Drilling the Pipe at Our Little House

A couple of months ago I wrote that one of our upcoming projects was to clean the pipe for our woodburning stove.

When we sold our house in Kansas City, we found we had a flue fire at some point and didn’t even know it. The fire was still costly, as we had to pay the deductible to have our fireplace completely replaced.

The project kept getting put off this year as it really hasn’t been that cold and Dale’s hours at work have prevented us from doing much around the house.

The arrival of cold weather finally forced to use our new Soot Eater Rotary Chimney Cleaning System last weekend when Dale had some time off.

This is one of those cleaning systems that attaches to a drill, making it easier to clean the stovepipe from the bottom up.

The system has some plastic strings that remind me of a weed eater. They come for a variety of flue sizes, ours being on the smaller end, and Dale didn’t want to waste them so he cut them down to fit our pipe.

He had a little problem with getting the strings back into the holder, but after that, it was smooth sailing. Dale really liked this product. The system also came with attachments that allow you to start short and take the cleaning all the way to the top. He used all of them, but they did get him to the top of the stovepipe.

We got a lot of creosote falling down into the stove, but it really wasn’t a very messy or dusty job.

Our wood is seasoned properly this year and we will also burn a couple of those cleaning logs throughout the winter.

After having a fire we didn’t know about, I want to be as careful as we can with Our Little House.

Do you use a woodburning fireplace or stove and if so, how often and how do you clean it?

You may also like...

16 Responses

  1. Amy says:

    We have had wood heat since we moved into our little cabin. As of next week though I’m changing that. We are having propane heat installed because due to my hubbys head injury he can’t be trusted to tend the fire. Thusday night/Friday morning was the last straw. I wasn’t feeling well so I had gone to sleep early and when he was ready for bed he filled up the stove with wood and left it open well about 1AM I woke up to a glowing stove and and a house so hot I thought it would explode! I managed to shut the stove down and opened the windows and the door. It was scary took it about 2hours to cool off in the house with everything open…Hubby slept right through everything eventhough I was loud and had every light on. Scary scary so we are going to Propane for safteys sake! Otherwise I’m rather nutty about cleaning my pipe I do it monthly whether it needs it or not.

    • Kerri says:

      OMG, Amy, I’m glad everything is alright! Propane is expensive, but I can see why you want to turn to something safer. Be careful!

      • Amy says:

        Rethinking propane at the moment… Decided to give a week of trying a different approach. I’m shutting everything down when I go to bed. I’m going to try and bank the coals and shut the stove down and then rekindle the fire each morning. This place is really well insulated and tight (almost too tight)so it should hold in some of the heat right?

        • Kerri says:

          Our Little House holds the heat really well, Amy. I had to shut ours down this afternoon. I will be able to rekindle when I go home this evening. Good luck with trying that!

  2. Olivia says:

    We clean ours yearly – although now we have it done by a professional chimney sweep as our roof pitch is very steep and I don’t want DH up there. Because we just use a cookstove now and I burn it hot several times a day, we are fortunate in having very little creosote. Last year we had barely any ash at all.

    Back in the day when we had 3 woodstoves (pre all the insulation, retrofitting, renovations, etc.) we had a couple of flue fires. Terrifying.

    We also use only seasoned wood.

    • Kerri says:

      Sounds like you have the right plan with the woodstove, Olivia. Using seasoned wood is just as important at the yearly maintenance.

  3. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri,

    What a great tool! We too clean all our stove pipes yearly but we have to do it between two people. My husband gets up on the roof and drops a weighted string attached to a wire brush the size of our flue. We then have to pull it back and forth between us till the flue is clean. I’d love to find something like you have but I fear that is pretty hard in Greece for the moment…

    You are very right to keep your flue clean, I have heard horrible stories about flue fires, we’re deadly afraid of them.

    • Kerri says:

      Many companies will ship overseas, Vida. You should check it out and see if you can find a company that sells these that will. Or, perhaps, there is a company in Greece or throughout Europe that sells something similar.

  4. Glad to know there’s a tool like that out there for future reference. Did Dale clean out the pipe so Santa has a way to get into your house?

  5. Alexandra says:

    Thanks for sharing this information! We got a wood stove last year and use it a lot. We had the chimney sweep who installed it check it out after a year. He said we were working it right, ie. heating it hot enough, and that we only need to have it swept every two years. A wood stove is so much more effective than a fireplace. No comparison, really. We have a Jotul and it works really well. Also, there is a cozy factor. A wood stove really makes the room cozier.

  6. NoPotCooking says:

    We have a fireplace in our living room. We had it cleaned after we moved in. Last year we had to have part of the chimney rebuilt since bricks were falling off. We don’t use our fireplace very much. I am pretty sure we actually lose more heat with it than we gain since it is just a traditional style fireplace and doesn’t even have any doors on it. I do like the way a fire looks and smells on cold winter weekends though.

    • Kerri says:

      I’ve always heard that a traditional fireplace is very ineffective at helping heat a home. However, our fireplace in the house in the city was located in our downstairs family room and I could certainly tell a difference on cold winter evenings when we had the fire going. Also, the heat rose through the entryway and into the rest of the house. I also love the feel and look of a fire on a cold winter night!