Total Pageviews

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dreaded time of the year - by Bruce

The task that I put off every year is cleaning the wood stove and chimney. The above photo shows me cleaning the creosote that came down the chimney off of the top of the wood stove. I managed to vacuum up about 2+ gallons of powdered creosote. Not bad when you consider we burn about 9-11 cords of wood a winter which can last up to 7-8 months.
Here is a photo of the ladder on th side of the house. From the ground the ladder extends up about 34' at what I consider a steep angle. Our house is very small so the angle is more steep than if we had a larger house. 24' wide and 24' almost straight up. When I get to the top of the ladder I need to turn around, face out away from the house, and reach out to the chimney for support to be able to run the brush down the chimney. This photo shows the cap already removed and time to run the wire brush down that long chimney with 4' extensions, one at a time. When I finally get the brush back to the top the connected sections are flopping around - all 24' of them. That is a lot of fun trying to stay on that ladder with that long section of rods winging in every direction.
Here I am with the stainless steel cap using a wire brush to scale the creosote out of the cap. Did I mention coming down a nearly vertical ladder with one hand and the other holding an awkward wind cap? If I failed to mention that it can be tricky and darn scary.
Here I am at the top of the ladder leaning out to get the chimney cleaned. Oh yes I dropped the 4' sections of rods the first time up. Had to come back down to get them. Over all it takes about 4-5 trips up and down that ladder. I always pick a nice calm day to do this.
Here I am going up again on one of those several trips. Almost done at this point and just need to reinstall the cap on the chimney.

This is one job that is dirty, scary, and requires calm nerves. Glad to get it done and behind me. No more chimney cleaning until next year. I never know when I will tackle this task as it depends mostly on weather. It just is not healthy to be standing on a ladder 34+ feet in the air with your heels on a top rung and get hit with a gust of wind. That is a long step right out here into open space. I used to pray before I went up that ladder but now just pray all the time I'm up there. One nasty job I'm glad to cross off my list.


Rob said...

Hey Bruce,
You should wear a harness attached to a safety rope. Throw it over the other side of the roof and have Carol hold on to it. If you fall, you will go down and she will go up ;^)

Glad your done for another year!

Rob Burkart

Bruce said...

Ha, ha, ha.... It would be just our luck that she would go half way up and I'd go half way down and we would be suspended on the roof until one of us cut the rope.... Arggggg..