fireplace/chimney removal

Anyone ever take out their fireplace and chimney and have information they would like to share? I'm thinking of doing this and want to prepare for what might go wrong/need extra attention.
My intent is to remove the fireplace (brick) inside, the chimney outside and reframe the wall to include a wall unit and zero-clearance/direct-vent fireplace.
Why? I had a blower door test done on my home and the air that poured in from the fireplace area was astonishing. By the way, the leakage was not at the damper as I blocked that sucker up tight, and I capped the chimney. It was essentially coming in through the chimney brick and such. So I want to insulate this area and removing it is one idea.
I was also thinking about blowing insulation into the area but don't know if that will work.
Thoughts??
Thanks
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Suggest throw each brick from the old fireplace individually into the river off of the bridge nearest to your house--and once you've thrown the last brick over you must also throw a dead black cat off of the bridge also......
Caution:
You must NOT kill the cat yourself--it must have died of some natural cause before you toss it over the bridge.........so the timing of the demolition of the fireplace is crucial, first you must find a dead black cat........dont even think of starting the project until you have a cat in the bag.......
===
And now, a prayer for the cat, and also there's one for the old fireplace.
ynvch yunk ochv ybsvj ojhb yunk. yunk ojhv.
Meooowww.......
--
SVL



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I did exactly what you propose for different reasons. Some background-- 75 yr old farmhouse in southern Vermont, chimney 35' tall, 3' x 18" on top , base 4 1/2' x 6' solid also build into the foundation, has 2 flues (boiler & fireplace) and is constructed of river rock harvested from the crick bed on site. It started back in Aug 04 when a couple of small rocks fell on the chimney sweep when he put up a ladder to inspect. So I put up scaffolding and get ready to rebuild everything above the roofline and point the rest as needed. I'm up there in the process of removing loose material and feel the chimney "shift" and before I can udder any profanities the top 4' comes apart, some freefalls to the ground, some slides down the slate roof, and some comes to me. It struck the scaffold and ripped out 2 of the 4 wall ties & pushed the tower 6" out of plumb. My next clear remembrance finds me still at the top balancing a 150# chunk of debris with one hand and holding a broken pieces of flue tile in the other. Next step was determine if I can move and climb down without further disruption, and get my feet on the ground.
The next chapter involved a bucket truck and several hours with a chisel and 3# sledge then a rotary hammer and for the base a jackhammer. Other tools used a 14" dry cut demolition saw, a pry bar and a 8" grinder with a masonry blade. Before I could topple the rest I had to provide venting for my boiler(does hot water too) so a power vent was installed. Then the balance of the chimney (vertical column of sand w/ a crisp shell)was toppled, fireplace removed, bats,snakes and wasps evicted. I framed the opening and put in a picture window and then the weather caught up with me, so in spring I can pick up with redoing the siding.
Enjoy
Andrew V
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Well it's a good thing you survived to write your post!
thanks

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