It isn’t often that international news and chimney services collide but they did recently with the preparations for electing a new Pope. As most people are aware, Cardinals from all over the world are locked in the Sistine Chapel to vote in secret on who was to be the new leader of the Catholic faith. While those not privileged enough to be a Cardinal, wait outside the cathedral or in front of their television sets to see what each vote brings; black or white smoke.
The reason this is a chimney issue has to do with the release of this smoke. It takes a stove and a chimney and the right materials to put in the stove to get the correct mixture for the color that informs the world. Just think if what came out was gray? It has actually happened before. So getting the mixture just right is even more important these days with 24 hour news coverage.
To prepare for this great event there was a temporary copper chimney installed by trained firemen. This chimney was hooked to a stove in the cathedral and was ready to inform the world; but what about the color?
A Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, informed the press that cartridges of potassium perchlorate, anthracene and sulphur had been added to the ballots on Tuesday and Wednesday, so it would be a far more definitive black smoke. He also informed them that when a new pope is elected, the white smoke will contain potassium chlorate, lactose and chloroform resin. As we all saw, it worked very well indeed.
Those of us in the chimney industry have often looked to Europe for guidance and new technologies since they have been dealing with chimney issues for hundreds of years. If you ask anyone who has ever visited they will often tell you how impressed they are with the buildings as they have lasted far longer than you can imagine. One friend of mine that spent time in Spain even commented on the way they save what they can of a structure and just build on to it.
One of the most recent technologies that have come from Europe is the Heatshield® method of restoration for clay chimney flues. While the sweeps in Europe have been using this method for 20 plus years, we have only been using it here in the states since 2008.
Ashbusters was fortunate enough to be one of the first Heatshield dealers in the states and we have perfected the process after hundreds of successful installations. We are the number one dealer in the nation for two reasons; we guarantee our work and there are a lot of clay liners in the Nashville, TN area.
Clients should also know that the chimney industry all over the world shares ideas and technology to better serve and care for the older appliances as well as the new. We may never install a unit for the Papal Conclave but we share as an industry across the pond for the good of our clients.