Chimney - is repair possible?

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On 4/11/2012 8:06 PM, TomR wrote:

Guessing I came to the same conclusions as the repair companies. $4k seems reasonable to me.
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My neighbor incstall/repairs chimney problems. He (and I agree it's sensible)said that as long as the pipes inside the chimney were solid and not broken from the top all the way to the house entry point,, it could be saved and be as good as day one. He holds little hopt though; he suspected the ceramic or watever they are, I forget now, pipes are broken neat the bottom and that touching one would mess up the ones adkoining it. It would defnitely take an expert inspection to determine that. It would be a LOT cheaper & faster to knock the old one down and replace it with a modern shiny steel double-walled system of pipes.
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Out of curiousity, how do you save a chimney like that? It looks like the mortar is all shot and the chimney is actually leaning? I'm having a hard time figuring out how you'd repair it structurally, without regard to whether the flue is damaged.

I think to get the code required height and have it look decent he'd have to put it inside a chimney chase. I suggested that previously, ie frame/side a chase. At $4,000 to rebuild the one he has, not sure how much that would save, but it might be worth finding out.
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wrote:

since its a 2 family home i would convert my side of the building from one pipe steam to hot water and let the other owner deal with his issues himself...
at least get a estimate of costs both ways... conversion vs new chimney
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He's got a cost of $4,000 for a new brick chimney. Hard to see how a conversion from steam to hot water with a new direct vent furnace is going to compete with that. And he rents it out, so fuel savings aren't a factor.
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wrote:

well just what are the conversion costs???estimates are generally free.
an a new boiler makes the building worth more not just at resale time but shoulo help the owner get more for rent
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bob haller wrote:

I get that you are in favor of the idea of converting my existing one-pipe steam radiator heating system to a high efficiency two-pipe hot water radiator system -- so it could be direct-vented out of the side of the house and eliminate the need for a chimney. I am not sure what you would suggest regarding the gas hot water heater that I have, or if they make them as direct-vent high efficiency units.
But, keep in mind that:
1) For me to solve the existing dangerous chimney problem, by having a new chimney installed, my half of the cost will be about $2,000. Without needing to get any estimates, I already know that cost is far less than it would cost to re-pipe the whole one-pipe steam radiators system into a two-pipe hot water radiator system, plus buy and install a new high efficiency hot water heating system that can be direct-vented out of the side of the house, will cost FAR more than my have of the chimney repair. Then I would also have to figure out the hot water heater. If there is such a thing as a high efficiency direct vent hot water heater, I'd have to have one of those bought and installed too.
2) Even if I did the above, I would still have a 10-foot high chimney sitting on top of my house and the house next door that is leaning over and in danger of falling. So, unless I get the existing chimney removed, I still have the danger and liability of the existing chimney.
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Ron wrote:

Oops, I posted this from the wrong account. The above message from "Ron" is actually from me -- "TomR".
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you said previously you expected to pay for the entire chimney job so that would be 4 grand...... the new boiler would include the water heater...... they are one.
you would send a letter to the co owner informing them of the bad chimney and that you are converting to direct vent.so the chimney would be their responsiblity.
it doesnt appear from the photos that if the chmney did fall it would hit anything.
and since you havent called a heating contractor for a estimate you have no idea of what a new system would cost.
but heck its your money i am just pointing out another possible solution one you dont care for,,,,,,,,,
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bob haller wrote:

You're right, I did day at the beginning that I had a feeling that I was going to end up having to pay the whole amount to solve the problem (for reasons that I did not explain). However, that is no longer the case and my neighbor will be paying for his half of whatever we do.
If the chimney falls, it will crash through the porch roof, possibly with people sitting on the porch.
I wouldn't want a boiler that also supplies the hot water. But, I could always convert the my hot water heater to an electric heater. But, I can assure you that I am not going to convent my whole house heating system to another system just so I can make it a direct vent system. What type of heating and hot water system do you have where you reside? Is it a high efficiency direct vent system?
I'll post elsewhere in this thread about more information that I have been learning as I go through this process of figuring out the best options.
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<snip>

Why? Two of my houses had domestic hot water coils in the boiler (the other two have heat pumps). Think of the boiler as a *big* Ranai. ;-)
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Twayne wrote:

Two different companies looked at it and said that trying to save it with a repair is not likely to work. The reasons they gave are that it is already leaning, the exposed brick at the top shows that the mortar is almost completely gone and the bricks are deteriorated, and the exposed bricks at the bottom are also deteriorated and have a lot of missing mortar. They said that it has already been patched (with stucco) once, probably because the bricks and mortar were in bad shape before. Of course, both companies have a built-in bias toward wanting to do a whole new chimney versus a repair of the existing one, but I didn't get the sense that either one was trying to scam me or scare me into a whole new chimney.
I am not opposed to the idea of doing a tear-down of the existing chimney and replacing the two chimneys with "a modern shiny steel double-walled system of pipes". So far, I haven't found any chimney companies who even mention that option and I don't see any chimneys anywhere in my area that are metal, with the exception of some industrial chimneys. Someone else earlier suggested putting up metal chimneys and framing around them and finishing with siding. I wouldn't be opposed to that either.
One of the factors that is involved here is that the existing chimney is for two attached homes where I own one side and my neighbor owns the other side. So, the options are not all up to me alone.
Thanks for your thoughts a suggestions. That's why I post here -- to get ideas and suggestions from others.
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Ron wrote:

