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  1. #1
    Mike Seals's Avatar
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    Default Flooded Heatilator

    Hello all, I'm hoping some one can help me out here. Hurricane Ike flooded me a couple of years ago. We had a heatilator we used every year and burned about a cord of wood per season. It's bricked in. The water only got into the lower section about ten inches worth, it's raised.

    I cleaned it out good right after the flood and couldn't see any damage. The flue still looks as it always did, I inspect it every year before I'd light a fire.

    My concern is for the metal parts I can't see behind the fire brick. It all feels very solid and doesn't seem to have any damage. Since we're in the south and in a small town, I can't find an inspector any where to look this thing over and I'm not familiar enough with the construction to know what to look for as far as damage if any.

    FYI it's about an 20 year old unit now and we only used it for effect.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Seals View Post
    Hello all, I'm hoping some one can help me out here. Hurricane Ike flooded me a couple of years ago. We had a heatilator we used every year and burned about a cord of wood per season. It's bricked in. The water only got into the lower section about ten inches worth, it's raised.
    I cleaned it out good right after the flood and couldn't see any damage. The flue still looks as it always did, I inspect it every year before I'd light a fire.
    My concern is for the metal parts I can't see behind the fire brick. It all feels very solid and doesn't seem to have any damage. Since we're in the south and in a small town, I can't find an inspector any where to look this thing over and I'm not familiar enough with the construction to know what to look for as far as damage if any. FYI it's about an 20 year old unit now and we only used it for effect.
    Mike,

    I don't believe this specific subject has been brought up before, but there is some useful information if you go here: http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...iguration.html

    Your best bet is to get a licensed masonry contractor or qualified chimney sweep to perform a thorough inspection. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a series of specific standards to which a fireplace should be inspected. The Level 2 inspection is generally considered to be the most thorough, without being excessively invasive; however, in your case even a Level 2 will not give you information about the inaccessible side of the firebox, unless a camera can be inserted through the upper and lower vent openings.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    Oops, after re reading your post, I realized that you are likely talking about a "zero clearance" manufactured fireplace, not a steelform fireplace. Both of these were manufactured by Heatilator. Sorry about that.

    I would still recommend a Level 2, but if this is a zero clearance fireplace, it is likely that much of this will not be accessible. Maybe someone like Bob Harper will chime in tomorrow. Bob knows heaps more than I do.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4
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    Cool Re: Flooded Heatilator

    Mike, unless you pay a qualified inspector to perform a level III inspection, which means ripping the fireplace apart, its anyone's guess if there is corrosion either on the outer wrap of the fireplace or inside. Since you said the unit is encased in masonry, you are somewhat limited as to access, esp. in the lower plenum. BTW, if it is a circulating fireplace, that lower plenum cannot be obstructed. The refractory panels can easily be removed for inspection of the firebox. This inner chamber is made out of aluminized steel, which should resist corrostion fairly well but it ain't stainless steel and even certain alloys of stainless steel are more 'stainles' than others and that's under normal conditions of use.

    If the flood waters were salt water, I'd say there's a good chance the unit is rotted out where you cannot see it, which could actually become a fire hazard.

    From my secure perch here, I would advise that when in doubt, yank it out. This should have been part of the insurance claim, if there was one.

    Just fwiw, ANY gas control that gets submerged MUST be replaced. Sometimes the unit itself can remain in service if it gets drained and dried out quickly then cleaned well according to some mfs..

    No Gunnar, I may know a little more about fireplaces but overall, I think you have me beat!

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  5. #5
    Mike Seals's Avatar
    Mike Seals Guest

    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    Thanks guys gor the quick response. No insurance claim, long story but if you buy flood insurance check with FEMA to make sure you're insurance agent actually filed it. I was just one of so so many. And not a single one prosecuted, they just can't sell insurance any more.

    I'm going to see if I can figure out how to remove the refractory panels, everything feels solid. Venting was from the bottom for the fan section, we never used it, didn't seem to make a difference.

    The water was far more fresh than salt. Ike caused the bayous and rivers to back up as it rushed in. It was there for about eight hours. Using some old Navy days knowledge, I save every electrical appliance with some CRC 2-26. But it's been a long two years and the fireplace was the last on the list, I'm there now.

    I'll see what I can gain access too and post pictures if any doubt.

    Thank again. Getting an inspector out here is like pulling hens teeth. I can't find anyone except in Houston and they don't want to make the drive.


  6. #6
    Mike Seals's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    Just wanted to say thanks again, you pointed me in the right direction.

    Looking at the link for the other post I was able to get an idea of how these things were built. It's a Marco 0641. Removing the lower vent cover I could see underneath very well, no rust, very clean even the fan blades still spin. Water rose to about four inches in the fire box, the water line is still there. I see how easy it is to remove the refractory panels, the rear one has a small crack but always did.

    Just for my own safe feeling, I'm going to pull the refractory panels out today and insure every thing is intact behind them. Looking in the upper vent, everything looks perfect, the flue is still solid as a rock and even the sliding side vent moves with no problem.

