Our pellet fire has been chugging away all winter keeping us toasty warm. So we were slightly concerned yesterday when it turned itself off! A quick discussion with our friends helped us to understand that ash builds up in the chimney, then falls and blocks the air flow. Since pellet fires operate on such sophisticated and sensitive technology, when the airflow is blocked, they simply turn themselves off. After breakfast this morning, the resident chimney sweep (Stu) went out to investigate if this was the problem with ours. A few minutes later he returned to the kitchen to announce "I'm going in...confined space...safety...watch me", before turning and leaving again. I grabbed my coat and followed. When I arrived at the pellet fire room, I saw that Stu had positioned two ladders to give him access to the chimney. I watched as Stu climbed one ladder, then launched himself across the fire box onto another ladder and into an area that would definitely be defined as a confined space. He then dismantled the chimney and cleaned quite a load of fallen ash out of the bottom catchment tube. When the chimney was clean, I tried not to laugh as I watched my soot-faced man work out how to re-erect it...
Above: the confined space in the pellet room
Above: Stu with the pellet chimney apart and the bucket of ash that he gathered from it
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