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Old 03-11-2010, 12:21 PM   #1
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hole in chimney, mysterious black rocks


hey everyone.
i'm renovating the bathroom in my 80-year old rowhome and have just pulled down the ceiling. when i pulled down the area near the chimney (venting my natural gas furnace) a good amount of these little black rocks (pictured) came down on me. also, upon closer inspection, i found a hole (pictured) in the chimney right above the ceiling. looks like a brick or half-brick is missing, but i didn't see any brick in the ceiling rubble. this is not normal, correct? and the rocks have something to do with that hole, i'm assuming? and if that's all correct, i should be ok to just plug up that hole and move on?
thanks.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:30 PM   #2
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hole in chimney, mysterious black rocks


the 'rocks' look to me to be chunks of smoke/soot blackened mortar.
can you see the bottom of the chimney to see if the missing brick is down there?
I would think that yes, you'd want to replace and re-mortar that spot.
I'm assuming this chimney had a fireplace/woodstove attached to it at some point?

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Old 03-11-2010, 04:19 PM   #3
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no, i can't see into the bottom of the chimney. i believe it had an old coal furnace attached before they switched it over to natural gas, as there is what looks to be an old coal-room in the basement.
and i thought the rocks looked more like whole carbon-chunks, since there's little craters in them. this also would probably make sense too, if there *was* a coal furnace. i just couldn't understand how they would have formed, and then popped out that hole, if that's what they in fact did.
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Old 03-11-2010, 04:51 PM   #4
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You should get the chimney inspected and repaired ASAP by a licensed chimney repair company. We had one collapse several years ago. 2 people died from CO poisoning and 3 others are in a permanent coma. Chimneys are not something to take for granted/fool around with and can be lethal.
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:03 PM   #5
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Clunkers.

Your chimney shouldn't have a gas furnace venting into it.
It should have a liner in it for the gas furnace to vent into.
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:17 PM   #6
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And now the moisture in the smoke from the gas furnace has probably damaged/loosened or eaten away the mortar between the bricks and it could collapse.
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Old 03-11-2010, 05:43 PM   #7
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oh i'm sorry, i didn't mean to say the furnace was venting directly into the chimney. the vent duct coming from the furnace does go into the chimney, but whether or not there is a liner in there i don't know, and will have to wait til tomorrow to get up on the roof and check.
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Old 03-11-2010, 06:05 PM   #8
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Check for loose mortar joints anyway. Most people overlook chimneys and I hate seeing them looking like the leaning tower of pizza.
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Old 03-11-2010, 06:19 PM   #9
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mmmmmmmmmmmm.... pizza.....

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Old 03-16-2010, 11:03 PM   #10
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hole in chimney, mysterious black rocks


Hi there. Because you mentioned that you are remodeling a bathroom I wanted to throw this out there. Don't discount the possibility that the brick deterioration may be from another source. Like you, we found substantial chimney problems when we opened a wall for plumbing. Fortunately we found the leak in a lead elbow joint in our ancient bathroom. Tiny amounts of water from each flush caused the brick problems. If not for a complete investigation I would have assumed it to be from a more common source. Just a thought.

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