problem with chimneys need some help


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Old 01-28-13, 06:01 AM
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problem with chimneys need some help

Bought my house in the summer of 2011. I have been working on it and I have been living there now for one year.

MY house was built in 1961 and it has a brick fireplace and the boiler chimney is right next to it.

I had both chimneys cleaned last year. THe chimney place said the fire place chimney was fine. The boiler one was a little sketchy, they said that the clay was starting to crack and so on and I should think about steel lining it in a year or two.

Well I have not done so yet. The boiler works fine as fair as exhausting out the chimney. I have three Carbon Monoxide Alarm in my house.

I made a fire in the fire place for the first time and it was fine, but ever time the boiler turned on the flame in the fireplace went way done and I can hear a wind nois coming from the chimney? Once the boiler turns off the fire gose back up. How bad is this? On my roof the chimneys are about 24" center to center I would say. I do not think this is normal but I could be rough.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 06:18 AM
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If they are separate chimneys one should not affect the other... Seems strange....

Cracking or missing tiles????
 
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Old 01-28-13, 06:29 AM
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Hi mike,
Difficult to say, but a fireplace is not something to handle lightly. I'm not a pro on chimneys, just air pressures, so what I can suggest is limited. The clay is there to contain the heat and exhaust and keep it moving up and out and since you had them cleaned and inspected I suspect they are doing that.

When the boiler kicks on, there might be competition for combustion air, that would reduce the burn rate in the FP. A FP uses a lot of air, so any other exhaust source might do the same. A 61 home would typically not be very air tight, but many homes have been upgraded and now air flow becomes an issue. If opening a window (lowest one possible) restores the fireplace to a normal burn, then the air supply is probably the problem.

It may not be in your budget right now, but the best long term solution would be (IMO) a sealed combustion insert for that FP. Sealed combustion means it will draw all the air it needs from the outside. They eliminate the competition for air and reduce the cost of heating (a fireplace is a net loss). Plus they are very enjoyable.

Bud
 
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Old 01-28-13, 07:48 AM
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The chimneys are separate. That's what I said to myself.
Both. The boilers right under the fireplace. so the boiler chimney makes 45 degree bend then gose up and its missing some right at the bend. they guy said its not a real problem inless it comes inside and its not.

My boiler dose not have a vent/air intake on the pipe coming off the boiler. It should I know that but Im not shore if that's the problem. But it maybe the boiler has to sock air in to get a draft, not shore.

MY house it tight. I have been working on that part and just had the attic spray foamed.

I'mm try that window trick next time I use the fire place.

I was kind of thinking that way about getting one. but it's not like I use the fire place that much anyway. To me its not worth to spend the money at this point if Im not using it.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 09:43 AM
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There's your problem and it's not really your fault. One cannot air seal a home, especially one with an open fireplace and natural draft boiler, without careful consideration of air to breathe and air for combustion appliances. I say not really your fault, because the energy efficiency industry has charged ahead and advised everyone to air seal first, then insulate. What they should have been telling everyone is to ditch the open source combustion appliances and then ...

By the way, I only mentioned the window test as A TEST. It is dangerous to use an open window for a fireplace as it often gets closed when people head to bed, but the fire is still producing CO. Just a test.

As for the damaged chimney, that needs some serious attention or a better explanation as to why it is still safe. Missing doesn't sound good.

All energy auditors can perform a worst case CAZ (combustion air zone) test, but you would specifically need to discuss your problem. Most would not test with a fire going. But an additional blower doors test would tell you just how tight the house is. Kitchen and bath fans along with dryer and hot water heaters all vent air to the outside and need to be considered.

Talk to the person who inspected the chimney for a more detailed explanation. Then talk to your local fire inspector an insurance agent to be sure they agree.

Bud
 
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Old 01-28-13, 11:19 AM
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Ok thanks good to know.

Hope I know, I was only going to do it for a test. The fire place I used just to get some extra heat that day because of this cold weather we had. I was doing work in the living room so I was right there the whole time. I'm not walking away from a burning fire if you know what I mean.

He told me they where missing, if you look down the chimney with a light you can see there is no clay there at all. so he said the boiler exhaust is going up the chimney and into a unnone space in the brick work but if my Carbon Monoxide Alarm are not going off and the boiler dose not turn off because of a block or anything I will be fine and should fix it in the next year or two. He also said he dose not know what's holding up the clay tiles from falling down with that 45 missing.
 
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Old 01-28-13, 11:45 AM
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Expansion and contraction from the normal on and off can move things when you least expect it. If it is that questionable, it needs to be fixed. I don't understand the "next year or two option". PS I burn wood, so pay close attention to my chimneys.

As for CO detectors, they are not good enough to risk health or lives on them. Many examples of low level symptoms and no alarm sounding. Even when levels are higher, they are slow to respond. They are a must to have, but that doesn't mean they can be trusted.

Since you don't sound like you want to talk to your fire inspector or insurance co, I'll tell you what they would most likely say, "you're fired", just kidding. Inspector would say fix it. Insurance company might cancel your insurance. At the least they would say fix it and bring us the inspection report that says it is now safe. Ask yourself. Why are they more concerned about your well being than you?

I know, I'm a pain, so I apologise, but someone had to say it.

Bud
 
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Old 01-28-13, 01:08 PM
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Ow ok ok I was planing on fixing it this summer, I was going to get some prices to sleeve it.

How much are we talking here, any ideas? I cant do this job myself.

thanks
 
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Old 01-28-13, 01:50 PM
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$1200 or so to reline NJ prices....
 
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Old 01-30-13, 05:59 PM
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ok thanks, Im going to look around, just talked to the place that cleaned mine and they said $1890.
 
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Old 01-30-13, 06:06 PM
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The liner is only around $300, the rest is labor.
 
 

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