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  1. #1
    jennie b.'s Avatar
    jennie b. Guest

    Default Gas fireplace flue installed upside-down

    Hi everybody, first post here.

    I just bought a house in Sept 08 which was built in July 2007 which completely passed city inspection, but upon private pre-purchase home inspection the gas fireplace was found to have an upside-down flue.

    Turning this right-side up will be a major job, and as recently as today a contractor advised me to leave it alone, that no harm would come from operating it as-is. I'd like to get some unbiased professional opinions (ie. from people who won't be bidding on jobs at my house) and find out if I'll be poisoned by leaving it as it is, or if it would just gradually deteriorate over time, or if it's totally no big deal.

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Jennie

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
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    Default Re: Gas fireplace flue installed upside-down

    Hello, I doubt anyone here would advise you to leave it upside down.
    But, without information on the type, brand, etc. we are operating blind.
    I would suggest you find out what brand of fireplace and flue pipe you have and contact the factory for their recommendations.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Gas fireplace flue installed upside-down

    Post some photos please.

    Best

    Ron


  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Gas fireplace flue installed upside-down

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I would suggest you find out what brand of fireplace and flue pipe you have and contact the factory for their recommendations.
    And, even if we were not operating on this blind, even if we had photos, we would still recommend "you find out what brand of fireplace and flue pipe you have and contact the factory for their recommendations".

    Only the factory can answer your questions, but I am pretty certain that their answer will be to the effect of "it must be installed in accordance with the installation instructions, which do not permit installing it upside down".

    That said ... why did you inspector say it was upside down? I.e., what information did he use to base that on? Before going further, getting a back up opinion would help, such as from a fireplace and chimney expert, and have a Level II inspection done (which your home inspector probably recommended anyway).

    Never hurts to have a second opinion confirming the first opinion. Give more credibility when contacting the factory, who's first step may be to send out a factory representative to verify the condition.

    Regardless, when all has been said and done, I suspect the response will be as stated above: "it must be installed in accordance with the installation instructions, which do not permit installing it upside down".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    jennie b.'s Avatar
    jennie b. Guest

    Default Re: Gas fireplace flue installed upside-down

    Thanks very much for all of your replies - I appreciate it.

    The brand seems to be Napoleon, but that's only on the face of the fireplace so I'm not sure if the internal guts are Napoleon, too.

    I think the idea to first call the company and then get a specialist out here is probably a good idea. I'm sure you're right that everyone will say "If it says install it this way, then you better install it this way."

    I'm attaching a screen shot of the inspection report which contains two photos just in case anybody else wants to weigh in on this given the information.

    Thanks again,
    Jennie




  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Cool Re: Gas fireplace flue installed upside-down

    Jeannie, do NOT use that fireplace until you have gotten a pro in there to perform a Level II inspection on it! Jerry et al are correct: the appliance must be installed per the listed instructions. You will need to get the model and serial number from the rating plate on the fireplace, which should be located near the gas control.

    This appears to be type BW or oval wall vent, which is intended only for listed wall furnaces and probably is not tested or approved for this application. There appears to be some sort of strap instead of a listed firestop at the wall. What is going to cover this wall and how much clearance do you have to this vent? All questions for your qualified inspector and that obviously disqualifies the turkey who told you it wouldn't hurt if the venting was upside down.

    I recommend you locate a pro that is a NFI Certified Gas Specialist and hopefully familiar with Napoleon products. NFI Certified

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  7. #7
    jennie b.'s Avatar
    jennie b. Guest

    Default Re: Gas fireplace flue installed upside-down

    I wanted to post a final followup and thank you all again for your input. I had not one but two experts come out to check the fireplace and flue, and things were even worse than they seemed. The builder installed a Napoleon vented gas fireplace, but used b-vent tubing from Home Depot or where ever to run it up and out through the roof. My understanding is that proper venting has a tube inside a tube for fresh air coming in and heated air to go out, and in one spot in the attic the singular installed tube was flush right up against the wood around it with no clearance at all. So no fresh air could have come down, and the hot air would have been hitting the wood.

    So thank you all for insisting I get it checked. It will all be fixed properly soon and hopefully we won't blow up now.

    Here's another semi-related question: in any of your experiences, can a person go after the city planning department when they've approved a new building inspection on something like this? Or would it just be asking for future trouble? I want to go complain not even necessarily to be compensated, but so any future city inspector will give the fireplace he's permitting an extra look to spare the family this unnecessary trouble and expense.

    jennie


  8. #8
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
    Richard Stanley Guest

    Default Re: Gas fireplace flue installed upside-down

    By 'going after', do you mean sue? Municipalities are pretty much immune to lawsuits for this type of thing. A greater possible benefit (to the public) would be to advise and share your results with them - kinda like giving them some continuing education. Everyone on here finds things on a daily basis that the local AHJs miss - unfortuantely, thats the way it is. The respons that I get when I speak with them is "We don't have enough people and money to catch everything".


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,250

    Default Re: Gas fireplace flue installed upside-down

    Quote Originally Posted by jennie b. View Post
    I wanted to post a final followup and thank you all again for your input. I had not one but two experts come out to check the fireplace and flue, and things were even worse than they seemed. The builder installed a Napoleon vented gas fireplace, but used b-vent tubing from Home Depot or where ever to run it up and out through the roof.
    It should not matter where the Type B gas vent was purchased, if it was Type B gas vent, and if it was listed and labeled, it was likely a 'brand name' which you would also get other places. There is the possibility that it was not Type B gas vent and that was the problem.

    My understanding is that proper venting has a tube inside a tube for fresh air coming in and heated air to go out,
    Type B gas vent is double walled, but not for that purpose.

    and in one spot in the attic the singular installed tube was flush right up against the wood around it with no clearance at all. So no fresh air could have come down, and the hot air would have been hitting the wood.
    I suspect you did not understand what the two experts were stating, regardless, they should be addressing the issues as they found them, and here we cannot second guess those who were there.

    Here's another semi-related question: in any of your experiences, can a person go after the city planning department when they've approved a new building inspection on something like this?
    Nope.

    Okay, you "could" go after them, but then your builder did also install was he was not allowed to install. You would not accomplish anything by doing so.

    I want to go complain not even necessarily to be compensated, but so any future city inspector will give the fireplace he's permitting an extra look to spare the family this unnecessary trouble and expense.
    Then, instead of "complain", take a pro-active approach: call the building official and set an appointment with him, take the reports from your two experts with you to the building department, and ask the him to review what was required and what was done (as shown in the two experts reports).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Gas fireplace flue installed upside-down

    Jeannie

    I hope you gave your pre-purchase inspector an atta-boy! Sounds like he did you a good job!


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
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    1,363

    Default Re: Gas fireplace flue installed upside-down

    The fireplace manufacturer will specify what vent to use. Use something else and you can bet that all associated warranties are void. What the builder, contractor or village inspector thinks is irrelevant. Any disagreement will be resolved by reading the manufacturer's installation specifications (which will be quite exacting).

    Contacting the village building dept - dead end. They may appreciate knowing what they missed, but I'd be amazed that they'd take any responsibility.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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