Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chimney soot power wash

There are 7 fireplaces in the house, 6 chimneys, and 17 'portals' distributed among those chimneys. By 'portals', I mean openings on the chimneys, out of which smoke would presumably be expected to come. But some of those portals are 'architectural', i.e. for 'show' only, and 2 minor ones are for attic ventilation only. The architectural ones are generally closed up with sheet metal. This was done at some unknown time in the past, perhaps to keep out birds or rodents. Some of these painted sheet metal covers have long since fallen out, but the vertical stack itself is screened with wire mesh. One of these sheetmetal covers developed a tiny hole some years back, a year or two before our tenure began, and a colony of bees took up residence inside the chimney space. Thought I'd blogged that, but I can't seem to find it. I'll have to post some photos of that adventure later. It was very good honey!

The current project is:

to try and remove these soot stains that have been here for many years. They don't add to the charm of these rustic and majestic sculptures:

They are on the leeward side of the great room and kitchen chimney. The two central portals are architectural. The windward side shows the 'original' appearance:

Setting up the job was a project in itself:

Most projects here involve several foot cruises around to various tool rooms and lumber piles. Helps to develop a perspective on the work:

Once everything is set up and safety checked, work can begin: an initial blast with the power washer, followed by a spritz bath of dilute muratic acid.

I let the acid sit for a while and then blast away again.

When everything is put away and the chimney is dry, the reviews are mixed. There is certainly an improvement, and I'm glad to have made the effort. I'm satisfied, but I wish it could have been a more dramatic difference. At least it's not such an eyesore anymore.

Other projects beckon...


Jeannette said...

Climbing up for honey was a sweeter job, but the effort you have put into this has made a good improvement. The house just has to wear some of her age and be graceful about it...

John said...

And I thought pressure washing my patio was a pain!

abby jenkins said...

wow, monumental effort!