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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Minneapolis, MN
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    Default moist black stuff at base of chimney

    These were taken in the basement of a house built in about 1920. To the right is the furnace. There's a pile of slightly moist, sort of fluffy bits of brownish black stuff coming out the open base of the chimney (heating, not fireplace). And there was a (dead?) milipede there, if that matters. The stuff almost feels like a rich compost, not like I'd expect soot to feel or look, though the color suggests that, sort of.

    There's a well-defined line along the chimney and furnace above which the black stuff doesn't go, but that I'm guessing is because something was there when the last cleaning was done.

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    Last edited by Kristi Silber; 01-28-2012 at 08:32 PM. Reason: clarity
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    St Paul, MN
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    Default Re: moist black stuff at base of chimney

    Coal or oil fired furnace used to use that chimney. Possibly even a trash incinerator. The opening at the base is where the cleanout door used to be. It's damp because the cap is most likely missing at the top of the furnace vent allowing rain into the chimney. So it's years of soot and water. They most likely had a box or something stored right in that area causing the line on the chimney and furnace.

    Probably some dead birds and squirrels in there too. Wash your hands.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
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    780

    Default Re: moist black stuff at base of chimney

    OK, that's pretty much what I thought. It seemed so organic though, it puzzled me. Perhaps some bird or bat guano got mixed in at some time...or like you say, a body or two. Hmmm, the chimney looks fine from the ground. The house was recently inspected, too (though he missed the black stuff - I agree, there were boxes or something in front of it).

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    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
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    Default Re: moist black stuff at base of chimney

    that debris is also an indication of lack of proper maintenance and cleaning as well as draft reduction caused by lack of cleanout door.1920's would normally not be cinder block, which is what that looks like so maybe a later addition.
    typically the yearly servicing will not include cleaning that crap out of there, althoiugh it should and i alsways recommend that it be done and reinspected to properly determine the condition of the flue liner and the boiler vent pipe entry into that flue.
    iu normALLY take photos up from that hatch to view the liner.
    try it, you may like it


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
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    4,311

    Default Re: moist black stuff at base of chimney

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    .
    try it, you may like it
    .
    Kristi,

    If Wayne Starts to bother you the attachment would be Very Effective.
    .* sorry bud

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