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  1. #1
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    Default What Am I Looking At?

    Looking up from basement toward first floor FP. What are the black two straps?. At first I though it was a portion of an ash dump, but I could not locate it at the hearth.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    BTW, Bob Harper finally convinced me that I should get a bit more aggressive about pulling pipes to get a look into chimneys... todays result: this shot up a flue serving a gas fired boiler and HW heater, what's left of the boiler's connection is at right.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    Michael,

    In your first post, is that a copper gas line in there?

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

  4. #4
    Peter Drougas's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    I thought I would take a stab at this. I am going to take the presence of the copper line to suggest that the fire place may have a gas insert (although that would suggest an upgrade as well). Was there any indication of where that copper line came from or went to? If that is a gas insert, they most likely sealed the door for the ash pit. The straps would be to support what ever they used to close the opening. Perhaps the floor of the hearth has a new brick facing. So even if there is no gas insert, they cleaned it up, but removed the ash pit door. OK, that's all I got.


  5. #5
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    I agree with Peter that the fireplace has probably been "remodeled". Sure looks like an ash dump to me. More importantly, that big old copper line needs to be removed if that's a gas line!


  6. #6
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    I thought flex copper was legal for LP gas.


  7. #7
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    I thought flex copper was legal for LP gas.
    I doubt it's LP since it's a fireplace. But my concern was a copper gas line run through a concealed space. What I have been taught says don't do it to avoid accidental puncture. If that's wrong, I'm sure someone will let me know!


  8. #8
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Barre View Post
    But my concern was a copper gas line run through a concealed space. What I have been taught says don't do it to avoid accidental puncture. If that's wrong, I'm sure someone will let me know!
    Gas lines are run in concealed spaces all the time.

    My concern is that, if there is a leak, the gas (assuming it is natural gas) will collect in that chase and rise - and what is above it is something that you 'intentionally' "ignite" and have open flame while in use (an ignition source) ... two things which do not go well with a fuel air mixture which is becoming more rich as the leak continues, at come point it is likely to reach the LEL (Lower Explosive Limit), and when you ignite that fireplace, that's not the only thing which will light off ... think Big Bang theory.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  9. #9
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Gas lines are run in concealed spaces all the time.

    My concern is that, if there is a leak, the gas (assuming it is natural gas) will collect in that chase and rise - and what is above it is something that you 'intentionally' "ignite" and have open flame while in use (an ignition source) ... two things which do not go well with a fuel air mixture which is becoming more rich as the leak continues, at come point it is likely to reach the LEL (Lower Explosive Limit), and when you ignite that fireplace, that's not the only thing which will light off ... think Big Bang theory.
    I know that gas lines are sometimes run through concealed spaces, just not copper gas lines. At least, not around here. I understand the concern about a leak. Ironically, it seems to me that the chance for a leak actually increases with the use of black pipe, with all the fittings and joints necessary. But almost every fireplace with a gas starter that I have seen has the gas line feeding in from below, and they are always black steel.


  10. #10
    Peter Drougas's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    Excuse my lack of knowledge for what it is called, but I thought the "yellow" tubing for gas lines was the best material for this use.
    Also could they install an exterior air exchange vent, to prevent what Jerry mentioned, in the ash pit?

    The other concern I had was with the idea that maybe there is no gas insert, since it was not mentioned. If that was the case, where does that copper line terminate and can gas be feed to it in error?


  11. #11
    Tom Munds's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Looking up from basement toward first floor FP. What are the black two straps?. At first I though it was a portion of an ash dump, but I could not locate it at the hearth.
    Mike,
    I wish I could tell you what you were looking at, my question is, what is that tubing?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    Michael,

    I am going to guess that the "straps" are some form of support for when the firebox floor was installed.

    Those are great pictures!

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  13. #13
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    Exclamation Re: What Am I Looking At?

    It appears they used two rods of some sort to support a piece of sheetmetal or other material that would allow them to float out a new firebox floor. In the process, they decided to route a copper gas line up through the ash dump into the Fp, which is very common.

