Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Up On The Roof

Given the family script you will perhaps forgive me if I point out from the outset that I was extremely conscious of the safety aspects.
So. There I am on the apex of my own roof with my Heath Robsinson stick in hand. I mean just how would you get a good look at what was going on further down a chimney than you could see?
This relates to my ongoing central heating installation. Radiators are all in place and the heating circuit to them and to the new hot water cylinder is complete. They now need connecting to the Rayburn. Before the Rayburn comes in to the house though the direction the flue pipe must first be clarified.
Now I know that there is a fireplace hidden somewhere in the kitchen. I have been reliably informed by a bloke who saw it just after the second world war. The trouble is it hasn’t really been seen since. Sometime in the interval it has been obscured. Working down from the top I was to drop a sonde, a little radio transmitter, and then by use of a pencil and a radio detector set to ping when it heard 33kHz signal, mark crosses down the wall inside the house and thus reveal the line of the chimney.
I was also quite confident, and remain so, in my uncle’s advice that chimneys in houses of this age are not complicated. They seldom deviate from vertical.
Lowering away then, I was a little disappointed that my test stone on a string stopped about three metres below the pot and refused to go further. What to do, what to do?
Using my neighbours draining rods, A USB webcam and a long lead, also an inspection lamp, balancing a computer on the chimney haunch, I was able to make a surprisingly decent endoscope contraption.
I now have video and photographic records of the inside of my chimney. I also have a degree of frustration in that I can see now that there are no side shoots and that it is in fact blocked up with rubble from an earlier modification.
The next step I suppose is to hit a hole in the wall at around the level of the blockage and to start removing it. At the same time of course as taking stock of the prospect of everything above falling down.
Dear friends, the adventure of Hallett’s Mountain is never ending.


Patrica Kimberly said...

Howdy, Meredic! Your method is really incredible! Using a USB webcam just to see what’s inside of your chimney is kind of funny, but resourceful. I’ve been thinking, how long was your webcam’s wiring? Would you mind telling us more details? Thank you!

meredic said...

Sure Patricia. I strapped the lamp and the webcam on to the end of a draining rod /chimney brush flexible rod sequence using grey tape. I also put these on long extension wires feeling beside the rods and strapped on at regular intervals. The USB lead to the camera was 5m long, about the limit for it to work. I balanced a small laptop computer on the roof platform I was using and got it to record video as I lowered the stuff down the chimney shaft.
It worked fairly well and i was easily able to see the blockage. Still took a lot of shifting though even when I knew what it was.