Thursday, May 26, 2011

non-tenant signs lease; chimney guy has words of caution

The folks living in our first floor have finally, after nearly 60 days, secured their new home. All went according to plan, and they signed a lease on Tuesday evening. I am happy for them. Their new place is better suited to their needs at the moment, and they can begin anew, as it were.

Yesterday (5-25-2011) I met with a chimney company, B&P Chimney and Joey, the estimator and installer/fixer/sweep gave me some interesting news.

Seems our chimneys are in poor shape--rather the one working chimney is in poor shape. The house has three chimneys, however the other two are capped off at the parapet height on the roof.

Joey informed me that in order to replace the clay tile lining of the working chimney, it would require breaking into the chimney at various places along its vertical run, and removing the lining by hand, as a mechanical tile breaker would not fit into the two 4"x7" chimney flues.

Below are examples of the tile breakers which are attached to a long rod which when inserted into a hi-torque drill, can effectively smash the lining from the inside of the chimney, allowing gravity to carry the pieces of broken flue tile to the fireplace floor or chimney clean-out at the base.  But not in our case, sadly.

So, fortunately, we are renovating!  and breaking walls is our speciality at the moment...

Joey and his partner Sergio, will replace the tile lining with this nifty heavy-duty stainless-steel flue, repair the chimney cap, and top off the flue with the appropriate water-proof vent housing.  He will need to "ovalize" it as the chimney is narrow.  I want to see this.  The tube is really heavy-duty (20 year guarantee against rust out or structural failure).

Joey had a sample in the truck--pictured right.  I was able to stand on it without it bending or flexing much; I can imagine what it will take to make this round cylinder into an oval one.

The tube is inserted the length of the chimney and connections are added in the basement for the exhaust flues of the gas furnace and hot water heaters we want to install.

kitchen chimney post-demo note the flue hole
Here comes the words of caution--  We discovered that the chimney in the rear of the house, the one which runs up the north wall where we were hoping to vent our kitchen hoods into, is capped.  OK, so no big deal with the kitchen hoods, we'll just drill through the existing chimney walls and vent outside onto the north wall.

kitchen pre-demo...where is the hot H2O gas going?

The BAD issue (and it has been an issue for at least since the roof was re-done in 10/2009 but probably WAY before), is the current hot water heater vents into this capped chimney.  Yup.  Venting CO2 and other gasses right back into the house, as the second floor kitchen chimney has a flue hole in it which was never closed off properly, and cabinets were installed over it...yummy.

Good to find all this out now, huh?  The inspector missed this, as did I.  We did not actually climb up onto the roof and poke around.  good thing too, in some ways, as the roofers left a couple of surprises which we could have stumbled upon. literally...

there are two of these square holes cut into the roof, through the new sheeting, the old tin, and old tongue-and-grove decking.  as you can notice, the roofers cut the holes, and then proceeded to lay the tar paper over them, but never installed the vents!


  1. I can't believe the hot water heater was venting right back in! thank God you found out before you started renovating!

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