    While in general, copper is allowed in this application, you need to consider a few other points:
    -it is not wrapped or protected from direct contact with masonry, which predisposes it to corrosion
    -it penetrates the firebox floor at a fixed point then is either connected to an appliance or stubbed out. That make a pivot point right at the floor where the copper will likely fail from flexion
    -is there a joint at the lower end of this copper inside the dump or does it penetrate the wall in the basement or outside? Again, protection from contact.
    -sizing. We don't know what appliance with what input BTU rating and how long of a run this copper is. May be wholly unsuitable for sand pan type burners.

    FYI- log lighter mfrs. specify only black iron in the firebox connecting to the lighter pipe.

    For those still confused about whether copper is approved for one fuel or another need to read the gas codes and the archives on this site where it has been answered about 100 times.

    Since there is copper tubing on the market now with a yellow plastic coating denoting its use for gas lines, you should learn the differences in these materials so you don't get embarrased by mis-identification because their rules and applications are different. Go to Copper Development Association - www.copper.org - Info on copper and its alloys. and download the copper tubing handbook, which details the application and installation of copper gas lines. Then, google CSST and download the install manuals and catalogues of all the CSST mfrs. Then, when you encounter a CSST installation, you can make note of the brand and size while on site then read up on it back at the office. Read section 404.8 of the IFGC to see why bare copper should not be in direct contact with masonry or soil.

    Where copper penetrates the foundation wall it must be sleeved.

    Kevin, why would you assume it isn't a LP since it is a fireplace? There are tens of thousands of LP fireplaces around the country.

    Look at that great shot Eric posted. Notice the combustible forms under the hearth?

    Ken, flexible copper is usually reserved for water heaters.

    For all, a "gas insert" is a box-like appliance, which is differentiated from a gas log set. Do not refer to gas logs as "inserts" or vice versa. It might get you embarrassed one day. Learn the terminology of an industry before reporting it. Makes you more professional.

    Michael, I'm glad I'm rubbing off! See what lively discussion you started simply by looking? Good pick up on that heater flue. I see that every day. How many of these are you guys missing?

    Before you just shout out something such as this copper line is not allowed or should be removed, you'd better be able to defend your position. If there is a joint in the ash dump/ pipe chase then Jerry has a valid point about possible leak migration to ignition in the firebox. Just the presence of copper in that chase is not a hazard unto itself. If you read IFGC 404.1, it discusses prohibited locations for gas piping. In the Commentary, our fireplace ash dump application is not specifically addressed. If a gas leak could be conveyed to a source of ignition, it may be a problem. That is why section 404.3 doesn't allow joints in concealed locations except brazed tubing and CSST (listed fittings). Note: a flexible appliance connector cannot extend down an ash dump and connect with CSST down the hole. It can attach in the firebox.

    HTH,
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    Speaking of CSST.....

    CSST Settlement - Home Page

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    Were you able to find the other end of the copper pipe?
    As it appears to be for water, but until you find the other end, all bets are off.

    i have seen a few makeshift installs where valved water is put into a chimney via copper tubing as such, to be turned on in the event of a chimney fire. From the pic it looks some what like that.

    but no bet until the source is found....
    good luck!


  16. #16
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    Eric,

    The pipe was not visible until I enhanced the picture in Photoshop back at the office, and I did not observe its entry to the chimney in the basement - the basement ceiling had been finished, perhaps after installation of of that pipe. The clients gave this building a pass, so no other information is available.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    If you can't see the source, then its anybodys guess at this point. But very obvious that it is not typical.

    I would refer this chimney to be inspected by a qualified chimney sweep.

    Good luck!

    Eric


  18. #18
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Lybeck View Post
    I would refer this chimney to be inspected by a qualified chimney sweep.Eric
    Ya' think?

    I was just gonna' recommend a new bag....

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  19. #19
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    Default Re: What Am I Looking At?

    ...and deny the chimney sweep the joy of recommending a new bag?

    keeping all the fun to yourself....


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