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Chimney Sweep Challenge / 12 Chimneys in One Home!

Our Crews Had A Real Challenge With This One!
by Dave Lamb –
When our crew finished the long climb up this private driveway in one of the most exclusive areas on the mountain they could not believe their eyes! I told them when they left in the morning “this chimney cleaning job may take all day”. They just laughed then, since most times a crew will complete 3 or 4 chimney sweep jobs a day. But now, confronted with this castle-like mansion with spires and tall stone chimneys poking up everywhere on the steeply pitched slate tile roofs they knew that they were all in for a very long day.

Huge Estate Home located West of the River
The roofs were so steep we needed special rigging and staging to reach some areas, and the north wing was covered in snow on the roof as were many of the shadows in between chimneys. To say this was a dangerous assignment would be a major understatement!

The guys quickly split up the job between them, each technician would need to clean 4 chimneys to complete the job by the end of the day. These were no ordinary chimneys either! As you can see, some crafty masons decided to make things tricky. The look of these extraordinary chimneys was quite interesting, but the cleaning was complicated by the curves and bends in some of the structures. Some of the chimney lining diameters were quite small, others were extremely wide. The sweeps literally had to use just about every tool in their kit that day.

About midway through the job, the homeowner came home and let us know that the job needed to completed by the end of the day. Apparently she had a large event planned the Christmas holiday the next day at the estate and was insistent that there was no way that we could come back in the morning to finish up. Immediately our crew captain called the office and requested that 2 more technicians come out to help out.

By they time they arrived the sun was beginning to get low in the sky. Thankfully the home faced west and was on top of the mountain, so we had a couple hours of sunlight left before we would need to break out the work lights. Mary, the owner of the home was kind enough to prepare a light (and late) lunch of sandwiches for everyone working.

All toll, at the end of the day our crew found 3 birds nest (one must have been a hawk or eagle nest, it was huge), 4 squirrel skeletons and 1 live raccoon. Rocky, as we affectionately named him was caged and relocated to a tree a good distance from the home in the thick forest. Hopefully he will be happy in his new home and stay away from the chimneys next time he needs a warm place to hang out!

Even the boss stopped out at the end of the day to lend a hand and thank us with a welcome surprise gift, a brand new bar of soap. Boy oh boy, that would come in handy later that night. He really appreciated the fact that we were willing to do what it took to get this job done, even if it was scheduled for the day before Christmas eve. Everyone had Christmas Eve off to enjoy with their families so to us, this was just another day. The 12 chimney challenge was one we will surely never forget.

Thank goodness that our back-up crew brought along their kids, without Little Bobby (right) we never could have tackled some of these tough chimneys that were a part of this huge job. He was able to crawl up into some of the smaller openings and clean off the damper shelf and get a good look up the chimney. On one of the curved chimneys it was impossible to see daylight because of the ark of the structure so we brought in the close-circuit video equipment to get a good look to make sure the cleaning was thorough.

When everyone knew that we were almost done with the job, they broke into a little dance up on the roof. Heading into the Christmas holiday, our guys were in a real chim-chiminy mood! The owner of the estate, Ms Mary (Poppins of course) joined in the festive mood and sung along and danced with our crew for at least an hour. This night we were blessed with a full moon, which helped light the way while we cleaned up and packed our trucks for the ride back to the shop.

We finished at 10:30pm on December 23rd, 1822 and the boss let the whole crew have the rest of the day off.

OK, we are stretching the truth a bit here. This “Estate Home” is actually located in Orlando and is better known as Hogwarts Castle at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter© located at the Islands of Adventure theme park, part of the Universal Orlando© resort in Florida.

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