Cleaning Gas Wall Furnace Flue

Old 11-22-02, 07:20 PM
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Cleaning Gas Wall Furnace Flue

My home (which I rent)has an old Coleman gas wall furnace. I would guess that it is as old as the home which is over 50 years old. I need to clean the flue before the house burns down. I can't seem to get the rental manager to accomplish this. Can I do this? If so, where could I obtain some kind of directions? Thanks.
Old 11-22-02, 07:41 PM
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locate the flue

where it connects to the furnace itself, i would take this joint apart, and clean with vacuum. any other places where you can disassemble the pipe, i would vacuum out as well. if the cap will come off. send the hose in there too. BE SURE any joint disassembled is properly refastened, as CO may enter the space.
Old 11-22-02, 08:09 PM
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I'm probably confused. I thought the flue was the air shaft from the furnace to the outlet in the roof? This furnace (maybe I should call it a 'built-in spaceheater, which it resembles) heats only the rooms on either side of the wall it is installed in so there are no air ducts except the one going straight up. What is this called and what is a 'flue'? Is the flue a pipe attached to the top of furnace to the roof outlet? What is the "cap" or will I recognize it when I see it? Thanks for your previous answer which I may understand a bit.
Old 11-23-02, 05:59 AM
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Hello: mamartinek

Familar with the furnace you are referring to and hope to clarifying the parts and the terms used below.

The "Flue" is the vent pipe extending up from the top of the wall heater and going up to the roof. The "Cap" referred to is the part on the flue pipe, which is outside on the flue pipe, above the roof.

The downdraft diverter is the part on the top of the furnace on the firebox and flue pipe. The diverter is between the top of the firebox and the flue pipe.

The diverter faces downwards and has a rectangled air inlet which allows inside room air to mix with the hot fumes and flue gases going up the flue pipe to the roofs flue vent pipe and out the cap.

Removing any of these parts at the furnace to access the flue vent pipe from within the house most likely will cause a problem. The gaskets and or seals between the parts may or may not be available.

Replacement gasket and sealing parts most likely will break do to age and and normal deterioration. Check parts availability at the local heating agents or appliance retail parts stores.

Normal usage of a wall furnace reasonably maintained over the years should not need flue cleaning. Your cause for concern and state of house potentially burning is however cause for alarm.

If you have determined there is a critical need to clean the flue based upon a visual inspection to avoid a fire or property destruction, chances are flue cleaning will not correct any problems but simply correct a symptom.

Professional help should be acquired to insure personal safety and health.

Regards & Good Luck, Forum Host & Multiple Topic Moderator.
TCB4U2B2B Company Enterprises. Energy Conservation Consultant & Gas Appliance Diagnostics Technician.
Old 11-24-02, 12:33 AM
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Unhappy furnace & flue

Thanks Tom,
Any suggestions? I am hazarding a guess that this furnace has NOT been maintained if the condition of (and lack of concern about) other problems with this house are any indication of how much care anything gets.

A handyman who was here to do the usual jury-rigging, that he could get a small heating/cooling unit (house is less than 1000 sf) which would fit in the one small walk-in closet (attic entry in ceiling). The house would be fitted with ceiling vents.

What do you think? Had this guy been taking too many drugs that day? I think that something that cheap (of course installed by one of her tenants who owe rent and may or maynot have any idea about how to install a h/c unit)may be approved. I'd search the net, but my ignorance about heating/cooling units would handicap me and I'd spend hours searching.

I appreciate your help. You're a busy man. Lots of forums. When do you find the time to fish? Shake and Bake State?????

Old 11-24-02, 05:29 AM
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Go for it...

Living in an apartment is an ongoing hazzard many have to live with. To ensure your own personal safety ALWAYS have your own carbon monoxide and fire detector, portable battery model of course. Just get in the habit of changing the battery EVERY New years day if they need it or not.
Digging into this heater sounds insane when you don't know what it is your looking for. Call an HVAC company to service and clean it thouroughly, and give you an efficiency report. Let them know you want this upfront. They will tell you if they are set up to do this. If not go on to the next name in the phone book.
Remember, if you hire the technician, he works for you, and you get the whole story. If the landlord hires him, he may instruct the tech not to give any information to the tennant. This is common practice. The one who pays is the boss!
Don't risk your life to save a few bucks, a gas explosion is very unforgiving.
Old 11-24-02, 01:14 PM
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Do you have an idea of cost for this?

Thanks so much for the reply, especially your safety tips. I have the CO2 detector and a smoke alarm, but probably need a fire alarm also as this house most likely wouldn't smoke first, just go up in a big ball of fire.

My concern in having the furnace (what a misnomer) serviced and cleaned is cost. I could take it off of my rent and may do just that as I have contacted the property manager five times since summer (thought I'd better get a headstart----)about this matter. I should have done all of my communications on paper or e-mail with receipt requested. Proof. One of the great things I learned in the USAF; cya. I'm obviously getting lazy though.

If I have this thing serviced and cleaned and get an efficiency report what will the efficiency report tell me?

If need be, I will not use heater and hope it doesn't get too cold this winter.

Thanks once again.
Old 11-24-02, 09:59 PM
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getting help

Do you have a lease? You MAY or MAYNOT be required to maintain the heating unit. I would call the town hall to the building inspectors office and see if he can't apply a little pressure, or ask him to see if its safe or point you in the right direction. In most states you can withhold rent due BUT, it must be deposited into an escrow account and any interest drawn goes to the landlord. Just like your security deposit earns interest while he holds on to it. I would check with the town first. They will give you a pamphlet on tennants rights. You would be suprised what power you have. Document everything. Return reciept request thu the US mail cost about a buck. If your still in service JAG can also help.

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