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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Maryland
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    7

    Question usable/unusable chimney?

    Just got my chimney inspected and the inspection is claiming a lot of repairs are needed before the FP is usable. I'm wondering how bad the issues are since I have been using it without problems for the past several years. Also, which are critical and which aren't. I am scheduling at least one other estimate this week, but I'd like to have the vast expertise of members of this forum as well.

    Recommended fixes are:
    - Wire brush the moss off the chimney and apply water-base waterproofing by Chimney Saver
    - Break out the existing flue liners and install about 25 feet of stainless steel lining
    - Insulate around the liner with Premier Mix
    - Parge the smoke chamber with Chamber Tech 2000
    - Parge the bricks above the lintel
    - Install a flue liner extension and lay a new concrete crown
    - Install a Lock Top II damper
    - Reseal the flashing


    Page-3-Image-5.jpgPage-3-Image-6.jpgPage-4-Image-8.jpgPage-4-Image-7.jpg

    Also, not shown are smoke stains above the FP which existed prior to my moving in. Based on a prior chimney inspector's recommendation, I installed a cover on the FP opening as he suggested the opening was too large.

    Thank you all for your input!

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    CO
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: usable/unusable chimney?

    I would recommend getting an expert in chimneys to inspect and write up a report for your chimney. The list of corrections you posted are "canned" answers from home inspection software. Jeff


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: usable/unusable chimney?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Langhorn View Post
    I would recommend getting an expert in chimneys to inspect and write up a report for your chimney. The list of corrections you posted are "canned" answers from home inspection software. Jeff
    Sorry if I wasn't clear, but this recommendation was taken from a chimney expert inspection report.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
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    1,643

    Question Re: usable/unusable chimney?

    Javier Z, if you click on the F.I.R.E. buttons either at the top or bottom of this page, it will direct you to a qualified inspector in your area.

    You have provided the repair but none of the grounds on which this restoration is recommended. The fact that you have gotten away with using your fireplace up until now may be your good luck or it may be the fireplace and chimney aren't so bad.

    You did not specify the brand liner, alloy of stainless steel, how much insulation they can get around it and what diameter or cross-sectional area the liner is and the fireplace opening is so it can be determined to be the correct size per code.

    Were alternative uses discussed such as a gas direct vent, pellet or wood stove insert?

    Did the pro conduct a Level II inspection per NFPA 211 Chapter 14? Did you get a comprehensive written report, just a one pager or email? What were the credentials of the inspector?

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Maryland
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    Default Re: usable/unusable chimney?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    Javier Z, if you click on the F.I.R.E. buttons either at the top or bottom of this page, it will direct you to a qualified inspector in your area.

    You have provided the repair but none of the grounds on which this restoration is recommended. The fact that you have gotten away with using your fireplace up until now may be your good luck or it may be the fireplace and chimney aren't so bad.

    You did not specify the brand liner, alloy of stainless steel, how much insulation they can get around it and what diameter or cross-sectional area the liner is and the fireplace opening is so it can be determined to be the correct size per code.

    Were alternative uses discussed such as a gas direct vent, pellet or wood stove insert?

    Did the pro conduct a Level II inspection per NFPA 211 Chapter 14? Did you get a comprehensive written report, just a one pager or email? What were the credentials of the inspector?
    Thanks for the response!
    The inspector conducted a level II inspection and we did get a report with the photos. I'm not sure of their credentials, they just came from a regular chimney inspection company.

    The masonry fireplace is 37" wide x 29" tall x 22.5" deep and has a 9x13 flu liner. The report says that flu liner is too small for this chimney, but doesn't specify what the correct size is.

    Here are the other notes from the inspection:
    "Just above the opening of the fireplace, where the damper frame and the lintel meet, there are cored bricks that are exposed. Those need to be sealed to contain the smoke in the firebox."

    "The smoke chamber was not constructed properly. The bricks were corbelled and laid with the cores of the bricks exposed. The smoke chamber needs to be parged smooth with refractory cement before it is used. Also, the first flu liner is off set and as the masons built the chimney up, cement fell and ended up closing up about 1/3 of the opening. The flu liners used to build this fireplace are 9x13 but this fireplace requires a larger liner. This fireplace flue system needs to be relined."

