Follow-up on chimney sweeping.

When we last saw our hero, the chimney sweep had just left his house, telling him that he couldn't clean the chimney attached to his oil furnace because "it's too dirty". He said it would ruin his brushes and it wouldn't come clean anyhow. He wanted 680 dollars to replace 3 one-layer galvanized stove pipes totalling 4 feet and 4 angle pieces, and of course said nothing about the condition of the chimney itself, since he hadn't gotten there yet.
When questioned about this, the woman at his office said it couldn't be cleaned because of creosote.
The woman at the other chimney sweep, when she heard, "it was too dirty", laughed out loud. They charged the same price as the first place, 125 dollars for the first chimney, 115 for the second.
But our valiant hero, though he refused to believe that everyone who was cheap was lying, said, "Money is no object when it comes to you my beloved stove pipes, " and hired a company that was closer, and charged 170.
That man came today, 90 minutes later than 2-3 PM, but the office called and said he was running late because an earlier call took longer.
He cleaned the pipes with no complaint, went on the roof and cleaned from there, up and down, up and down (4 six-foot sections to reach from the top of the pitched roof of a a tw-story house to the ceiling of the basement. He actually did his up and down 4 times but only 4 to 6 feet at a time, once for for each section of rod that he removed.) He too looked quizzical when I said that the first guy said "too dirty to clean" and the 680 price he said was too high, 250 to 350 would be right (and that surely include the T-pipe with the atmospheric damper that the first guy didn't include.) Mr. second-guy did say that the pipes warranted replacing, especially since I was getting a new furncace, because they were starting to rust where one slid into the other and there were two layers, but he hadn't said that until I brought it up. I saw all the pipes. There is only a little rust in a few places, nowhere is it close to rusting through. But I'll replace the pipes when the furnace is out.
He also agreed that the man from the furnace company who cleaned the stove pipe part 4 years ago should have told me to clean the furnace, and that it would be hard to adjust the furnace since the open diameter was only half or less what it should have been. (I haven't started the furnace yet, in about an hour.)
At our hero's request, Mr. Second Guy looked at the pre-fab steel fireplace, said that the hairline crack needed to be watched, and if it opened an eighth of an inch, needed furnace cement applied which wouldn't fix it but would keep the fire in the fireplace, and would eventually fall off, and the plate could be replaced then. He thought first guy's price of 380 was fair, but first guy said nothing about furnace cement or waiting until the crack opened. He didn't ask if the crack ever opened. He wanted me to fix it now. BTW, I had one fire since first guy left, and crack doesn't open at all, it's just a hairline, and the plate moves in one piece when pushed with a fireplace tool when the fire is at its hottest. Mr. Second guy said there was often mesh in the plate, the plate is poured around the mesh, so that holds the pieces together in place even when there is a crack.
The woman who answered the phone for First Guy said the pipes couldn't be cleaned because of the creosote. Everyone here agreed that you can't get creosote from #1 or 2 heating oil, but Mr. Second Guy said that it's rare but he's seen it. He also said I didn't have it, despite what first guy said.
It turned out that Mr. Second Guy was the owner, and the real hero.
He charged exactly what he said he would, didn't rush, 170, spent 3 hours here, the extra time mostly because of the house's configuration (he had to either squeeze between the furnace and the water heater, then the furnace and the wall, or go in under the 4-foot stairway landing and between the studs holding the landing up; and left no dirt (except maybe on the floor behind the furnace, where no one will see it, which I'll clean up when I put in the new furnace). And I gave him a small tip to make up for watching him the whole time and asking endless questions.
I will call first guy's boss on the pretense that I think the boss doesn't know what is going on -- It's conceivable that he doesn't -- and see what he offers to do for me. He'll probably offer to send a different crew who won't say it's too dirty.
I will rate the first place negative in 2 or 3 places and rate him positive in the same places.
--The End--
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Glad it worked out in the end. First Guy sounds like a scammer looking for a fast easy buck. The boss ma y say he is unaware, but he probably pays commission or the big sales. Now you know who to call in the future.
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wrote Re Follow-up on chimney sweeping.:

Thanks for the update.
--
Work is the curse of the drinking class.

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