I saw it on my home page weather icons. The cloud with the tiny white crystals coming out of it. I believe it said the low would be 27F that day. Boots is not enough.
Oddly, yesterday I got up on the roof and cleaned out the flue. I don’t believe my flue ever gets that gross. My new scientific method is to use a spray bottle with 1/3 thick dish soap and water, 1/3 Simple Green, and 1/3 isopropyl alcohol to dissolve the gooey smoke residues. Feeling particularly enthusiastic yesterday I used a second spray bottle with the same mix, even though the first bottle was enough to drip down the flue and into the fire box.
I never understood the flue brush. It’s very stiff, and my flue is not straight. There are two 45 degree sections and two 30 degree sections in my flue. The brush wouldn’t make it past the first bend, even if I did use it.
What I use instead is a pair of giant tennis balls that you get from the pet store. One of the giant tennis balls is the biggest kind, and it almost fills the flue. The other one is small enough to make it around the four bends. I just drilled holes at opposite ends of each tennis ball and ran a strong polyester cord through them. The furry tennis balls rubs the sides of the flue after they are coated with the dish soap, Simple Green, and isopropyl alcohol. If you do it right, they come out all black and frothy looking.
Of course, the big ball only gets down to the first or second bend, but the smaller one goes all the way down into the fire box and bounces around down there. You just jerk the cord a lot at successive increments so the balls bang against the pipe and either knock the soot loose so it falls into the firebox, or if there’s a lot of soap in there, they rub the pipe in a haphazard dishwashing manner to shine the pipe and remove the dissolved soapy soot.
Afterward, when you let go of your balls, they roll down the roof and leave black soapy tracks on the shingles. I threw my balls off the roof and they left black tracks on the lawn, which may depart with the coming rain.
Obviously I want to put my balls back in the box, but they are soapy and sooty. The thing to do then is rinse off your balls and let them hang outside to dry. It’s hard to say if they will dry much with the coming rain but I left my balls hanging under the porch so they might be OK. All I know is when I found my balls yesterday they were dry, so I hope to get them dry again before I put my balls away for another year.
I know, it’s hilarious. And the flue is clean enough for another season of burning, in accordance with the directives from the stove nazis. More on that later.