    Since the fireplace has worked so well for me all these years, I'm having trouble believing these repairs are absolutely necessary for the fireplace to work. I suspect they're just fixes to make it the best fireplace it possibly could be.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: usable/unusable chimney?

    Quote Originally Posted by Javier Z View Post
    Since the fireplace has worked so well for me all these years, I'm having trouble believing these repairs are absolutely necessary for the fireplace to work. I suspect they're just fixes to make it the best fireplace it possibly could be.
    Just because a fireplace doesn't smoke doesn't mean it won't cause a structure fire.

    F.I.R.E. Certified Fireplace and Chimney Inspector/Technician
    CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep
    NFI Master Hearth Professional

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: usable/unusable chimney?

    Quote Originally Posted by Javier Z View Post
    Just got my chimney inspected and the inspection is claiming a lot of repairs are needed before the FP is usable. I'm wondering how bad the issues are since I have been using it without problems for the past several years. Also, which are critical and which aren't. I am scheduling at least one other estimate this week, but I'd like to have the vast expertise of members of this forum as well.

    Recommended fixes are:
    - Wire brush the moss off the chimney and apply water-base waterproofing by Chimney Saver
    - Break out the existing flue liners and install about 25 feet of stainless steel lining
    - Insulate around the liner with Premier Mix
    - Parge the smoke chamber with Chamber Tech 2000
    - Parge the bricks above the lintel
    - Install a flue liner extension and lay a new concrete crown
    - Install a Lock Top II damper
    - Reseal the flashing


    Page-3-Image-5.jpgPage-3-Image-6.jpgPage-4-Image-8.jpgPage-4-Image-7.jpg

    Also, not shown are smoke stains above the FP which existed prior to my moving in. Based on a prior chimney inspector's recommendation, I installed a cover on the FP opening as he suggested the opening was too large.

    Thank you all for your input!
    The moss is not a safety issue. The lack of parging in the throat area was common, but does not meet present standards, and can be a fire hazard. You could use the fireplace for years with no problem, but you could also have a fire at any time. I did not do the math for the flue size. You typically are looking for a firebox opening no larger than 10 times the area of the flue liner (based on inside dimensions of the liner). However, if you have used it for three years and it does not smoke than the liner size is not a real issue. The chimney crown looked good as I recall from the photo, so of the work proposed, the parging seems to be the most important to me.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: usable/unusable chimney?

    Thanks Mark, that is very helpful. I understand the need for the parging and the sealing of the crown. I really question the need for a replacement flue liner, new crown, and new damper. IMO, his report gives no good explanation as to why they need replacing.

    Quick story...
    The first winter in my house my oil fuel furnace stopped heating the house. I've never had an oil burning furnace before and called out a service tech. The tech spent an hour in my crawlspace checking the furnace. He came out and told me the whole thing needed to be replaced because the combustion chamber had collapsed. I of course balked at the expense of replacing my furnace at upwards of $10k. I got a second opinion. Turns out the fuel nozzle had clogged and needed cleaning/replaced. I think it was a $5 part. Needless to say, ever since then I've been weary of some of the companies out there that try to scare you into spending money.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
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    Default Re: usable/unusable chimney?

    A new masonry (prefab) or poured in place chimney crown/cap is required. That is why you have the moss growing as water is spilling down over the brick. A proper crown will shed water out away from bricks. The moss itself left alone will eventually weaken the mortar.

    Water proof application on bricks? Don't like water proofing on brick, fix the problem creating the moss - a chimney crown/cap.

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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Maryland
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    Default Re: usable/unusable chimney?

    Thanks for the additional feedback Raymond.

    I still haven't heard anyone suggest there are any grounds for liner needing replacement.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
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    Default Re: usable/unusable chimney?

    From the picture the flue is lined with terra cotta tiles. Unless the tiles are damaged then I don't see the need for replacement.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    869

    Default Re: usable/unusable chimney?

    Quote Originally Posted by Javier Z View Post
    Thanks for the additional feedback Raymond.

    I still haven't heard anyone suggest there are any grounds for liner needing replacement.
    I also don't see any grounds for installing a liner, but what I have seen is very limited. The easiest way to see what the lower portion looks like is to see what it looks like... drop a camera/scope.

    While I agree not to fix it if it isn't broken; if it is leaking gases into your home, it could be dangerous. I would prefer an inspection by a third party inspector.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

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