y very accommodating handyman father has
been trickedagreed to help me for the next couple weeks as I take time off work to fix up my house. The priorities, before I move furniture into the place, are to pull up the carpet and refinish the hardwood floors, and to get the fireplace/chimney operational again. So today we started what is sure to be the very long project (which I will laboriously document here — when I feel like it) of rehabbing my house by climbing up on the flat roof to peer down the chimney and see what my home inspector meant in his report when he said it was capped and filled with sand.
Luckily, my fear of a 12″x24″ 24-foot column of sand was unfounded. Instead, apparently, the previous owners (who lived there for 43 years) had stopped using the fireplace, so a bunch of leaves and debris had fallen into the chimney. Add that to years of prior use of gas and coal (which, according to my pops, eats away at mortar), and there was some 150 pounds of sand and fine mortar and broken bricks and leaves piled up behind the flue.
After a few hours of digging and prying (and a year or two taken off our lives on account of lime inhalation), we were able to get it all cleared out. Next step: drop a liner down the chimney and start on the floors.