Apparently one day my dad came home to see me lounging in the open, unscreened second floor window. I greeted him cheerily enough, but he ran upstairs, asked me kindly to step down from the window, and then had a long father and son chat about how important it was I not do that again.
To this day, when I even think of stepping on a chair, I get the shivers just imagining another father and son chat.
Actually, I don't know why I don't like heights, I don't think I'm alone in this unintuitively primal fear. In any case, the notion of having to climb to the peak of the cabin to do the stovepipe cleaning was one I didn't relish.
That's why last fall I purchased the SootEater. This is a rotary brush that you attach to a drill and push UP your chimney from below, running the drill while you go to ensure the whips on the brush knock off the bad stuff.
As luck would have it, I ended up getting a new flashing put on the chimney to bring it into WETT compliance (even though I haven't pulled the trigger to get the actual WETT certification yet), and had the fellows run the brush up and down while they were finishing up their work. This got me off the hook last year, but now it was crunch time.
So, last week I got together the SootEater and laid out some cloths and tried to snake the whip end through the woodstove and into the chimney.
No dice! The whip end has a large plastic ball that wouldn't fit through the holes between the stove and the stovepipe. Sigh.
I then came up with the notion of installing a T behind the stove to allow me to use the SootEater directly in the stovepipe.
I called Dan Vanlenthe, my chimney guy who had arranged the new flashing for me, and ran it by him. After some back and forth with pictures, texts and emails, we finished up with him telling me to purchase the T myself and then get back to him.
I'm feeling a bit guilty, but after purchasing the T and examining the scope of the project, I decided that it was within the realm of my own abilities, especially aided by Grandpa and Donna. With that notion in my head, I asked Grandpa to come by to assist, and informed Donna of my plans. After a bracing cup of tea, I began clearing off the stove, and emptying the warming closet. Just before I could finish, Donna suggested it was time to get out of my pyjamas and into work clothes.
|Before picture for reference.|
|I'll take the high part, you take the low part.|
|Right to the porch with you!|
|The bottom of the reservoir. A bit funky!|
|And the hidden crimes on top of the stove.|
|I hate taking steel wool to my stainless, but hopefully it won't show much.|
|Nice, got everything covered up proper like!|
|Practicing the fit.|
Grandpa arrived soon after, and we both agreed that he needn't lift the pipe from the ladder, it was probably safer and easier for him to do so from off the top of the stove. We prepared ourselves, undid the remaining screws, and he lifted.
I set in place the T, and immediately realized that with the original pipe I must have shaped the bottom coupling slightly to account for the angle at which it had to come off of the back of the stove.
|What? This isn't perfectly flat?|
|I'll just leave this here for a moment.|
Grandpa lifted again, and I fussed a bit but got the T in place. I quickly added the twenty-four inch section, and we reconnected, with a minimum of ash falling down.
|Make sure the T is facing the door.|
|And add the upper portion.|
I thanked Grandpa for his help, and he headed outside to continue splitting winter wood for our sauna. Myself, on the other hand, had a glass of water and finished my tea, and screwed together the new pieces.
|Just have to lean into it!|
|Nice and shiny inside!|
|And capped and in place. Perfecto!|