It takes ten seconds………
Seeing the steam rolling out of the roofs this morning I am reminded of how quickly, or in some cases slowly, a chimney can become dangerously blocked.
While attempting to test the leakage at one client’s home we quickly discovered that they had installed a pull- down stair for the attic and had not finished applying the drywall and trim moldings to the rather large hole in the ceiling. Sound familiar? Perhaps like many projects at your own home?
I did my duties and properly harassed the husband about the importance of finishing this project in order to stop what was surely a few hundred dollars per year from leaking right out the roof then went about my business.
Hang with me, this gets really good. Two years later the same customer was ready to upgrade to a higher efficient furnace, which we promptly installed. As always, we tested the draft on all of the appliances when we were done, and discovered that the chimney did not draft….at all. The flue gases were dumping right into the home. After ruling out the appliances out attention turned back to the chimney. We pushed a rod down from above and leaves began falling out a few at a time, then in clumps. Long story less long, by the time we were done there was a garbage bag full of sticks, rotted leaves, burnt leaves, a squirrel carcass and several misc bird components.
The best part is coming…This chimney had been rebuilt at the roof line and capped a few years prior, and nobody turned on a flashlight and looked down it. My guess is that 7 to 10 years prior a stick fell into the chimney and through some strange law of physics (or perhaps Murphy’s Law) got wedged across the interior tiles. Then came the leaves every fall. The birds and squirrel sit up there because it is warm, then when the gases knock them out they fall in, etc.
After the color returned to the owner’s faces we walked to the top of the stairs, stood outside of the bedrooms where all 6 of them slept each night, and admired the gaping hole still in their ceiling. Two years after I harassed them to fix it. 6 lives saved due to chance and procrastination.
No, my point is not to put off the honey- do list and expect miracle to happen. The point is it takes 30 seconds for a rodent to crawl in and block your chimney, or sometimes several years while we are busy with day to day details, and it only takes a few minutes to install CO and Smoke detectors. Less time to change the batteries. It only takes a trained professional an hour twice a year to ensure that all of these kinds of things are safely addressed.
Have you found a Heating contractor you trust that much yet? Have they been to your home this fall?
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