Cleaning the Woodstove From the Bottom Up – A SootEater Review?

With the new T added to the stovepipe, and drop cloths still in place, it made sense to jump right in and clean out the stovepipe.

Laying out the SootEater and hooking up the first section.

I found a thick plastic shopping bag and fit it over the side junction of the T connector. I strapped that with a couple of rubber bands and cut a small hole in the bottom of it to accommodate the SootEater.

Everything is in position!

With one rod in the chimney, I hooked up the drill, Donna held the vacuum nearby and we both switched on.  I slowly inserted the rod fully through the bag, and up the chimney.

Almost got the first rod in.

The first rod didn’t go too badly.  Not really any ash came out of the bag, and the rod went up the stovepipe easily.  I was pumped!

A second rod connected, and still going strong.  Why are those gloves just laying there?

Each rod after that seemed to dislodge more and more fine black powder.  The vacuum took care of by far most of it, but my hands did turn black by the time I felt I hit the cap.  Kenny rushed outside to take some pictures and confirm that I was at the end.  Luckily it happened when it did, as I had hooked up the last of my eight rods!

You can just make out the whips in this zoom picture.

I kept the drill running and I brought the SootEater back down, removing the rods one at a time, and carrying them directly outside and depositing them on the driveway.

Yuck, a bit dirty.  Straight outside with you!

When I got down to the final rod, I folded everything over and pushed it down into the back of the stove while running it, to help dislodge anything that may have been back there.

At last, I brought it up, and took off the plastic bag, wrapping it around the whip head of the SootEater and taking it too out to the driveway.

Donna vacuumed out the dust that had settled on the lip of the T.  I examined the length of stovepipe that I had removed to install the T and measured the amount of ash inside it.  The peak thickness was about 5mm – it was grey and easily removed.  Not sure if this was a tremendous danger or not?  Any chimney sweeps who can give me guidance?

Lots of dust settled in the lip of the T.
Maybe 5mm or a quarter inch of ash inside – should I be worried?

Just spinning it with my hands, I ran the SootEater up and down the length of this pipe and cleaned it back to bare metal quite easily.  I felt reasonably sure it had done a good job inside my cabin.  For interests sake though, I stuck the camera into the pipe and tried to take a couple of photos.

I then wiped down the rods and put them away.  I scrubbed my hands in a tub on the porch, and then installed the cover on the end of the T.

Scrubbing up, not for the last time today.

A quick cleanup, and we’re ready for the next burning season – and I didn’t have to go up on the roof!

Before picture.
After picture.
Another view just inside the T.
Nice and tight cap installed.

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