Sunday, 16 September 2012

It could have been worse...

About 7 weeks ago I became aware of a terrible smell in my office, which back on to the chimney. Basically it started to small horribly of creosote and I couldn't work in there (for 2 days as it ended up). So we let the fire go out (not fun when it's winter and less than 10 degrees during the day and in the 0 territory at night) and then got a chimney sweep out to do the chimney, thinking maybe it was blocked / dirty.

Only to find that the sweep doesn't actually sweep chimneys! "You'll have to do it yourself" he says. WTF?! Talk about false advertising - even after I clearly explained the situation and what I wanted on the phone. My favourite bit was when he said that he couldn't clean a real chimney because it was square and the brushes were round. Come on - has anyone actually ever fallen for that line?

Anyway, I've just about let it go, as you can see :-)

Next step was to get up on the roof to see if we could see anything obvious down the chimney - but we couldn't. So it was time for more drastic measures - and Jerry and friend pulled the fireplace out of the wall. This is what we found.
It seems the fireplace hadn't been properly set in the space, and with no flue the ash, debris and rain has been falling behind for 20+ years and had completely rusted the outer skin of the fireplace. We suspect some of this material caught fire and that caused the smell and us finding the problem. Phew! It really could have been much worse.

So the downside is that there's no fire. The very bright side is that I now had the excuse to do what I've always wanted to do - take the fireplace out, remove the wall and replace it with a freestanding stove with a cooktop! Yipeeeee  (although obviously very bad for the bank account!).

Lily tried hard to make the best of it in the few weeks before all this happened "think warm thoughts, think warm thoughts, there IS a fire"

Fortunately wall and chimney removal went well thanks to lots of hard work from Jerry and Dave. Although it was very, VERY dusty.
The roof has been patched, and the gaps filled in with new pine boards, that rather stand out, will should weather down and blend in over the next year or so.

Now to decide on a hearth covering. We've pretty much settled on the Lopi Endeavour as the new fireplace, although it won't be installed and ready to use until next winter. We're hoping for sales in the next few months to take a bit off the price tag!

Even better, Jerry managed to sell the old fireplace on ebay, which just about paid for the skip hire for the bricks.

1 comment:

Vivienne said...

You're right - it could have been worse. You must be glad that it was a relatively straight-forward fix! The new work looks pretty good to me. I'm doing a small kitchen reno at the moment and I'll blog when it's done (hopefully in a couple of days).

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