steel? The drywall knife i used was stainless.
Yes you liner is made from heavy enough material that you won't physically damage it. But there is a slight concern with corrosion being caused by using non stainless on it. I don't know how much of a concern it is but I use stainless just to be safe.
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,578
Southeast CT
You may find that as you continue learning your stove and your wood supply get drier and drier, you may not have the stage 3 stuff. Or at least a lot less of it. I have the same type of heavy wall liner and mine looks like yours after sweeping. It never gets back to looking as clean as before using it when new. Nor does it need to be.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,618
South Puget Sound, WA
A friend had some stage 3 creosote at the top 6-8" of his flue tile where it clears the crown. He said the rest cleaned up nicely with the sooteater, but that top had about 1/8" of glaze where it is exposed to the cold. After scraping for a bit, he got the idea to try his heat gun on it and was amazed that it softened right up and was easy to scrape clean at that point. This is not practical for a lot of glaze, but it may be handy for getting it off the chimney cap.
 

Amin1992

Feeling the Heat
Oct 9, 2019
316
PA, USA
Bikedennis I'm also curious about a wire brush. That would help me a lot.

Ctwoodtick, thanks for the info and reassurance!

Begreen that is a great idea! I'll try that next year. Thank you all
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,154
central pa
question...Is it OK and safe to use a steel wire brush. I've using one and have worried a little about damaging my chimney.
Generally using a carbon steel brush isn't advised. I don't know how much risk there really is but I don't do it
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,679
WI, Leroy
depending on what type and size of stainlees brush you want/need, a welding supply store will have a bunch as we use stainless brushes to clean up alum. before and after welding it. Anything else contaminates the weld. 4 cups of soot sounds about avg.
 

Amin1992

Feeling the Heat
Oct 9, 2019
316
PA, USA
Thanks for the input and that's a great idea, I'll look into that for next year