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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default What's going on here?

    Getting a very bad feeling about this one:

    Picture is taken from above the damper of a second-floor wood-burning fireplace.

    There's also wood-burning fireplace on the first floor, but I was not able to get a successful picture above the damper.

    Roof was beyond the reach of my 28 foot ladder, and couldn't get a camera angle that let me get a look at the top of the cap, but no flues at all were visible from any location on the ground.

    Of course, this chimney gets a level II.

    But what I'm thinking, looking at these pictures, is that at some point someone may have closed off (sort of) the flue from the first floor fireplace, and just knocked out the flue tiles above the level of the second floor so both fireplaces are now venting through the original flue for the second-floor fireplace.

    Does this seem reasonable based on the pictures?

    If not, what else might I be seeing here?
    PL140480A.jpg
    PL140480B.jpg

    2018 ASHI InspectionWorld
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: What's going on here?

    I think you nailed it Michael. Improperly terminated flue. And was the flue at the chimney cap terminated correctly so as water cannot enter?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: What's going on here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Getting a very bad feeling about this one:

    Picture is taken from above the damper of a second-floor wood-burning fireplace.

    There's also wood-burning fireplace on the first floor, but I was not able to get a successful picture above the damper.

    Roof was beyond the reach of my 28 foot ladder, and couldn't get a camera angle that let me get a look at the top of the cap, but no flues at all were visible from any location on the ground.

    Of course, this chimney gets a level II.

    But what I'm thinking, looking at these pictures, is that at some point someone may have closed off (sort of) the flue from the first floor fireplace, and just knocked out the flue tiles above the level of the second floor so both fireplaces are now venting through the original flue for the second-floor fireplace.

    Does this seem reasonable based on the pictures?

    If not, what else might I be seeing here?
    PL140480A.jpg
    PL140480B.jpg
    My guess is that the two original flues were too small for the fireplaces to function properly so they broke out the flue liners to create one large flue.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    574

    Default Re: What's going on here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Getting a very bad feeling about this one:

    Picture is taken from above the damper of a second-floor wood-burning fireplace.

    There's also wood-burning fireplace on the first floor, but I was not able to get a successful picture above the damper.

    Roof was beyond the reach of my 28 foot ladder, and couldn't get a camera angle that let me get a look at the top of the cap, but no flues at all were visible from any location on the ground.

    Of course, this chimney gets a level II.

    But what I'm thinking, looking at these pictures, is that at some point someone may have closed off (sort of) the flue from the first floor fireplace, and just knocked out the flue tiles above the level of the second floor so both fireplaces are now venting through the original flue for the second-floor fireplace.

    Does this seem reasonable based on the pictures?

    If not, what else might I be seeing here?
    PL140480A.jpg
    PL140480B.jpg
    Well, its definitely not correct as you noted, but there are quite a few additional problems here:

    1. Common liners - no wythe.
    2. Rough surfaces - exposed brick flue.
    2. Flue size reduction.
    3. multiple fireplaces in one flue.
    4. Lots of creosote.
    5. No rain cap.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Wenatchee Wa
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: What's going on here?

    Micheal, I am impressed that you could even get that photo. You must have long arms

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Moundsville, WV
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: What's going on here?

    Also, IRC G2427.5.6.1 - Only 1 solid fuel appliance connected to flue. More than one solid fuel appliance shall not share the same flue.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    No. San Diego Co., CA
    Posts
    562

    Default Re: What's going on here?

    Try Google Earth for an overhead view. I've used it a few times to establish time-lines of repairs or changes to structure footprint. It might help.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    St. Louis, Mo. area.
    Posts
    276

    Default Re: What's going on here?

    Your theory is certainly plausible, but with the apparent lack of support to the broken up tile flue, it may have just cracked, and collapsed on its own. The whole system is obviously bad, and will need some major help.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: What's going on here?

    Nice catch, Michael. Hopefully you didn't come out of there looking like a chimney sweep.

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: What's going on here?

    Thanks for all of your comments.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
    Posts
    1,643

    Default Re: What's going on here?

    Each flue requires a 4" wythe wall separation. Regardless, this is a mess and yes, Level II.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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