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Log Burner Installation Problems

We had a couple of minor problems installing our wood burning log burner.

An Owl Crashed the Party!

But firstly, the chimney hadn’t been swept for over 30 years and was obviously full of soot. After a professional cleaner had smashed a hole in the chimney stack to gain access for his rods, several large buckets of soot and detritus were removed.

The cleaner informed us that the stack in our lounge was in great condition and was very large. He looked at our log burner and said 1 meter of pipe would be enough. We bought 4 meters, which would take us almost into the attic space.

Upon smashing the hole he left us with a few problems. The hole was in terracotta fire bricks and numerous of them were now broken. A large steel plate was cut to repair them, however this ideally will need replacing with fire board to dissipate the heat better.

Short Eared Owl

The biggest problem however, was an adult short eared owl managed to gain entry through the chimney and nest in our bedroom whilst we were in the UK for a week. These owls have a wing span of nearly 1.5 meters and sit 45cm tall. I used to tag owls for a living so it didn’t worry me too much, but the owl itself was obviously bothered by my presence. Upon opening two large windows it soon found an exit and left unharmed. Mandy, on hearing there was an owl in the house made a hasty exit and left me to deal with the problem.

We’d bought a large log burner second hand from a nearby neighbour. A few internals were missing, but nothing that couldn’t be sourced easily from the UK within a few days.

The ash tray, internal metal plates and cast iron grill were missing but we bought brand new ones from a stockist in the UK. Unfortunately the import tax was as much as the parts.

The problem we were having in France was the readily available parts were of different diameter to the UK specification. Therefore, to make things simple, we needed an adapter tube. These adapter tubes weren’t common but we eventually found one. With 4m of tubing, the challenge we now had was to get those pipes up the chimney; obviously with a awkward hole this was easier said than done. It was very tight but by a weird miracle we managed it.

We had 3 other chimney stacks in the house from which we removed 5 wheel barrow loads of ash, sticks and even owl skeletons. One chimney had been bodged and at some point in the future could do with some attention as it is quite narrow at the top.

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