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  1. #1
    cory nystul's Avatar
    cory nystul Guest

    Default older gas insert in 1920 fireplace

    I was in inspecting a home today from 1920 and a free standing gas insert in the original fireplace. There was no form of vent other than the chimney (as you can see from the picture.

    Since i have less experience then most of the folks here i thought i would ask what are the potential issues here, any advice on what to write up?

    My picture of the gas insert itself turned out to be blurred/ worthless.

    $tmppic.jpgDSCN5794.JPG

    Inspection Referral

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: older gas insert in 1920 fireplace

    You know this is bad, right?

    That old brick-lined chimney is hazardous. It is unfit for a wood fire. It is unfit for a gas fire.
    The gas fire will not vent properly because the flue is not sized correctly for the cooler gas flame. Moisture will condense on the bricks and mortar and this destroys the brick liner still further. Combustion gases leak thru gaps in the mortar.

    Tell your clients the fireplace will need to be upgraded, either replaced completely, or at the least, a new gas fireplace insert with a glass front and a new metal liner installed, with a proper crown and a rain cap. People often find that the chimney is not worth repair and end up removing it.

    You should recommend a Class II or III inspection, I'm not clear on the US terms. But if I see a chimney in bad shape, I call for repair or removal, because I've already inspected it and found damage.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: older gas insert in 1920 fireplace

    Is it a gas insert or gas logs?


  4. #4
    cory nystul's Avatar
    cory nystul Guest

    Default Re: older gas insert in 1920 fireplace

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    Is it a gas insert or gas logs?
    It was similar to this.

    91607 026 (Small).jpg


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: older gas insert in 1920 fireplace

    That looks like a gas log conversion. When a wood burning fireplace has been converted to gas logs it should have a bracket installed so the damper is permanently open. Also gas appliances should not be vented directly into unlined masonry chimneys.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: older gas insert in 1920 fireplace

    Quote Originally Posted by cory nystul View Post
    i thought i would ask what are the potential issues here, any advice on what to write up?
    On the flue photo alone your should be indicating that unsafe conditions exist and that the fireplace should not be used until fully evaluated by a certified chimney sweep.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
    Posts
    1,643

    Cool Re: older gas insert in 1920 fireplace

    You need to work on your terminology. An 'insert' is a self-contained unit, much like a stove, that gets inserted into an existing woodburning fireplace. This is gas logset-either vented or ventfree/unvented/ventless. There is no such thing as a 'free standing insert'.

    The chimney and fireplace must be suitable for the class of service, which means a level II inspection. The unlined flue is a violation for ANY application. If those logs are ventfree, the glass doors should come off.

    You can contact the National Fireplace Institute for information on understanding hearth systems and venting. They have an excellent pair of books for building officials that are also great for home inspectors: HPB Education Foundation

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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