Chimney pictures (to cap or not?)

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Old 07-29-18, 05:50 AM
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Chimney pictures (to cap or not?)

Hi there! I recently used my new DJI Spark drone to visually inspect my chimney from above (picture attached). As one can see, there appear to be gaps / holes to the side of the smoke stacks (if that is the correct term here). I wonder if I need to have those repaired (and how) or if installing a chimney cap would suffice to prevent rain from entering my chimney.

In general, should I worry about water entering? None of my neighbors appear to have chimney caps, so maybe I'm overthinking it?

Thanks!
 
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Old 07-29-18, 06:34 AM
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The clay flue tile (smoke stack) should extend above the top of the chimney at least several inches.
It looks like the top section of both flue tiles are missing. Water and "critters" can enter the openings around the existing tiles. From what I can see, it looks like a fairly easy repair for a mason.
Chimney caps are always a good idea, once everything is repaired. Caps can cover individual flues or the whole thing. Good luck, Steve
 
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Old 07-29-18, 07:55 AM
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Thanks Steve, that is very useful The house is old and has shifted over time, so I wonder if that could have also resulted in the clay smoke stacks to drop down a bit. I hope they aren't broken anywhere where it can't be seen. I assume any expert can check that with the right equipment, right?
 
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Old 07-29-18, 10:18 AM
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Good idea about having the rest of the chimney tiles checked. Especially if you plan on using the fireplace. You could inspect yourself by getting an endoscope (Fiber optic camera that will attach to your smart phone).
 
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Old 07-29-18, 10:33 AM
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I think its more likely that the top tile has busted off due to ice getting around the sides. The pieces probably fell down the chimney. Yes, this is something you should send a camera down to look at and then fix the repair and get caps put on.
 
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Old 07-29-18, 01:49 PM
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Thank you both! There is no fireplace at the house. In the basement, there are two gas burners (for the radiators for the two units above). And both exhaust into the chimney somehow (I see sheet metal ducting go from those burners into the chimney). I don't know how they connect to the chimney tiles though -- do you guys know what is normal in these cases?
 
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Old 07-29-18, 02:53 PM
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Since it's not a fireplace but either gas or oil burners, I would not be too concerned about the chimney tiles. But it wouldn't hurt to have them checked. But do use a carbon monoxide detector in several rooms and in the room where chimney rises.
 
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Old 08-01-18, 04:32 AM
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Hey guys -- I have a follow-up question. I spoke to three different contractors and got prices ranging from between $750 to $1500. One contractor said that he would extend the flues and fill in any gaps between crown and flues with cement, then add caps on each flue. Another contractor said he would want to also replace the crown, as there's a crack in it (see picture) and he's worried about water accumulating somewhere where it shouldn't.

Any thoughts from this community? Is the additional expense for a new crown worth it for longer-term piece of mind?
 
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Old 08-01-18, 04:49 AM
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If any work is to be done then yes what they offer is good. I don't think replacing the crown is critical. It should be able to repair and seal it. There are several epoxy/cement repair products that should do the job. But replacement would certainly be good if you can afford the extra expense.
 
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Old 08-04-18, 01:05 PM
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Hey guys -- so I got bad news (for myself). I had a contractor inspect the chimney today and he basically says one of the stacks is almost completely clogged (he showed me pictures with moss growing in there) and the mortar between the bricks of the chimney is crumbling. He recommends for the entire chimney from the roofline upwards to be removed and rebuilt. He also recommends to put new stainless steel liners / tubes in there to replace the clay stacks. All of that is supposed to cost me just shy of 6k.

I'm at a loss for words, this is so much more expensive than I thought. I'll get another opinion early next week, but wanted to come back here to see what you guys think about this. Obviously you don't have any pictures to go by (he only showed me the ones he took on his phone).

But I do want to say that this is an old house. Mortar joints are crumbling everywhere, and the name of the game is to keep the sandy mortar where it is by tuck-pointing (I've done this myself elsewhere around the house). I understand that crumbly mortar in 100+ year old houses is not unusual and doesn't always require drastic action. Otherwise I may as well just rebuild my whole house completely.

Thoughts?
 
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Old 08-04-18, 05:49 PM
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If it was me I'd like to see another quote. It would be nice if you could upload the pics to us.
 
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Old 08-07-18, 06:57 PM
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So I got two more estimates from additional contractors. To summarize my options:

Contractor 1 said that the entire chimney (roof-line upwards) needs to be rebuilt & I need new stainless steel flues. They did not send a camera down the flues, this was just based on superficial inspection. Total estimate was $5800 (including permits).

Contractor 2 said only the top three rows of bricks need to be redone. He wasn't sure if the entire flues need to be replaced, which he said can only be determined once they put a camera down there and inspect them. So for three rows of bricks, new crown, caps & new flashing the estimate was $2800.

Contractor 3 believes he can just re-point the joints everywhere above the roof line, new crown & caps for $2200. He also said he cannot yet say if the flues needs replacing. He said if they do need replacing, it would cost another $4000 for the new stainless steel flues, coming to a total of $6200 in that case. Which is slightly more expensive than the very first estimate.

The dilemma is that contractor 1 is the cheapest in the worst case scenario. Contractor 3 seemed the most honest, but in the worst case scenario, he is actually more expensive. Plus, I'm worried that (once he removes the crown) he may realize that the chimney needs more work than just re-pointing the bricks, in which case the cost would go even higher. Contractor 2 I didn't have a good feeling about, so he's out of the running.

All estimates include permits (if the flues need to be replaced).

Thoughts?
 
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Old 08-08-18, 03:51 AM
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Ask one of the contractors to put a camera down there (you'll pay for the extra service, maybe $100). Tell them this is too much money to take a chance one way or the other. If the 3rd contractor seems honest tell him the difference in price between him and the 1st contractor. Maybe he'll adjust his price to meet the first guy.

Here's another idea. Can the chimney be cut off completely from the inside (meaning making it non unable) and add a side vent through the wall. My neighbor just had this done because he had the same problem that you have. In fact he had all the brick work removed on the outside also and the house resided on that area. If you don't have the chimney running along the out side then you only need to do roof repair to seal up the hole left by the chimney.
 
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Old 08-21-18, 04:08 PM
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Hey @Norm201, @sdodder, @XSleeper,

I had part of the repair done this Sunday. The top flues & crown were fixed/replaced, and afterwards the guy sent a camera down there. He just sent me a few pictures from one of the two flues, and there's a section that looks a bit worrisome. Here are three pictures from the same section, different angles. There clearly is damage and some gaps.

Is this something I need to get fixed? We are likely talking about a stainless steel liner then, as I think it's out of reach from above.

To recap, I have two gas furnaces in the basement (each exhausting into a different flue) and one water heater, which shares one of the flues.

I don't yet know the condition of the second flue, still waiting for him to send me the pictures.

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-21-18, 04:47 PM
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P.S.: He just send me these two videos. The first one looks pretty bad. The second one not so much. Thoughts?

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1R5...M2luec4U8StO4o
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ao...jKOgfb8A7dg0Cz
 
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Old 08-25-18, 03:45 AM
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Any thoughts based on my last pictures?
 
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Old 08-25-18, 04:08 AM
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FWIW, I have no experience or expertise in this type of thing, but I think that for a typical gas fired furnace and water heater, you have no problem using whats there.
 
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Old 08-28-18, 05:06 AM
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Thank you Norm! I was thinking, too, that a gas furnace shouldn't be much different from a stove in our kitchens.

Anyone else could give me advise on this?

Thanks!
 
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