Oops, I posted this from the wrong account. The above message from "Ron" is actually from me -- "TomR".
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Another chimney company came out today. This one started out thinking they could wrap the chimney with wire mesh and apply cement/stucco to the exterior. But, after checking it out more, they realized that would not be possible. I watched them go up on the roof and inspect the chimney. The stucco just comes off by touching it and the bricks are badly deteriorated throughout the whole chimney. Plus, with barely any effort, pressing on the chimney causes it to rock because it is so loose. So, the need for a tear-down and a new chimney was confirmed by yet another company.
What was interesting is that they recommended tearing this one down to the roof line and then replacing it with two "triple wall stainless steel 'b-vent' chimneys" -- in other words shiny new metal chimneys. They said it is much easier to install and they can do the whole thing in one day. The bad news was that I was expecting that to be cheaper, but their price for doing this ($4,800) was more than it would cost for me to have a new brick chimney built.
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That is what someone on this thread suggested previously. I also suggested that approach with a framed/sided chase around it. The latter would certainly look better and I'd wonder if they can go high enough to meet code without a chase. You are going to make sure they get any necessary permits right?
But it looks right now like rebuilding the chimney from the roof up is the least expensive. That;s because they are only rebuilding part of it, where with the other approach they have to run the new vent pipe all the way to the boiler.
I'd also make sure that someone actually does an inspection on the full chimney, running a camera down there before doing any work. You don't want to put a new top half on a chimney where the bottom half is shot too. For example, the mortar could be shot between the flue sections in the bottom half. You could solve that by putting a steel liner in the rebuilt chimney, but that obviously adds to the cost and should be factored in if needed.
The

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I remember that and I did keep that suggestion in mind -- thanks.

I agree, but I also learned more information yesterday regarding the required height off the roof for a Type B vent. I'll explain more about that below.

Yes. If there is ever a fire, especially a chimney fire, I would want to have on record that I had a permit for the chimney and the installation passed the final inspection on the permit. Plus, it is a rental for me and the cost of all of this is a deductible business expense, and the cost of the permit is negligible. Also, in the town when the property is located the construction officials are very fair and reasonable and easy to work with.

Now that I know more about what my options are, there may be a way that I can cut down on the cost of the installation and still end up with a new metal "chimney" (actually, I found out that it is called a "vent", which is what you called it) all the way from the boiler up.

I agree, and that is one reason why I like the idea of two all new metal vents from the bottom up. That way, there would be no issues with the condition of the existing clay flues. Both of the companies that gave estimates for rebuilding a new brick or cement block chimney said that "if" they found that there was a problem with the existing flues, that would be an additional cost to add new metal liners. Neither one actually looked inside the existing flues when they did the estimate -- which I thought was a poor approach on their part. So, by going with a new metal B-vent now, from the boiler up, I won't have to worry about "if" the brick or cement block chimney guys will say we need new liners.
Anyway, here's what I learned yesterday by doing more research on my own after receiving the estimate for a B-vent chimney:
I found out that there is a difference between a "chimney" and a "vent". The first link below describes that, although it is dated 1991.
I also found out that the height requirements vary with chimneys and vents depending on the type of construction and the type of boiler, furnace, etc. that is being vented into the chimney/vent. The second and third links below describe that.
Basically, for any masonry chimney, or a Type L vent, that is being used on an oil-fired, coal, etc. type of boiler, the height requirements are that it must go up at least two feet higher than any point where the roof is within 10 feet horizontally from the chimney/vent.
BUT, for a Type B vent, which is only for gas-fired boilers etc. (which is what we have), the height only needs to go up about 2, 3, or 4 feet above the actual roof line where it comes through the roof -- depending on the slope of the roof. After reading that, while driving around, I see lots of metal B-vent "chimneys" that only come up two or 3 feet off of a sloping roof, even when they are on the low side of the roof. I found that to be VERY interesting!
Here are the 3 links:
http://www.homeinspector.org/resources/journals/Chimneys-and-Vents.pdf
http://www2.iccsafe.org/states/newjersey/NJ_Residential/PDFs/NJ_Res_Chapter24.pdf
http://www2.iccsafe.org/states/newjersey/NJ_Residential/PDFs/NJ_Res_Chapter18.pdf
One thing I figured out after seeing a guy who was maybe 5' 8" or 5' 9" tall from the last chimney company actually walk up on the roof and stand on the roof itself next to the chimney and reach up to almost the top, is that it would be easy for us to take down the existing chimney. At most, maybe a roof jack ledge on the high side of the roof to stand on and reach right up to the top and take down the chimney piece by piece, brick, by brick. They are so loose they will come off by hand or maybe with a very light tap or pry bar. Or, I have a large Werner "A-frame"(?)-type ladder that we could place on the porch roof next to the chimney and reach the top of the chimney from there without even getting up on the top roof where the chimney is located. So, the cost of the demo will be almost nothing. Then, all that will be left is to drop a metal B-vent down in each flue, connect it up at the bottom, do the right cap routine at the top, and it's done -- no scaffolding, etc. will be needed.
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TomR wrote:

Just an update in case anyone who was following this is interested:
I later found out that, with natural gas appliances (my steam heat boiler and hot water heater), it is permissible to use a smaller liner than 7 inches inside the original chimney chase -- even if the connector pipe going into the chimney now is 7 inches -- as long as the input BTU's of the appliances going into the chimney, and the height of the chimney/vent etc., are calculated correctly using a standard chart regarding the code requirements.
Here's one link with those requirements:
http://inspectapedia.com/chimneys/Chimney_Flue_Size.htm .
In my case, the total BTU's going into the chimney/vent are 224 thousand. And, given all of the other height specifications etc., I can use a 6 inch liner in the existing chimney -- which will easily fit inside the 8"x8" clay flue that has an inside dimension of 6-5/8 inches across.
That means that I can have a 6 inch aluminum liner installed inside the existing flue and a 6 inch double wall "Type B" (B-vent) coming out of the top of the existing chimney (after the existing chimney is torn down to just above the roof line).
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Good to hear you found a solution....
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