• Up in smoke...

    Shattered dreams.

    Over the last weeks, I have been building a chimney so that I can heat my room, dry it out (it has a bad damp problem) and prepare for winter.

    The addition of being able to cook indoors was to be a bonus.

    I've built a chimney, the first one that I have ever built.

    I've installed ductwork across the hallway to the existing (remaining) chimney.

    Years of accumulated soot and crap was cleared from the chimney and the chimney was swept.

    A smoke test was carried out and I was pleased to see that the chimney was clear of obstructions.

    I have actually worn my fingers to the bone....well, not to the bone but the ends of my fingers have been rubbed raw as I added mortar to small cracks, smoothed joints and sealed holes

    Last night I finished the chimney connection to the duct work, I sealed up gaps in my room and I sat down to work out how to connect the Jotul stove to the hole that was meant for my first stove.

    This morning, after a lie in, thinking about different methods of connection I set about getting the stove connected to the chimney.

    Finally, I managed to get it connected and lit a small fire to look for smoke as it came out of the chimney.

    In the chimney that I had built, a couple of places, on the top of the chimney had leaks, whisps of smoke rolling down the side of the chimney, these I've sealed up with a mixture of sand, clay and cement.

    I saw smoke coming out of the hole at the bottom of the main house chimney, a brick and a dab of cement fixed that.

    All good so far.

    Then I went outside to have a look.... no smoke yet, I needed to get some more damp hay to generate a bit of smoke.

    Walking back into the house and it was full of smoke! I'd seen something like this before  when I had walked into a room full of smoke, just as the sofa exploded into flames......

    The dogs were outside so I have no worries about loss of life, except maybe the mice that were making their nests - and the damned mosquitoes, but, mosquitoes be buggered!

    I cautiously walked down the hallway towards the main chimney.

    I could see smoke was coming out of one of the side rooms. There was an old masonry stove in there, but the connection to that had been blocked up when we were exploring and repairing the chimney.

    Except it hadn't.

    As with a lot of jobs, they have been unfinished, done poorly, rushed or not done  because other people know better  or beer was more important.

    So, smoke is rolling out of the old stove and the hole in the wall to the adjoining room.

    I've blocked up the major gaps (and all the obvious holes) but more whisps of smoke are appearing.

    I feel rather like the little boy and the dam.

    But the final straw has been the smoke pouring out of the back of the old masonry chimney. They were built with a gap between their chimneys and the wall.

    There is no way that I can deal with that.

    All this because a couple of bricks weren't put over a hole. A ten, maybe fifteen minute job.

    So now, I am faced with having to dismantle the connection between the old masonry stove and the main house chimney from the outside. Sure, it was going to have to come down at some stage, but i was looking at doing it later inthe year. A couple of days work at least.  And, of course, when I had other things planned.

    What about all the smoke?

    Well, it has cleared, the place is a draughty old thing...

    I still have the stove going, and it's burning well, (smoke is a combination of steam and unburnt fuels - once combustion gets to an optimal level then a fire should be smokeless - it is)

    Now that the chimney has heated up, there should be a good enough updraught to keep any future smoke from escaping, although that doesn't mean I don't have to deal with the issue, it's still a high priorty.

    However, today I am just going to keep the stove stoked up, check the room from time to time and formulate my plans for world domination erm, I mean for sorting \out the main house chimney.

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