    With any luck, I'll be sitting in the living room tonight with a bowl of turkey gumbo and a happy wife. To her it's not the Holidays with out a fire.

    Thanks again.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    This might be a place you could use a tool like the Rigid See Snake. I have one I would let you use but it might be a long drive just to borrow it. For those not familiar with Texas geography, Google Maps shows about 6 hours and 340 miles from Allen to Orange!

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  8. #8
    Mike Seals's Avatar
    Mike Seals Guest

    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    Excellent idea Jim. We have some very fancy ones at work for examining piping and such. I'm on my way to the HD, might just buy one, you can never have too many tools.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    I have one but it has rarely been out of the case... not nearly so many uses as I had imagined when I bought it.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    This might be a place you could use a tool like the Rigid See Snake. I have one I would let you use but it might be a long drive just to borrow it. For those not familiar with Texas geography, Google Maps shows about 6 hours and 340 miles from Allen to Orange!
    That's a good idea and a generous offer, Jim. My advice would be to save the gas and try a tool rental shop in Orange. Sometimes, a camera will fit into a tight spot and you can snap a few pics in there. Just a thought.

    I often advise people to use their metal insert or heatilator fireplaces more often. It's the ones that are never lit that seem to rot out, at least in my rainy climate. There should be a rain cap on the chimney.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  11. #11
    Mike Seals's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    Once again thanks for the help. Panels removed, every thing rock solid. Panels back in place and a small fire cooking. The wife is happy.

    HD didn't have any of the inspection scopes by Rigid, they did have the Milwaukee and a Ryobi. I opted out for now but it's on my list.

    First post and some great folks respond, I'll be hanging out here even if it's just to learn. With all the repairs from Ike, I've gained tons of knowledge and good flood repair.

    With the fire place burning, the house is now complete. Now I get to repair my shop and my cars. 66 Tempest took four feet, 36K original miles so the paint was intact, it still looks solid, I'm afraid to look real deep.

    Thanks again.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Seals View Post
    Once again thanks for the help. Panels removed, every thing rock solid. Panels back in place and a small fire cooking. The wife is happy.

    HD didn't have any of the inspection scopes by Rigid, they did have the Milwaukee and a Ryobi. I opted out for now but it's on my list.

    First post and some great folks respond, I'll be hanging out here even if it's just to learn. With all the repairs from Ike, I've gained tons of knowledge and good flood repair.

    With the fire place burning, the house is now complete. Now I get to repair my shop and my cars. 66 Tempest took four feet, 36K original miles so the paint was intact, it still looks solid, I'm afraid to look real deep.

    Thanks again.
    Thankfully there are no electronics on a '66. I hear any modern car is totaled when flooded due to all the sensitive electronics. New fluids and upholstery and maybe you will be good. 36K miles, it must have been a cream puff.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Thankfully there are no electronics on a '66. I hear any modern car is totaled when flooded due to all the sensitive electronics. New fluids and upholstery and maybe you will be good. 36K miles, it must have been a cream puff.
    Yeah, that would have been a sad sight, water over the windows.

    Seats and carpets can be tough to dry out. Years ago, my wife drove my '55 Pontiac 2-door into a flooded dip in the road and ended up with the passenger side submerged. She thought maybe I wouldn't notice a high water mark on the door panel.
    Anyway, about a year later, I found mushrooms growing under the front seat.
    Best take the seats right out and get that carpet and underlay dry.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  14. #14
    Mike Seals's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Thankfully there are no electronics on a '66. I hear any modern car is totaled when flooded due to all the sensitive electronics. New fluids and upholstery and maybe you will be good. 36K miles, it must have been a cream puff.
    On the modern cars, if they flood, they are totaled for safety reasons, air bags mainly. I had a used 350Z I had just bought, six thousand miles on it, had it two months. It was at the home and the water went up to the floor boards. It became Christene, lights would flash on and off windows would open and close, open the trunk honk, you name it until the battery would die. Fortunately they low balled me on the price and insurance gave me market value and I went and bought a brand new one.

    The 66 was at a freinds body shop for a make over, I had everything stripped out of it for him. Also had a 72 MGB I owned for almost right at 30 years. It wasn't so lucky. Pretty much gave it away to some enthusiast. And then the 68 Firebird took it to the floor boards. As you can tell I like my cars.

    But the thing that hurt the most was in the shop. As I was cleaning it out and tossing it on the curb I came across my album collection, forty years of collecting. I knew it was there, it just hadn't crossed my mind. Over 500 albums wasted along with some vintage stereo gear.

    I did learn something from the flood, I'm not attached to anything any more. If it doesn't have a soul, I'm not worried about it. Less is truely more.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Flooded Heatilator

    Pontiacs, now you're talkin' ![IMG]file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/J%20Hintz/Desktop/Not%20Stock%20Motor.jpg[/IMG]

    Last edited by Jim Hintz; 05-26-2011 at 04:17 PM.

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