Chimney: 2 appliances, 1 flue
I have a water heater in the basement (natural gas) and a 24acd Englander wood stove on the first floor venting into the same clay lined 8x12 flue. See image I created. When I moved in I cleared out all the ruble and creosote/ash that was blocking the water heater exhaust portion. The previous owner had it running like this!
Issue 1: Aside from the fact that its not to code to run a setup like this (gas plus woodsmoke), I can't get the Woodstove to burn properly. With a good bed of coals and a couple split pieces of seasoned wood inside, the fire will go out with the door closed (with fully open bypass and fully open supply air).
I can get the flue temp up to about 800 degrees with the door open 1/4", but as soon as I close the door, smoke pours down behind the glass and the flue temp sinks down to about 100 degrees. I blew a shop vac up the intake to check for blockages and all seemed clear. I can't even use the catalytic burner because I have to keep the door slightly open. Any ideas of what might be wrong?
Issue 2: I get nasty condensation in the chimney that drips down and leaks around the thimble and down into the basement through the mortar. I know it's bad to have this water heater vent up this chimney but a power vent is too tall for my basement and I think electric water heat is expensive. Can I place one SS liner for each appliance in the same flue with nothing between? What do you guys see as the cheapest/legit option for me? Pellet direct vent in another location and SS liner up chimney for water heater would be my ultimate choice if I had $3000 to spend on this I think.
Thanks as always!
My first worry for your present situation would be from the CO from the HWT.
Your option of an electric tank may not be as expensive as you think, compared to the other options. Try turning off the gas to the HWT and temporarily plugging its flue. Now test the wood burner to see how it operates without the open HWT flue.
Let us know what happens.
A liner for each appliance.
I tried the stove with the basement intake (hot water heater flue) plugged. There wasn't much of a difference that I could notice. I had to keep the door of the stove slightly open for it to get enough air. I wonder if adding a 6" SS liner for this stove will solve it and encourage a better draft that will overcome the weak intake.
My plan now for the water heater is to replace with an electric and seal off the basement illegal flue.
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